Could Your Startup’s Worst Bottleneck Be Your Brand?


Abdessamad QARMADA

It is unfortunately no longer bizarre to see 90% startups fail. The reasons for failure differ from one to another, but at the end of the day it all has to do with bad decisions. Inexperienced founders who try to do everything by themselves, while being incapable of anticipating future problems that could be fatal.

I’d like to talk about the concept of the “Bottleneck” which in production and project management is defined as an unpredictable matter in a stage out of a chain of stages in a department or factory which causes delays in production processes and interruptions in the flow of work. It is seldom when this issue is discussed in the context of branding, that’s why In this article I want to shed a light on it, see ways to analyze if branding could be a minor or even severe bottleneck for a startup, we will also see how it could affect growth when it gets accumulated preventing the business from maintaining or accelerating its pace.

Bottlenecks Are Bad News For Growth

According to Entrepreneur “The key to sustaining growth is to anticipate bottlenecks before you accelerate” … After raising funds, startups start distributing money on what they think is prone to causing a bottleneck and the most necessary in order to accelerate. Oftentimes that would be hiring a great team of developers or putting more resources into an MVP. It’s fair enough to say that most startup founders who are engineers by trade only think about things related to production, well that’s a big problem because sometimes a bottleneck isn’t necessarily just in production it can also be the brand.

Jawbone that was a billion dollar startup of which the brand was in my estimation a bottleneck and could’ve been a factor of their shut down in 2017, their customer experience was a disaster they received tons of complaints and only replied to them with automated answers, which hurt their image. But the big failure was in not being able to gain back their customers’ trust using branding. Meanwhile their competitor Fitbit was always cautious with the way they treated their customer base whenever they needed help giving them a clear advantage.

Analyze And Assess It:

Prevention is better than cure, no one wants to end up in that situation when things are completely messy and out of control. Whether a bottleneck is minor or severe, a startup should always be aware of it and detect it before it develops especially if it is the brand itself. Branding shouldn’t fall to the bottom of a startup’s priority list because it will end up eventually as a severe bottleneck. For example, a minor bottleneck can be a brand that is not well tailored when a startup tries to expand its audience after a pivot. A severe bottleneck however could be lacking a brand identity entirely. This could cause a startup to fail even if all other aspects of it function correctly.

Big Consequences:

Ignoring a startup’s branding efforts could easily lead to a severe bottleneck causing an absence of loyal customers as well as a weak connection between the brand and the audience. The brand could be presented inconsistently across social media platforms which will slow recognition and thus the fast growth that all startups are seeking and potentially even lead to failure. If a startup doesn’t have loyal customers connected with the brand then who would support it during tough times? It is important to stay away from any type of confusion that would be the reason for creating a bottleneck. Seeking fast growth when a startup’s identity is not fully formed is a risky move.


Leaving a bottleneck untreated will always cost more than resolving it early. It’s important to always think of how to track it, measure it and invest in solutions to solve it when seeking fast growth. We all know that having an idea and knowing how to execute is necessary but it would be useless if you can’t grow, enhance and maintain it, that is paramount.

Abdessamad QARMADA /CEO & Brand Strategist at uniqium™, ,


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