Being an entrepreneur is a dream that many of us share. After all, what’s not to like about being your own boss and making the lion’s share of the money? Everyone should want to be an entrepreneur, right?
Well, it is a lot more difficult than that. More businesses come and go each year that we don’t even know about. Getting through that tough start and becoming a viable business is very difficult.
Moreover, there are more than a few common mistakes that new entrepreneurs tend to make that limit their effectiveness. Here are 10 of the most common mistakes that first-time entrepreneurs make when getting their business off the ground.
1. They Don’t Plan
A lot of entrepreneurs feel that if they have a good enough idea, it will succeed. But without proper planning, even the best of ideas can fail to get off the ground. Proper planning is everything, and no entrepreneur should just assume things will work out.
Planning can be nuanced. It means knowing what your market looks like ahead of time—knowing what the competition is doing. Building connections with your target audience and getting a better idea of what they are looking for. Plan ahead and you will have a better idea of the terrain that awaits you going forward.
2. Choosing the Wrong Co-Founders
Starting a company with co-founders is commonplace. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to evaluate those co-founders when the business gets off the ground.
Simply put, you need to be able to trust those who you go into business with. If you can’t, and you feel the need to constantly check up on them or question what they are doing, the business may be doomed from the start.
Carefully evaluate your business partners. See how they fit the plan and vision and move forward accordingly. Speaking of those that you go into business with…
3. Going Into Business with Friends
What better than coming up with a million-dollar idea and doing so with your best bud, right? Well, friends are not meant to be business partners. A successful business means having the right people to do the job that needs to be done.
Not only that, but failing businesses tend to destroy friendships. So, unless your friend has all the skills and assets needed to run a successful business, it is ideal not to do business with them. It saves your friendship and gives your business a better chance to thrive without that unnecessary burden.
4. Big Egos
This one is more common than we all realize. Sometimes, people get into business thinking that they know everything. The simple fact of the matter is that none of us knows everything and the journey is a constant learning experience.
The “my way or the highway” state of mind tends to alienate others and not work out in the long-term. Being humble, willing to ask for help, and willing to improve are some of the best traits of successful entrepreneurs. Check the ego at the door if you are looking to create a successful, viable business endeavor. Otherwise, you may be standing at the top but will do so alone.
5. Not Knowing the Market
You would be surprised at just how many entrepreneurs go into a business venture without knowing anything about the market they are about to enter. How can you properly market your business if you don’t know anything about the market itself?
Know whether or not your product is viable. Test it out, get feedback, and compare it to competitors on the market. This is imperative as it can save you a ton of time, money, and hassle. If the product is ready, take it to market. If not, you can still tweak it and introduce it later on.
Identifying the market requires time. Don’t rush to bring your product to market out of impatience. By knowing the market, you can know how to properly position the product to be the most successful.
6. Being Too Broad
As much as we would like it, our business is not going to appeal to everyone. There are simply too many people out there to capture the entirety of the market. That’s not even considering the fact that there are other competitors out there who will capture their share of the market.
Don’t be afraid of refining your focus. Work to your strengths and appeal to the section of the market that appreciates the product. You can grow, sure, but you will never capture the entire market. No one has, and no one will because it is simply not possible.
Focusing on your specific niche means refining your message, working on your product, and becoming the best you can be. That is the path to growing and garnering more interest from outside of the niche.
7. Mixing Expenses
Another major mistake that new entrepreneurs make is not separating their personal and business accounts. They make business payments from their personal accounts and vice versa. This is the quickest way to put either yourself or your business in trouble.
Only invest into the venture what you can afford to lose. Make sure that you have a plan to pay your bills while the company gets going. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a ton of debt and could potentially lose everything.
Keep things separate to protect yourself in the event that things don’t work out. Losing the business is bad enough without losing everything else.
8. Thinking Your Idea Is Infallible
Having a great idea, no matter how great, has its limitations. After all, even the best sounding products have failed because of a lack of preparation, not knowing the market, and so on. If you think that you have the best idea and things will simply work out because of it, think again.
Simply put, the idea is only part of the equation. Hard work and proper, strong execution are just as important as the idea itself. Make sure that you build strong processes around that idea and don’t simply expect things to fall into place.
9. Not Having Proper Support
When we hear about successful businesses, we hear about the people in charge. But there are supporting cast members in every business. Have the proper support to ensure that all aspects of the business have the attention that they require.
Maybe you want to be a solopreneur, which is different from an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have the proper support system in place to delegate important tasks of various aspects of the business. Don’t go it alone.
Far too many entrepreneurs have their goals and paths laid out as if they are set in stone. But the business landscape is constantly changing and so too are goals and business paths. By being set in stone, you run the risk of getting stuck in the past.
Be willing to make changes to your business plans. Be ready to make changes to the product and be prepared to pivot where necessary. The best businesses change where they need to change. Inflexibility is the quickest way toward joining the long list of companies that have failed to grow.
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