Part Three: Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Small Business
So we’ve arrived at week three of mistakes to avoid when starting a small business.
We’ve already covered these points:
- Not having a business plan
- Just doing something you love (even if you’re not actually very good at it)
- Ignoring market research and the competition
- Not taking risks or believing there is no room for error
- Relying on financing alone
- Trying to do it all yourself
There could probably be a lengthier series on this topic, but we’re wrapping it up in three sections.
Here are the final three points to ponder when starting up your own small business. Well, we say ponder, but really we recommend avoiding these points where possible for the smoothest experience with starting up a business.
Mistake to Avoid: Running before you can walk
There is a certain impetus for the entrepreneur to get things done and get them done as quickly as possible to launch ‘the brilliant idea’ without wasting time.
It’s important to remember that starting a business is a long-haul vision. And yes, you need to have a vision with goals before jumping into the choppy waters of entrepreneurship. Your ducks do need to be lined up in a row.
You can have all of the passion in the world, but failure to plan will only result in disaster when acting on impulse only.
Pace yourself, and do the planning work thoughtfully, thoroughly, and diligently. Get advice for areas you are not an expert in. It’s no good doing guessing games here or thinking that things will just ‘come together’ on their own.
Starting a business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to train accordingly for a marathon, don’t you?
Comparing yourself to other companies
Let’s not misunderstand this statement to be not bothering to know your competition. As we mentioned earlier in this series it’s a mistake not to know your competitors. Huge mistake.
What we are saying here is not to get bogged down by comparing your startup to the already successful market share leaders for your target audience. It can be unprotecting and deflating to try and evaluate your success by comparing yourself to already established businesses.
It’s also important to avoid trying to copy their business model/marketing tactics/success stories verbatim. What is working for an established business is very different from what may or may not work for a brand-new business just hitting the market.
You may find that your own original approach is what sets you apart and garners interest and recognition which is ideal for generating leads and customers.
Build it and they will come?
Yet another serious business error. You can have the most beautiful bricks and mortar store, or the slickest of websites designed by the best of the best.
But if nobody knows about it, how do you expect your target audience to find it in the first place? Relying on word of mouth is not the way to go. It might be okay for a seriously small side hustle or a lemonade stand, maybe even a food truck! But anyone looking to launch their business seriously needs to invest in marketing.
Whether that is hard copy marketing or online, a mixture of both, the need to market your business is very real. Not sure how to get started? Do glad-handing and networking make your blood freeze with fear? Then you need to get some help in this department.
Free marketing strategies can work (social media and referrals), but they take significantly more time. Enlist the help of professionals who know how to launch new enterprises effectively. Work to a recommended budget
Better still, never fear marketing prior to launching your business! It doesn’t have to be up and running or doors open to build anticipation. Think of one of your favourite brands you use that you perhaps subscribe to for company news. Many sectors rely on the build-up to create waiting lists and purchasing frenzies well before the product is even available.
Let’s be honest, every business will have its pitfalls and mini-disasters. Those plans that fall through or ideas that fizzle out before they get off the ground. But that is part of the joy of running your own business.
You might feel the down times very succinctly, sharply even. But those highs when it all goes right are pretty hard to beat. Don’t get defeated by making some easily avoidable decisions before getting stuck into your entrepreneurial dream.