We are living in the age of startups. With funding and investors readily available at the tap of a button, the entrepreneur bug is taking a stroll on most of us. Thinking to start a business is not bad but starting it without proper knowledge and experience is a foolish decision. Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter has rightly said “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” Here are 6 marketing mistakes that startups need to avoid in order to sustain in the long run: #1. Investing in Unnecessary Resources Your fancy office can wait until you are ready: I have seen many people make the mistake of renting a fancy office just to show off without a proper back plan. The cost of maintaining a fancy office is high and it can make your expenses harder to manage. Services like PivotDesk are a cheap alternative offering a shared office space. Don’t spend too much on getting a website: If I hire a web designer and pay a huge amount of money simply to have a website then it’s a bad investment. Instead, I can simply make use of cost effective website builders like MotoCMS and get a site up and running in no time and without wasting a lot of money. Outsource more and hire less: Although it feels great to be an employer, the cost of hiring and maintaining an employee can be just too much. It is recommended to outsource more unless you are ready and have a lot of projects in hand in order to sustain the cost of the employees. Don’t spend if you can’t measure the results: Whether it’s PR outreach, email marketing lists, bulk SMS or buying social media followers, unless you are sure there is a guaranteed ROI, do not spend a penny on these. #2. Promoting Through Wrong Channels Brand promotion is a happy go lucky kind of a thing for bigger companies. For startups, it is recommended to carefully review the ROI before spending on any marketing channel. Local marketing is often recommended as the chances of conversions are more but ensure you are using the right channels for lead generation. Based on the USP of your products and services, choose a channel where you competitors aren’t that much active. This will give more room for your efforts and you will be successful in generating leads and conversions. #3. Spending Too Much on Brand Perfection Everybody likes to have a perfect brand but honey, if you are not earning that much then wait and give some time to your brand to achieve perfection. You simply cannot achieve brand perfection overnight by spending huge sums of money. It is just a foolish expense. Steve Jobs rightly said, “Stay hungry and stay foolish”. It is absolutely okay to avoid perfection in the start. Perfection is a kind of brat and thinking too much about what others will think about you might land you in trouble. It is better to fail, learn and still remain imperfect! Believe me, it helps a lot. #4. Ignoring the Affiliates Bo Bennet said about affiliate marketing that “Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires”. Networking is the king of business and startups need to realize this. The best way to realize the full potential of your brand is to have affiliates. The performance-based compensation structure is ideal for startups. If you want to invest in something, invest in networking, invest in making affiliates, provide referral commission and you will quickly realize how easy is it to do business when you have a lot of people selling your products and services. Such is the power of MLM marketing if done rightly using the right channels. Make your affiliates have a clear idea of the type of products you are selling and who your target market is. Beyond Diet became the second most searched diet product on Google in the year 2012 simply by capitalizing the power of affiliate marketing. #5. Failing to Give Discounts Most of the startup founders are either too much experienced or don’t hold any experience at all. In both the cases, there is an attitude problem. Owing to this, businesses fail to offer any discounts and end up on the losing side. Remember, when you are making a brand, your first motto is to get clients, once you have them on board then you can get even more clients from your previous client’s references. Hence, it is vital to give discounts. People have a knack of buying on discount and one of the easiest ways to attract clients is to offer discounts. You can also plan to provide discounts to a certain group of people like the elderly or maybe women; by doing so you not only get more clients but also improve your reputation. Have a look at this list of setting up pricing strategies based on consumer psychology. #6. Put the Wrong People in the Decision Maker’s Chair Last but not the least; do not have the wrong people in the decision maker’s chair. It is recommended to have a full control on the operations and investment and do not trust anyone, especially on jobs related to financing. Pay all the invoices yourself and as explained above, do not spend on unnecessary items. When you hire the wrong people for the post of C-level executive, the funds starts to flow in the negative direction and this leads to losses. One of the trickiest aspects is taking a decision and an inexperienced or undeserving person will pour water on all your hard work. When it comes to taking a decision, everyone seems to have an opinion but your job is to listen to everyone but do what you think is correct. If you are a startup then your brand is yet to be established and you have a restricted cash flow. A little patience, some intelligence, and lots of motivation is all you need to succeed. 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