4 Tips On How To Avoid This Startup Fail: Not Listening.
Not listening is one of the Top 10 Reasons Why Startups Fails.
I divided this article about: How to avoid this Startup fail into two parts:
- A True Story of tech startup not listening partners and customers.
- 4 Tips on how to avoid this fail of Not Listening.
Before to know how to avoid this, let me explain to you how it looks like this problem with a true story.
1. A True Story of tech startup not listening partners and customers.
This true story has the purpose to understand this problem from the practical point of view. This problem can be related to Not listening on the technical side and Not listening on the commercial side.
1.1 Not listening on the technical side.
The Tech Startup, let’s call them “PADS”, they were failing to listen on the technical side to customers and partners.
How does it look like this problem?
PADS was facing some big issues on the customer side. The software solution had bugs. These bugs weren’t critical problems but it was creating problems and bad experiences between partners and customers.
In stead of investing more on fixing these bugs, the CTO decided to invest more in new features. What was the result?
Here it comes up with the same problem when you are trying to scale up to the international markets. If you are facing local problems, then go to more countries and the problems will multiply.
The same mistake applies here with the new features, the bugs were multiplicated.
Sometimes the problem is not listening at all. This is related to don’t take the Proper Sample.
The problem of taking the wrong or the same sample.
I am going to show you this with a video to visualize this:
The cook is tasting the sample of the food in order to make sure it tasted as he expects.
After this, he put a little more salt and the tries again from the same old sample.
The mistake is taking the same samples all the time and not a new one.
The same it is applied for this tech startup, they asked always to the same distributor and the distributor wasn’t aware of the customer and partners claims. So, PADS CTO and developers were always giving the feedback that everything works well. 🙂
1.2 Not listening on the commercial side.
I have been explaining in another chapter the Top 7 mistakes scaling up to the international market. One of this mistake was “Behaving as a corporate”.
PADS increased the price list licensing over 50% in less than 2 years. The first year, it was already a big jump and PADS received a lot of complains and threats from partners and customers. It wasn’t enough these complains, so the following year the price increased till achieving a 50-55% increase compared with the previous 2 years.
The partners were struggling to develop new customer before this increase and the problem was much bigger in the international market.
From one side, this startup forgot about the factor to differentiate from competitors: The price.
From another side, they were getting worse from the technical and commercial side reputation.
Some partners, started to look for alternatives on the competitor side and the board members of PADS was claiming that any partner or customer was lost because of their decisions.
But the truth is that PADS lost some renewals and the new prospects finished on the competitor. After this, they started to pay more attention to technical problems.
Even, if they started to listen to the feedback. The bad reputation was already there with them.
Therefore, what do you prefer to prevent or to fix a bad reputation?
A bad reputation on local markets, it is easy to get but it is harder to take off.
2. 4 Tips on how to avoid this failure of Not Listening.
I have 4 important tips in order to avoid this failure:
- The partners and customers feedback, it is the most important feedback.
- Make a proper feedback process.
- “No hay más ciego como el que no quiere ver, ni más sordo cómo el que no quiere oir” – Spanish proverb.
- Better prevent than fix later.
2.1. The partners and customers feedback, it is the most important feedback.
The majority of the startups are working by channel partners. Some of them are 100% and others sometimes. Nevermind, they are as important as the customers are important for you.
Thus, there isn’t more important feedback as the partner and customers give to you. Without them, you don’t exist as a startup and neither your solution.
Ignore this feedback and the competitors will receive your partner and customers with the open arms.
2.2 Make a proper feedback process.
In order to have the expected results, you have to create a proper feedback process.
- You should have as much amount of feedbacks as possible, from a different type of partners and customers.
- Don’t make assumptions with the feedbacks. Especially, when you are taking into consideration only one partner feedback. So making assumptions, may not lead you to a good result.
2.3 “No hay más ciego como el que no quiere ver, ni más sordo cómo el que no quiere oir” – Spanish proverb.
The literal translation is something like this: “There is no blind person like the one who does not want to see, nor deafer like the one who does not want to hear”.
This means it doesn’t exist anybody blinder such the one who doesn’t want to see, neither deafer such the one who doesn’t want to hear.
You may wonder, how is it applied to this topic? There are people who put themselves a cover in the eyes and the ears, and they keep their path without looking around.
Thus, it doesn’t matter what you show or what you say, they are able to listen to you but their mind will never change after listening to you.
2.4 Better prevent than fix later.
Have you ever heard? When you create trust at the customer side, you have a loyal customer.
Now let’s imagine the opposite situation. Will you buy a product from somebody you don’t trust? Most probably the answer will be negative.
How much are you investing in branding your startup?
Let’s imagine you are investing 50 k € per year. Having a bad reputation on customer and partners makes two effects over your startup:
- This 50 k € will be wasted by your bad reputation.
- The people like to share more a bad experience rather than a good one. So, unfortunately, this will spread faster than a good reputation.
You may be interested to learn about the other Top 10 Reasons Why Startups Fails.
I believe in tech startups, so I help them to don’t make the same mistakes than other startups do.