If this is your first go-round with starting a business, know this: you’re going to make mistakes. Successful entrepreneurs fail more often than they succeed, but they don’t give up. Make sure that when you do make a mistake, you learn from it, and whenever possible, rely on other’s wisdom to avoid them. Here are 10 mistakes that many entrepreneurs make that can spell disaster for a new business.
Many entrepreneurs get bogged down by taking on too much. It’s important to hire good people that can do the job you need, and then let them do it. Trying to have a hand in everything that’s going on will quickly wear you out, and possibly hurt your relationships with your team. Give up the control and trust people to do what you hired them for.
Taking too long to bring your product or service to market is one of the best ways to sabotage your business from the start. Every month that you’re not selling your product is a month of losses. Keep it up for too long, and you’ll lose everything. Set reasonable deadlines and then hold yourself to them. Get your product out there and making money as quickly as possible.
Your product may be fantastic, but if no-one knows about it, they aren’t going to buy it. We’ve all seen the “Shut up and take my money!” memes floating around the internet, and that’s every entrepreneurs goal. The thing is, they need to hear you before they can tell you to “shut up.” Your product is not going to sell itself, no matter how great the concept is.
Having the support of your friends and family is one thing; hiring them to work for you is a whole different basket. While you may be tempted to hire that long-out-of-work friend, but beware; there may be a reason he’s been unemployed for so long. You need to focus on finding the people that can offer the most value to your business.
Your customers are going to be your bread and butter. Reach out to them and let them know that you appreciate their business. Go the extra mile when responding to them on social media, and whatever you do, don’t ignore them.
Remember that you’re not the first person that has tried this. There are literally millions of entrepreneurs out there that have gone down this road before you. Ask for and listen to advice at any chance you get. The wisdom of those that have traveled this path before you is one of the most valuable things you can find.
Don’t just run with the idea because you think it’s a good one. Research the market. Research competitors. Research business models. Jumping headfirst into a project without fully thinking it through can lead you to ruin. Do your homework before you dive into the venture.
Having a vision is important. Refusing to alter your goals in response to changing information is a recipe for disaster. While you need to know what you want, you also need to recognize when a bump in the road means you need to change direction.
Just wanting to start a business is not enough to succeed. You need to define success for your business, and then decide how you’re going to measure when you’ve succeeded. Break this down into segments to delineate your goals step by step.
Don’t dismiss any negative feedback from your customers or from other business owners. Don’t be so sure of yourself and your product that you don’t value the input of constructive criticism. There is always room for growth and change; there isn’t room for failing because of something you could have prevented by listening.
While some of these tips might seem foreboding, don’t let them overwhelm you. Remember that every business owner is going to make a few mistakes along the way, and consider this a head-start so you don’t make the same mistakes that countless others have made.
Abby Vonda works at Datastical.com and Canadabiz.net. She specializes in entrepreneurship and self-improvement topics. She is very passionate about productivity, personal and career development, as well as business and leadership.