10 Common Mistakes For Starting a Business in Iran!

For every startup no matter where you are planning it, there is a good chance it will fail.  I hate to break it to you but studies showed that there is more than 75% chance of failure for every startup which makes it really scary.

Above is the something general and regardless of the market or where you are planning your business startup it is applicable.

I want to be more specific and talk about the most common mistakes  for Biz startups in Iran.

In my earlier post, I described IRAN Market in detail & the difficulties which you might face.Now I want to highlight (in no particular order) top 10 common mistakes which might  lead to a failure when you want to launch your Biz in Iran.

#1) Not Understanding the Market terms & conditions ( T&Cs):

For sure every startup needs to be based on conducting market & feasibility studies. But for IRAN, first you need to have a deep understanding about the market T&Cs. it is strongly recommended.( please refer to my earlier post regarding Iran market)

#2) Conducting market research from outside rather to have it done locally:

Some companies make this mistake and try to conduct the market research & feasibility study by using international agencies or with their own staffs using only internet & limited resources. Using international agencies has its own benefits but for IRAN, you need to be more specific and dig harder for such data and most of the time the results which come from the market research from outside will be really different to what you get from the inside and most of the times the results could be really misleading. So not doing it locally will end up with inadequate data. One more important hint is to avoid conducting your local research with wrong group. choose your local agent wisely!

#3) Relying on one set of data:

Make sure you are not only relying on one set of data, always do the back checks and try to evaluate the data which you are receiving from your local agent. cross check it with your team and challenge it. it is common to receive copy pasted reports or even in worse cases the data which has been manipulated to be presented to you so you would like it.

#4) Skimping on the Business Plan:

Of course for starting a new Biz, the first thing to have a Proper Business Plan, but when you want to enter Iran market, you want to make sure that you have a solid Business plan which has been planned based on realistic and valid assumptions according to the local market T&Cs.sometimes some companies make this mistake and try to use their available BP which has been used for other countries in the region and just changing the inputs which is a huge mistake. if you want to use your available BP make sure you localize it by using proper and accurate data from inside the country, otherwise it can turn out to be disaster.

#5) Hiring Poorly:

Every one wants to hire the best available talent for their team but when it comes to the salaries and how much they want to pay for such a talent, it becomes a bit challenging and misleading and I tell you why.

Due to the earlier IRAN condition and all the embargo and sanction stories, not so many companies would liked to invest in Iran and the majority vacated the market because of such issues & difficulties, as such experienced people who worked with multinational companies with solid track-record of success & delivery are not that much. and for such a reason  when you want to hire people locally you will see big difference between packages for candidates.  by considering the packages, it might become tempting to hire the cheap ones. If you hire poorly, you’ll end up spending a lot more than you wanted to pay in the first place just to fix it.

#6) Handling Money Incorrectly:

When it comes to startup, handling the money correctly is vital to future success. one of the most common mistakes is to hire tons of people as the country is so vast and the market is so  big ,appealing and tempting that makes you excited to  jump in and capture the most that you can.  Hire those truly needed and choose professional ones. Try to avoid the following to handle your money properly : Wrong Hiring process, Hire unprofessional help,Diluted priorities,Cash flow casualness.

#7) Bad timing, Launching at an inopportune time.

Timing is everything for startup and launch a business. do your home work, check out the seasonality and find out the best time to launch. Bad timing is including launching too early or too late.  don’t wait for the perfect when the good will do.

#8) Having too much outside influence:

When you choose your local team, trust them & let them do their job. Try to avoid too much influence from the outside. if you allow too much  from the outside, you must expect the following results:

  • Losing focus
  • Getting distracted by unnecessary feedback
  • Jumping to decisions
  • Not maintaining relationships

#9) Being Cheap About Marketing:

Don’t underestimate Iran market, it is very big, vast and  highly competitive market. I don’t want to say that you need to spend huge money  in order to have a success story in Iran.  Based on your BP and Biz size you need certain amount of marketing budget but the key point is to spend wisely. Do more with less!

10#) Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty:

If you want to start a business in Iran you have to face the fact that YOU NEED TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY, you need to get deeply involved.  Iran is not such a market that can be controlled remotely. Your presence is a MUST on the ground with your own local team and you have to plan each & every steps for a long run.  There are lots of examples of those whom took this seriously and succeeded such as Korean brands like Samsung & LG or on the other hand,other vendors like Nokia/Microsoft or HTC whom wanted to run their businesses remotely and have tasted the blow-back.

Iman Soltani

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