Many businesses are started each year, and many fail as well, often in their first year. How can you avoid being one of those statistics and be the business that comes out of the gate strong and remains there? Avoiding the common startup mistakes below can help increase the chances that you will succeed.
Lacking Financial Resources
If your finances are not in good shape, it’s probably not a good time to start a business. Even if they are in okay condition, have some cash reserves just in case. You can work on a budget and put away the money that you save each month for a while to build up this reserve. There may be some ways to cut back on monthly costs that you haven’t considered, such as refinancing your student loans. Completing your application involves providing some personal and financial information, choosing loan terms and selecting a payment and rate type and can be done in a matter of minutes.
Ambition is a wonderful thing, but it can get you in trouble if you aren’t careful about reigning it in when necessary. Yes, in a year or a few years, you may be able to expand into many different products and services, but in the early days, it’s important to keep your focus. Remember that even Amazon started out as an online bookseller. Furthermore, some companies continue to thrive simply by doing one thing better than anyone else. You will need discipline in order to stay focused and avoid distractions, but it will serve you well in the long run.
Lacking focus is about not being cautious enough, but you can also be overcautious. In fact, a fear of failure can prevent you from ever launching your business at all. This is also a great example of one of the many non-business skills needed to be successful in business and entrepreneurship. Understanding that to some extent failure is going to happen when you take risks will help you recover from it more quickly and learn from your mistakes. This will be invaluable in the years ahead as your company grows and changes.
Not Solving a Problem
What problem does your business solve? If your answer is “I don’t know” or “it doesn’t,” you might be the one who has a problem. A startup must address some need that the customer base has or it cannot succeed. While this could be a problem with your entire idea, it might also be a problem with how you are conceiving of it. Can you reframe what your service or product does to solve a problem? It’s also important because you will need to communicate this to the customers that you want to target.
Not Asking for Help
One of the common startup mistakes is thinking that you must solve every problem yourself. You must recognize when it’s time to turn to outside help. That could mean seeing an attorney or financial professional for legal or professional advice, hiring staff, paying someone to help you out a few hours each week or talking to a mentor. If you do have people working for you, you need to learn how to delegate instead of trying to do everything yourself.