Our 3 Business Marketing Mistakes

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When we bootstrapped our organization in 2008 we were not into product development but only targeted the software service industry and till now we have done about 275+ (small & medium sized) projects from the day we started our business.

This post is about the 3 Biggest Marketing Blunders that we had committed in our 6+ years of existence.  This post is not about the feast or famine life-cycle of any start-up.

And we are not ashamed to make our confessions in public because all the prospective entrepreneurs as well as freelancers should not commit these mistakes again when they are starting up.

So let’s dive into the Top Three Marketing Mistakes that we have committed unknowingly:

Mistake #1: Portfolio Non Disclosure Agreement

As a toddler in the biz world we were aliens to the world of contracts,  agreements and other legal mumbo jumbos and we were also unaware of the future repercussions of these legal stuffs. So we signed any agreements that came in our way to get hold of the projects.

Since we had signed the NDA we couldn’t ask for client references which affected our marketing badly in the longer run.

We are not against Non-disclosure agreement(NDA) that protects the privacy, security as well as the data integrity of the project, but only against the NDAs that forbids the portfolio display of the project.

Mistake #2: Partnered with Outsourcing Firms

In our starting days we had partnered with lots of outsourcing firms for getting more projects. In reality most of these outsourcing firm(s )were run by single person without any software development expertise or without any in-house developer(s). And this person poaches the client either from US/Canada/Australia mainly and gives the project to any freelancer or other software development companies.

Also from our experience we found out that these Outsourcing middlemen are bad for both the client as well as for our own good because these middlemen usually don’t understand client needs properly which results in project delays and scope creeps.

The next big trouble is that these middle-men lacked project management as well as technology skills which affected the project deliverable(s) very badly.

Mistake #3: Failed to gather Testimonials/Feedback

During our initial days, due to our eagerness to finish as much as projects, we never cared to collect any testimonials from any of our clients which includes any one-off clients.

This proved to be one of our greatest follies to build our credibility and trust. And we realized later that building trust is of paramount importance for any business irrespective of the size or the market in which they are operating.

Lessons Learned

The best thing about mistakes is that they changes you for good.

So like any toddler or teenager we also learnt our lessons from our past mistakes(the hard way) and they are:

Lesson #1:

An ideal client will always allow you to showcase the value that you’ve provided for them and they will provide you with handful of referrals for your quality work.

So from now on we’ve decided we will not sign any NDAs that does not allow portfolio display. Let me repeat, we are not against Non-disclosure agreements that protects the privacy, security as well as the data integrity of the project.

Lesson #2:

Never ever partner with any of the Outsourcing companies as well as Outsourcing Marketing Consultants who are looking for quick bucks by squeezing your creativity, knowledge and time.

We also discovered that these bad apples(the middle-men) are always bad for the client in the longer run because their usual practice is to dump companies/freelancer (who originally wrote the project code) for trivial issues or for their own monetary gains which affects the future project support for the client.

Lesson #3:

Always gather feedback as well as testimonials after every project which will help us to better serve our existing as well as future client(s) since the client feedback (good/bad) will help us to fix the issue areas and help us and our clients to move to the next level.

We will bring more mistakes that we’ve committed in our toddler days in the coming weeks. Till then, stay tuned and enjoy your life to the fullest 🙂

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Meet the Author
Charles Gribble

I'm the in-house content geek of MotiveSense. When not working, I hike, cycle and weed out my garden.

Dave K

Admitting mistakes in public is a courageous feat.

@Dave: Thanks for your kind words.