Starting a business can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person's life. It can also be one of the most rewarding. Regardless of the type of business you're running, there are a lot of decisions you need to make. Those can be big and small but they all make a difference.
Because we've been working with new and small businesses for so long, we know the ins and outs of start-ups. We can help you avoid making the decisions that won't help your business thrive.
Here are the 7 most common start-up mistakes that we've seen.
1. Not Understanding Your Market
Marketing is a vital and important part of any business. Regardless of how great your product is, if you don't market it well or to the right people, it won't sell. Research your target audience. Understand who will want your product and what appeals to them. A great way to do this is to research your main competitors. Who do they target? What do they do well? What could you do better? This way, you'll have a better understanding of the market before you get your business running.
2. Skipping the Planning Stage
Starting a business without planning first is a detrimental mistake. Before you open your doors, you need to understand your finances, your business plan, and your market. Consider meeting with an accountant or financial planner to ensure that your plans are reasonable. This way, you won't be operating your business in the dark.
3. Waiting Too Long to Start
It can be terrifying to start a business, especially when you've invested so much time and money into making it great. You don't have to wait until it's perfect! If you have a good idea, test it where you are. You can always tweak and change things. If you wait too long you might lose momentum. Don't wait! Start where you are and make it awesome.
4. Giving Away Too Much of Your Company at First
Investors are an integral part of any new business. Without them, you may have trouble coming up with enough capital to start when you want to. It's also important that it's your company. Don't give away all your say for a big investor. Let them know from the beginning that you appreciate their input but you have the final say. Don't give away your company for the money.
5. Not Partnering With the Right People
Partnering with good people can elevate your company to the next level. The opposite is also true-- partnering with the wrong people can bring you down. Choosing the right people to partner with means understanding your priorities and finding people who align with those priorities. This may seem complicated but it's simple. You just have to know what your top priorities for your company are.
6. Undervaluing Your Products and Services
When pricing products and services, you need to be aware of your expenses and the value of the product or service you're giving them. When calculating your prices, consider how much the physical products cost and how much your time costs. Consider your competitors' prices but let that be your last consideration. If you have a great idea, your customers won't care if they have to pay a little more if it's a better product.
7. Not Setting Achievable Goals
It's easy to set unspecific and vague goals that sound good. Things like "I want to be the best coffee shop," or "my employees will love working here." These are a great starting point but they aren't measurable. Good goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). A good goal would be "I will make a 10% profit by the end of the fiscal year." Goals like this push you to make more progress. They allow you to more easily measure your accomplishments so you know exactly how you're doing.
Running a business can be difficult but it can also be rewarding. Starting a business seems daunting. It's easy to make simple mistakes because there are so many decisions, big and small. These are the most common start-up mistakes we've seen. If you can avoid these mistakes, your business will thrive.
What are some common mistakes you've seen in start-ups? Tell us in the comments.