For the big-eyed entrepreneur taking first steps in the startup world, building a top-notch business requires creative ideas, dedication and patience before things start taking off.

However, in just two years of new business, the ratio of entrepreneurs that ‘make’ or ‘break’ in this time means a staggering nine out of every ten startups will fail, according to research by Forbes.

Watch out for these classic startup blunders:

  • Spending too fast, too furiously

Play your marketing, branding and resource cards right on a minimal budget to stay in the game. Too much immediate spending can lead to serious cash-low issues, which can stop you meeting demand from a successful ad campaign. Agencies, freelancers or interns are cost-effective, and can generate more marketing than a high-cost permanent team.

  • Talking through the wrong channels

Key to understanding exactly who your customers are, and how they will interact with your brand, is knowing their lifestyle habits and where they hang out online. Each sector has a different channel so don’t rush to make any snap judgments without knowing what yields the best returns.

By the same token, online marketing isn’t all selfies – you need a clear and focused strategy. Tactics such as acquiring ‘fake’ followers will not only hinder user engagement, but can also damage your brand’s reputation. Last year, Instagram deleted more than 19 million fake user accounts! Set goals and KPIs, then analyse the results to identify what is effective and what is not.

  • Being a copycat

It’s reasonable for any startup business to take note of what competitors are doing in your marketplace, and to learn from it as well as find innovative ways of doing what they do even better. However, copying equals boring marketing that consumers tune out. As Mike Kappel, founder of Patriot Software, says: “Just focus on your competitive advantage – your ‘secret sauce’.”

  • Failing to keep track of your results

Research suggests that 84 percent of businesses don’t track ROI in social media, so make sure you’re in the 16 percent who do. Effective use of tracking or discount codes or custom URLs help to measure the response from prospective or existing customers. Your data will generate the solutions to boosting your ROI.