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Why Startups Stall

It’s easy to start something today. Now that the gatekeepers are leaving their gates and the barrier to entry is lower than ever, anyone with an idea and an Internet connection can start a business. You don’t need a big staff on payroll or a factory to get the work done.

So more people are starting things.

There is no shortage of great ideas. The path to success though, is littered with great ideas poorly marketed. One of the biggest marketing mistakes new businesses make is neglecting the intangibles. Fledgling entrepreneurs and startup founders often concentrate all their effort on the tangible —the product, the business model, production, funding, and on and on. What sometimes gets forgotten are the ideals on which the business is founded.

While they are busy focusing on execution they neglect the fundamentals and forget to find ways to communicate that unique purpose to the people they want to reach.

A great product and a good business model can get you so far, but a purpose around which to build a brand framework is what makes businesses and brands thrive.

It turns out that what distinguished the 50 fastest growing and most valuable brands of the last decade was an ideal. A reason for being. The intangible that was the foundation of the brand’s culture and story.

“Great brands and businesses do more than make great products and services. Great brands and companies change peoples lives.”
—Jim Stengel
Former CMO Proctor & Gamble

Apple, Zappos, Starbucks, Amazon, Innocent, Red Bull, Pampers, Google and Coca Cola are all on the list, but tiny emerging brands made the cut too. Even empires of one can succeed because they have a purpose beyond what they sell. And huge ones can fail when they forget the reason they existed on the first place.

Image by Mike Ambs.

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