Start-up mistakes

Guest blog by Liz Ernst

start-up mistakes
Most likely, you didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur because you thought it would be easy. Launching a new business is hard work, and the challenges, like the rewards, can seem monumental.

Most entrepreneurs make mistakes and those who are most likely to succeed learn from their mistakes. Of course, it’s best to avoid them whenever possible. Regardless of what type of business you’re in, there are some mistakes common to new business owners that you should plan to avoid at all costs. These are the mistakes that can turn a new business into a quick failure.  start-up mistakes

1. _You’re lacking adaptability   start-up mistakes
Think about it; to succeed in entrepreneurship, one of the most important skills a business owner can have (or acquire) is adaptability. Like everything else, the only constant in today’s markets is change. Entrepreneurs who don’t adapt easily and place too many expectations on one product or service don’t succeed. It’s the proverbial “all eggs in one basket” conundrum.

The key to adaptation is testing a variety of products and solutions. Test them again and again. Open your mind and explore new options. Run with what is working for you now, and prepare yourself to make changes at any time if the need arises.   start-up mistakes

2. _Doing it all yourself.
The best entrepreneurs are delegators. They know they can’t do it all, at least not well, and they outsource talented individuals or firms to handle important tasks that they simply can’t manage on their own. Big on this list is a professional writer for web content, blogs, press releases, and marketing content. A writer with marketing skills is great, but you may need to hire a separate writer and marketing pro. Consider the ROI at stake and delegate.   start-up mistakes

Of course, every entrepreneur will have their own idea of which tasks they think should be outsourced. Regardless of the tasks, remember you’re delegating them to others in order to make the best use of your time doing what you do best. Trying to wear every hat is a quick trip to burn out. Even if you don’t wear yourself out, you’re still taking time and focus away from those things that require your expertise and attention. If you haven’t already, learn to delegate.

3._Expecting immediate success  start-up mistakes
Anticipating immediate success the moment you launch your business is a good way to set yourself up for disappointment. Of course, part of the entrepreneurial spirit is confidence, but no new business owner should expect immediate gratification. Accept the fact that it’s probably going to take a long time to grow your business, and even longer to start turning a profit. Many entrepreneurs keep their day jobs for at least their first year in business to make sure they can pay their expenses.

Patience and realistic expectations are in order. Among the many reasons that so many new businesses fail in the first year is because their owners assumed they’d be making money as soon as they opened for business.  Plan to have a cash flow outside of your business you can count on, whether it’s outside employment or at least a year’s salary in savings. Crunch the numbers ahead of time to determine how much money you’ll need to maintain your living costs and how much you can realistically expect to make from your business. Most entrepreneurs don’t expect to turn a profit for at least one year after launching.  Start-up mistakes

4._Purchasing equipment, software and furniture, too fast.  Start-up mistakes

Of course, you’re going to need business equipment, electronics, software, and furniture, but do not be tempted to buy everything up front. Stick with the essentials at first, and don’t purchase anything you can live without until your business starts turning a profit. You’ll need to keep what capital you have on hand to build the business—marketing, web development, critical staff, and product or service development. Don’t buy it if you can operate without it.   start-up mistakes

5._Neglecting social media.   Start-up mistakes

Too many new businesses in traditional industries think they don’t need an internet presence. These are the entrepreneurs who fail fastest. Whether you’re opening a real estate brokerage or a coffee shop, you can’t survive, much less thrive, without the internet.  So many traditional industries think that they don’t need the internet, but the fact is, today’s consumers are online looking for what they want or need. If you’re not there, they will find your competitors who are. Businesses must position themselves where their customers can find them in order to be successful.

Social media is perhaps the least expensive marketing tool with the highest ROI. Entrepreneurs need to take advantage of it. If you’re not familiar with social media, outsource an expert.

6._Not developing a marketing strategy.

Branding is critical to getting noticed by your target audiences. Hire a professional to design your company logo and website. Hire a professional writer for your website content, marketing materials, and press releases. No matter how well you know your product or service, without utilizing professionals to present it properly to potential customers, you’re hurting your potential for success before you even get started.

Every entrepreneur should launch with a focused marketing strategy and professional, polished materials that reflect well on the business and its owner. Even the slightest mistakes or less than top quality materials will turn off consumers. Never underestimate the value of your content and graphics.

Get some expert advice on naming your business as well. The wrong name can spell disaster for a business, regardless of the products or services it offers. 

There are many lessons entrepreneurs can and will learn on their road to success or failure. Most important is to develop a business that drives your passion. Deciding to open a business based on its income potential alone is not going to give you the fulfillment that a business driven by something that you’re wildly enthusiastic about will. Without the passion there, even if it makes money, you’ll feel like something is missing.

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