What startup mistakes have you missed? You’ve recently started a business and hope to avoid common pitfalls. You’ve Googled “startup mistakes” and read 243 posts, all with titles beginning with a number and ending with “To Avoid,” “Being Aware of,” or “I Learned the Hard Way.” And you’ve found some good advice. Some warnings have saved you pain. So, why one more blog post about startup mistakes? Because one of these 7 mistakes could be something you haven’t considered, and some might remind you of actions you need to take.
7 Startup Mistakes that Could Ruin Your Business
Not Seeking Mentors
Why should you attempt to re-invent the wheel? Evaluate your weaknesses and seek advice from experienced businesspeople. They paved the roads you’re traveling. Where do you find such mentors? Business networking groups, clubs, and your local Chamber of Commerce.
Not Beta Testing
Not only should you test your product or service to know if it’s marketable and in demand, but how to market it. What do consumers want? What problems do they want your product to solve? Just because your friends and family LOVE the idea doesn’t mean your target audience will—test before you invest.
Incorporating Too Soon
Should you incorporate your business? That decision should come with advice from an expert, but if you’re still at the solopreneur or freelance stage, you may be jumping the gun to incorporate. “Corporations offer the strongest protection to its owners from personal liability, but the cost to form a corporation is higher than other structures. Corporations also require more extensive record-keeping, operational processes, and reporting.” — Small Business Administration
Not Having a Backup Plan
Let’s face it, your idea may fail through no fault of your own, like from an economic downturn. What then? Keep your options open. Continue networking, and keep looking for opportunities.
Spending All Your Time Working in Your Business and Little Time Working on it
This is tough when you’re new and small — you may have to do everything in your business. It’s more important as you grow. It’s simple — who’s growing the business if you’re doing all the work? “If you have no one in your organization that can do what you do, your growth will always be limited to what you can get done. For some that is the goal. They don’t want their business to grow any larger. They’re happy where they are. However, those who want to grow their business can’t do it alone. There are only so many hours in the day. If you want to grow, train someone to do what you do, or hire someone who can.” — The Path from Working In to Working On the Business
Poor Hiring Decisions
I’ve seen this time and time again — poor hiring decisions due to a lack of hiring preparation. Before you hire your first employee, create a candidate profile and a job description. Would you guess about your taxes, payroll, or banking? Why would you guess about hiring? Take as much guesswork out of hiring by knowing WHO and WHAT you need. The High Cost of Poor Recruiting
Not Using Every Marketing Tool Available
There are many low-cost marketing strategies, including social media. Press releases are another great opportunity. Without any idea what I was doing, I once convinced three TV stations to cover the official opening of a startup in a Greenfield, Indiana, cornfield.
Also, participating in networking groups and joining targeted business clubs may offer marketing opportunities.
What Startup Mistakes Have you Made?
Was I right? Did you find something you hadn’t considered? Have you been involved in a startup? What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall you wish someone had warned you about? Let us know in the comments below.
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