Top 5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Starting a Business
By: Rachel Pollard 03/09/2015
Entrepreneurship is a lot like learning to ride a bike. The first time that we take off without our training wheels, we find ourselves going faster and faster and hope that we don't fall. Unfortunately, almost every child who has ever taken off without those training wheels can tell you...they fell; usually more than once. The same is true of starting a business. You are likely to fall a few times before you get the hang of riding the bike. Once you learn to ride, however, they say that you never forget. Learning the mistakes that may cause you to fall and avoiding them could be the key to smooth sailing in your new business. So what are some of the mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting a business?
Don't Be Afraid of Falling
As a child, if you had allowed your fear of falling keep you from trying, you'd still be using training wheels...or worse, not riding at all. In the business world, you cannot allow a fear of falling or failing stop you from going forward towards you dreams. As The University of Kentucky points out, “Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive." As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Falling is not failing...it is learning.
Don't Try To Do It All Alone
Starting a business is a very daunting task which should never be undertaken by just one person. While it can be tempting to try and start your business alone in order to keep all of the profits, this is simply not feasible. For one, there are many tasks which need to be done when starting a business...too many for just one person to handle. Secondly, when more than one person in involved in an endeavor, the parties can bounce ideas off of each other, and offer encouragement when things seem low. Third, when more people are involved in a startup, it means more money to start up with.
Having Unreliable Partners
Although it is important not to go it alone, it is not advisable to take on just anyone in order to have business partners. It is vital to any startup to make sure that all aspects and actions of your business are legal. You need to make sure that you can count on your partners and employees in the good and bad. For example, as AskMen shares, “A shady accountant will disappear when the IRS comes knocking. A silent partner offering to cover your travel expenses for a business trip or holiday abroad might be expecting you to carry over something other than business documents. Even having your best buddy as your business partner could backfire if your personalities and work ethics don't match. Discuss duties, responsibilities and expectations in advance to avoid problems later on.”
Don't Skimp on Your Brand
According to Business News Daily, “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. — David Salinas, CEO, Digital Surgeons”
Don't Skimp on a Business Plan, Either
Entrepreneur Magazine points out another area in which the new business owner should never skimp: The Business Plan. The future success of the company is often determined by the strength of that company's business plan, and how well that plan is adhered to. Your company's purpose, direction, competitors, and measure of success is all determined by the business plan. You need to look past the first year of operation, and determine how you will keep making a profit over time. Even with all of the passion and fire that most entrepreneurs have, starting off a business with no sustainable business plan can cause you to crash and burn.