So you’re taking the big step, pushing your fears aside to finally start that business you’ve always wanted. You’ve read all the blog posts, listened to a plethora of podcasts, and consulted your lucky stars.
But as is true with most things in life, you probably already know in your deepest of hearts that there is no one true way that guarantees success. Indeed, if you ask 10 successful business owners for the secret to success, you better be prepared for 10 different answers…all of which worked for them!
Therefore, rather than finding out what to do, you may be better served learning about what not to do, as well as mistakes you can avoid as you begin. Avoid the following 6 mistakes when starting business, and save yourself from a world of headache.
1. Not Getting the Proper Business Partner
Apple, Google, Facebook, McDonalds, the list can go on and on. Most of the greatest and most enduring companies in the world today were started by teams with a common goal. The idea of the entrepreneur as a lone wolf who goes it alone is a lie propagated by the media.
Choose your partners wisely. Because Sally is your best friend, does not mean she qualifies! Ideally, whomever you go into business with should be somebody whose skills and approach are a polar opposite to yours. In this way, you are able to get more things done and accommodate more needs or demands, without hiring too many employees.
2. Not Being Prepared to Do Most of the Work in the Beginning
Yeah, you remain the CEO and the boss. But in the beginning, this job might be a little less glamorous than it sounds. While your business still finds its feet, you should be prepared to meet customers yourself, learn about their pain points and issues with the product or service, and even deal with customer service issues.
Look on the bright side: this gives you a clearer picture of the steps needed to turn your company into a highly profitable one—which is the real job of the CEO.
3. Moving Too Slowly
Slow and steady does not always win the race. No, your kindergarten teacher didn’t lie—but remember that you are going to have to find your own answers as to what works.
The truth is many businesses fail because they run out of money. Time isn’t on your side. Do whatever you legally can to get your business out of the shadows and into the sunshine making profits as quickly as possible.
This may entail you cutting more corners than you have previously imagined, but forget whatever guru said what, this is your business.
4. Being Cheap about Marketing
If you are thinking of skimping on marketing because, “This product is so good” just stop. Stop right now. A similar trap is trying to wing by on social media in a bid to get customers and gain traction for free.
You could be selling world peace and it would do no good if nobody gets to hear about it…and get convinced to buy! And if you didn’t know yet, Social media marketing is not free and takes months to get to the point where likes and comments actually translate to customers and business.
Budget 10%-20% of your gross revenue for marketing as you start your business. This could drop to between 5% and 10% as you become more established.
5. Forgetting that Your Business Is Not about You
It’s about your customers. Your business should be about doing what customers want (and then some), since that is how you get paid and make profits.
How can you know what customers want? Talk to them, get surveys out, and get informed on what really keeps them up at night. The end result is that you will build a business whose product or service people love.
6. Not Taking Time Off for Rest
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, as the old saying goes. If all you do is work, you’re going to get burned out. Take a break, have some fun every once in a while, so that you come back productive with re-charged batteries.
Having fun could be simply spending time with family and friends, taking that dream vacation (maybe to Las Vegas) or even settling down to reading that bestseller gathering dust on your shelf.
But you could do even better by attending networking events. Not only will you have fun and build relationships, you can also land a few clients going forward. Networking events are a great way to merge work and play!
If you have not heard of BNI (Business Networking International), I highly recommend you look into it. And if you are reading this in the Vermont area, it would be my pleasure to have you as a guest at my weekly chapter meeting.
I would love to chat with you directly if you are thinking about starting your own business for the first time. I started Eternity from the ground up over 17 years ago and we have worked with hundreds of clients since then.