There are so many steps involved in starting a business and it’s easy to get a little lost along the way. Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to your startup, even seemingly harmless oversights could cost you a lot in the long run.
So what are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid?
1. Don’t be Afraid to Fail
The biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid of failure! Failure is key to your success and jumping into your fear is very positive for your future business. How you pick up after failure and learn from your mistakes is the key to great success.
2. Don’t Misinterpret Your Market
The biggest mistake a business owner can make when launching a startup is misinterpreting the market. Whether it is underestimating or overestimating costs, appealing the wrong target audience, or poorly gauging the demand, misinterpreting your market can end your business before it even starts.
3. Don’t Delay Your Launch
A major mistake when starting out is delaying your business launch because it’s not perfect. My advice is to launch your business as quickly as possible and refine your business model as you go. You may end up catering to an entirely different target audience that you’ve originally intended.
4. Don’t Blindly Create a Product
The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make when starting a startup is making something nobody actually wants, and then focusing on building the product to the exclusion of marketing the product. First comes the demand, then comes the supply. See economics have been getting it wrong for years!
5. Don’t Forget about Branding
Underestimating the value of a brand and the people that do branding is the biggest mistake I see happening over and over. Quite often startups/business owners/ entrepreneurs think a simple logo covers this. A brand is a deeper, more articulated definition of your business. It is also a guiding light and acts as a reminder as to what you want you want your business to be, to represent and more.
6. Don’t Be a Amarty Pants
The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make (and most do) is to believe that, just because they are an expert at what they do, they have what it takes to run their own business.
7. Don’t get Materialistic
Entrepreneurs tend to overpay for office space or luxurious appointments that have absolutely no impact on customers. I’ve watched companies whose customers never see their offices waste hundreds of thousands of precious capital remodeling old warehouses and buying the latest and coolest office furniture, when they should have been developing their business in a garage someplace.
8. Don’t Move too Slowly
Having been a first-time founder who made many mistakes, I realize in hindsight that I never made decisions fast enough. I was slow to recognize that a relationship with a business partner wasn’t working out, that my customer wasn’t willing to pay enough money to sustain our business, that investors weren’t interested in funding my business no matter how much they liked me, etc.
9. Don’t Give Yourself the Wrong Salary
Paying yourself too little or too much is a mistake. It’s often easier to determine the salary for a new hire than determining an owner or partner’s pay. Consider paying yourself a percentage of revenue. Whatever you choose, make figuring out your pay and that of your partners a practice and foundation to healthy expectation of management.
10. Don’t Avoid Contracts
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner/entrepreneur can make when starting a business is the failure to implement contracts. No matter how good relationships may be they can come to a screeching halt when systems and agreements are not put in place.
11. Don’t Neglect Your Marketing Budget
The biggest mistake I see businesses make over and over is they spend all of their money on product development and overhead and they leave zero money for marketing to generate customers. They have this mindset that, ‘if you build it they will come.’ They do not realize that if people do not know your product exists and that it can help them, they can’t buy it.