Part Two: Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Small Business
Last week we looked at three mistakes to avoid when starting a small business.
But there are so many more than just three!
We will dive into more on this topic with this post and will have a final post the following week culminating in a three-part series.
So last week we covered:
- 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
Here we move on to the next three things you should be wary of doing if you intend to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Believing that taking risks at the start is too risky and there is no room for error in a startup
It’s easy to assume that when starting out you have to get everything just right. Just so. Perfectly set up to minimise your chances of failure.
But calculated risks can mean all the difference between success or miss out on significant opportunities.
It all comes down to the F-Word. F-E-A-R.
How many people are too scared to try and start their own business because of fear of failure? Fear of financial ruin? How many people are frightened to change jobs because it’s better the devil you know despite loathing their work situation? (Hands up – I’ve been there.)
Fear can be crippling but it’s an important part of our nervous system telling us that something better might be out there if we choose to take it on. That nagging feeling inside telling you you can do more, be more, and achieve more is there for a reason, but our brains like safety first.
Grab the brass ring and you might find that you thrive.
The business setup does not need to be perfect to get started, the momentum to get something started is the first step in breaking through the F-E-A-R.
And being real here, mistakes WILL happen, so the whole adage that there is no room for error is a misconception. Learning comes from making mistakes and it’s no different for budding entrepreneurs.
Your business will only learn what works and what doesn’t by making errors and moving on from them in a brighter direction that will work.
Relying on financing alone
It can be tempting to rely on financing alone, but it’s important to learn the basics of running a business before seeking financial assistance.
New entrepreneurs can often lowball the capital needed which may cause financial stress and squeezing just as you get up and running.
Investing personal money into the business avoids an over-reliance on loans which can be distressing if the business isn’t doing as well as planned.
It can also lead to splurging on unnecessary luxuries your business could do without until successfully having a consistent turnover.
Trying to do everything yourself
In the beginning, you might be a one-man band, but there will come a time when you need to seek outside help.
It’s that simple.
It would be impossible to do everything yourself and do all of those things well. So assess your strengths and weaknesses and accept the art of delegation into your life if you feel any reluctance at giving up 100% control of everything.
Outsourcing and using freelancers offer a range of options if you aren’t quite ready to hire a permanent employee. But what having outside help and being able to delegate will do is allow you to have a work/life balance.
Sure, you’ll still be the one with the odd sleepless night debating what the next steps are. But by sharing the workload you will be able to run a business without running yourself into the ground and becoming a ghost to your loved ones.
There are things that will require your expertise so those things will remain in your wheelhouse, but other tasks that aren’t necessarily up your street or that could be done by someone else can and should be where possible where budget allows.
Not everyone will work like you
This also alludes to the issue that not everyone will work the same way you do as a business owner!
Most owners will stick around and work longer hours than employees, but the same can’t be expected of employees. That can be unrealistic to expect that every employee will have the same level of determination as you, the business owner. For many people work is a means to an end. They may be good at what they do and have similar values but boundaries in the workplace have become more and more apparent these days. (Not to bring up Elon Musk again, but the latest ‘you work hardcore or leave’ policy left him with another mass exodus.)
So there you have it…
Another part of this series is complete, and we’ll see you next week to wrap up some of the most common mistakes to avoid when starting a business.
See you then!
Did you miss Part One? Find it here.