guest post by dylan berger.
launching a business can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the process (and even if you are). between product design to staffing to fundraising, finance, and marketing your startup, it can feel overwhelming.
from onboarding new hires to focusing on your customers’ needs, you have a lot to cover.
with all of that in mind, here are four common mistakes when starting a b2b business and how to avoid them.
four mistakes to avoid
there are many common mistakes to avoid when starting a b2b business. these errors can range from product-market fit misfires to marketing strategy and post-launch mistakes.
maintaining your data and integrating sales and marketing for alignment is essential in b2b operations. here’s how to implement all of the vital aspects successfully.
1. not formally onboarding new hires
when startups hire new employees, they sometimes just throw their staff to the wolves. everything is new and fresh and they want their employees to dive right in.
organized onboarding gives employees a sense of direction and purpose. create a program that caters to new employees and that involves classes, testing, and team building in their first month at the company. this will decrease your ramp time.
2. not providing health insurance
health insurance coverage isn’t cheap in the u.s., but shopping around can lessen the pain. by not providing health coverage for your employees at all, your b2b business will probably not attract the best candidates, especially in this tight labor market.
healthcare is at the front of everyone’s minds after the pandemic, and affordable insurance is vital to most middle-class workers, particularly those with families. health insurance options are a vital benefit for b2b startups in recruiting new employees.
there are various self-employment and small business healthcare coverage options. if you are considered a contractor, freelancer, or consultant, you can qualify for low-cost coverage or sometimes free coverage using premium tax credits. there are usually several options that will meet your budget and still ensure you are providing your employees with reasonable premiums for their healthcare needs.
3. underinvesting in your data
a clean, reliable, and complete data set is among the most basic and essential tools when starting a business. your business can help you monitor, control, and predict your results to gain forward momentum within your business. when there isn’t any data, there isn’t a return on investment (roi).
ensure your sales teams understand your ideal buyer persona and unique value proposition for that client. when they have a specific focus based on data, they can build a solid pipeline of potential clients and generate revenue for your company. you can use content management systems to organize and present your data and remain updated. turn your database into insights that inspire action.
4. overselling the features
when you oversell the features your product or business offers, you are underestimating the roi and pushing too hard for a sale. your sales and marketing teams should collaborate and align with the customers’ needs in mind. around 58% of sales end with no decision from the customer or the decision to keep things as they are.
this is often due to businesses not taking the time to understand the requirements of the consumers and overselling their features. customer relationship management (crm) can track client engagement and assist with sales and marketing goals. if the features are being oversold, prospects may back out of the deal simply because they are given too much information about the wrong things and not enough about what matters to them.
thoughts to consider
starting a b2b business means you’re going to be self-employed. there are many considerations when launching your own company, such as funding your own benefits. there is no such thing as “paid time off” when you are your own boss.
besides understanding your business idea and all it entails (design, development, delivery, support), you should also be well-versed in self-employment elements that will now pertain to you and your operation.
it’s vital to explore healthcare options for self-employed individuals and self-employment taxes when considering a b2b startup. some apps will help you organize your to-do list when you’re in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship. ensure you’ve considered all factors involved from every angle before you launch your business.
planning is key
based on interviews with dozens of successful startup founders, the key is to be passionate about solving a problem. if you really, truly understand:
- who your prospective customers are;
- the problem you are helping them solve;
- how they are solving it today;
- how you can do it better (and articulate that differentiation);
- the competitive landscape; and, most importantly
- how you profitably deliver that solution;
then you are ready to start your own b2b business.
dylan berger is a digital marketer and seo at webfx, where he writes about b2b and b2c marketing. he studied advertising in university but is a life-long student of philosophy, design and art.