No matter how focused or prepared you are to introduce your startup to the world, it is critical to take some time to go over your checklists of what you need to do, what you have already done, and what you need to avoid. While all entrepreneurs, new and successful, will make numerous mistakes throughout their journey, taking into account three of the top mistakes may just help to save you time, frustration, and money.
Not Setting Realistic Goals
Setting achievable goals and clear benchmark performance objectives is imperative for early stage companies. Entrepreneurs often set goals that are unrealistic, regardless of how much time and knowledge they are willing to put into their business. A common result of unrealistic goals is frustration and a lack of confidence in already uncharted waters, leading to potential failure. This is especially true in team settings, where individual players may be pulled in too many directions to effectively complete mission-critical tasks. We all want to make as much money as possible – as soon as possible – while sharing our ideas and offering our services. Try to be patient. Regardless of your excitement and drive, setting goals that are realistic will help you control the growth trajectory of your company and ensure that your leadership team and staff remain on the same page at all times.
Not Consulting with Experienced Business Owners
Jumping into the world of business ownership takes confidence and knowledge. Regardless of how much research you have done on how to be a successful entrepreneur, connecting and networking with successful (and unsuccessful) small business owners is often avoided. Statements like, “My business is completely different from theirs” and “They can’t possibly tell me anything I don’t already know about my business” are standard. Even business owners with completely different models and strategies can learn from each other and may have overlapping interests that would never come to light outside of an in-depth conversation. Most business owners are eager to learn and share information about their experiences. New entrepreneurs should always seek to take advantage of these important and often accessible resources.
Even entrepreneurs who have not found success may be willing to tell you where they went awry and how they would do things differently the next time around. Listen closely and gather as much information as you can. Whether or not you apply it is ultimately up to you.
When starting a new business, it’s common for many new entrepreneurs to spend too little or spend too much. While trying to spend as little as possible when just starting out, sometimes too little is, well, too little. In an effort to not overspend, being overly cautious can be just as detrimental. Cutting costs by trying to do too much in-house or engaging tasks outside of your skill set can lead to major problems for early stage companies.
On the other hand, overspending can also be an issue. Starting a business requires an investment, but it does not have to be extreme. Many entrepreneurs spend aggressively to purchase top of the line equipment, software, and marketing services. And while that may be the best choice for some, less expensive options are available that may prove just as effective. Do your research and you may just be surprised at how much money you can save by employing a little elbow grease and a can-do attitude.
While setting realistic goals, listening to advice from trusted sources, and planning an appropriate budget for your startup may seem obvious and simple enough, failure to execute in these areas may put your venture in jeopardy.