Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – What Are The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting A New Business?
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Daniel Ndukwu who is a CoFounder and CMO at UsefulPDF.
Interviewee Name: Daniel Ndukwu
Daniel Ndukwu’s favourite quote: Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Daniel Ndukwu : I started out in the marketing world almost a decade ago now and I’ve had the privilege of being close to the action when it comes to the inner workings of different businesses. I became more and more fascinated with not only the marketing aspect of how a business is run but also operations. From there, my partner and I identified an opportunity we found interesting and that was growing. The rest, as they say, is history.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out? Any examples?
Daniel Ndukwu : Our product, UsefulPDF, provides document generation, document automation, and electronic signature software. You’re able to set up a document once and use it over and over again with little to no additional effort on your part. It saves time associated with document prep and removes a huge cost center from admin tasks, stationary, and human error. It’s powerful because we all have repetitive documents that we work with all the time. It’s a part of business. This frees up your time to work on what matters.
For example, lets say that you have a lot of freelancers or contractors you work with. You probably have standard terms on the contracts that need to be changed slightly and a standard NDA and Non compete. With our solution, you upload or create these standard documents in our software, generate a questionnaire, send the questionnaire to your contractors for them to fill and the document is generated based on their answers. From there, it can be set up to initiate the signing process automatically without your input and even send it to your file storage tool of choice.
You send a single email and your entire contractor onboarding process is completed.
What are the TOP 5 mistakes people make when starting a new business? Please share advice/examples for all of them.
Daniel Ndukwu : Over the last few years, we’ve made many of the mistakes you absolutely want to avoid but we stuck with it and now have over 100,000 monthly visitors to our software website, get dozens of sign-ups a day, and are profitable. Our mistakes didn’t kill us and I have a hefty list of things to avoid – built from experience and not late-night reading.
Here are a few:
Give it more time than you think it will take – especially if it’s your first time. It takes time and energy to design products, and manufacture them, and ship them. It takes time and energy to write code. It takes time and energy to source products and get them shipped. Your estimates are wrong and will be wrong for a long time. If you estimate 2 months, plan for four. I tell new business owners that they should give it at least eighteen months but plan for 24 months. If they can’t do that then don’t bother starting.
Talk to customers in your space before you do anything. If you’re in a mature market with many direct competitors, you may be able to skip this by mining reviews and doing deep competitive analysis. For everything else, you need to get out of your house or office and talk to real humans. Don’t ask them if they would buy it. Ask them about the problem you want to solve. Is that problem important to them? Have they tried to solve that problem in the past? Why didn’t the past attempts work? The Mom Test is a great book for customer discovery and should be required reading before starting a business.
In the early days, speed is better than perfection. As long as you don’t have a product to sell, you can’t get real customer feedback. You’ll be building in a bubble. If you have a grand vision of a line of products or services you want to offer, start with one. Get feedback, improve, and use the money to fund the rest of your vision. This works whether you’re building online courses, software products, or clothes.
Take advice from relevant people – but even then it should be done with skepticism. First, don’t take advice about a fashion brand from your accountant dad. Unless he’s extremely well-dressed. Seek out other designers that are a few steps ahead of you and have done what you want to do. They can give you the most relevant advice. With that being said, their experiences are unique and may not work for you so take their advice, filter it through your common sense, and use the ones that are applicable.
Figure out your distribution channel early and stick with it until you hit scale. If you have a good distribution channel, it will serve you well from zero to millions in revenue. If it cannot support millions in revenue then it’s not a good distribution channel. A common mistake is to try to be everywhere at once. Each platform can consume an individual’s 40-hour workweek so how do you expect to run Facebook Organic, Facebook Paid, LinkedIn, Instagram, SEO, and content marketing with only one person – you – plus run the business? It’s impossible and you’ll likely get lackluster results. Instead, choose a proven channel and master it. If it’s clothing, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest are proven winners. If it’s a B2B product, SEO and Twitter have proven themselves time and again. Do the research, choose the platform, and make it work.
Leaders Perception magaizne would like to thank Daniel Ndukwu for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
Subscribe to our newsletter to get a notification as soon as we launch new interview series.