The famous saying in business is “underpromise and overdeliver.” It’s a simple saying, but it’s one of the most valuable pieces of advice an entrepreneur should heed for their startup.
How customers view your product and how it’s sold to them can have a significant effect on the overall performance of your startup. When expectations don’t meet reality, products can bomb.
Tech entrepreneur Brian Colpak says this is why it’s so important that entrepreneurs make sure their statements are as accurate as possible.
Here are four tips and rules that startups should follow to avoid overpromising.
- Be Honest with Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they aren’t honest about their products or service. Instead, they often let emotions get in the way of reality, which clouds their judgment. It can even prevent them from taking an objective look at what their startup can do and what it simply can’t do — at least not yet.
Being honest with yourself will ensure that you are honest about your ability to deliver on promises. It’ll also help you craft your marketing messages so that you know you can live up to what you’re saying.
- Be Realistic
You may have goals in mind about where you want your company to go, but you need to stay grounded in today’s reality. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that your startup isn’t where you’d like it to be eventually. However, that doesn’t mean your product or service won’t attract customers.
When you’re realistic about where you stand today, you’ll be able to communicate to your customers the value of your startup today. Then, you’ll be able to set realistic expectations that will allow you to satisfy your customers.
- Don’t Commit to Something You Can’t Deliver
This is a relatively simple concept: If you don’t think you can deliver on a promise, don’t make the promise in the first place. But, again, even if delivering on that promise is a goal of yours, you should make sure you can deliver before committing.
Brian Colpak says customers will appreciate you being honest with them and telling them any hesitations you may have in your ability to deliver a specific outcome.
This is especially valuable in business-to-business relationships. Other entrepreneurs will understand exactly what you’re going through and will work and grow with you — as long as you don’t overcommit yourself.
- Give Yourself Some Leeway
No business is successful 100% of the time. Even the most well-known, well-regarded, and valuable companies in the world have disappointed customers at some point or another.
The thing these businesses do well is built in some leeway for failure — and then immediately address problems when they happen. If a client hires you for a project that you are confident will take three weeks to complete, promise to deliver the result in four weeks.
This extra week of leeway will give you a cushion if something goes wrong or doesn’t work out as initially planned. Then, if you end up delivering the result in less than four weeks, your client will only be pleasantly surprised.
About Brian Colpak
Brian Colpak is a tech entrepreneur and the founder of Continental Global. After spending most of his career in managerial positions, he founded and led a company recognized as one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Massachusetts before starting his current company. These days his main focus is on an upcoming project in Dubai.