Lay a Firm Foundation for Your New Business By Avoiding These 10 Mistakes
Few things are more exciting than startingyour first business. You’ve had an idea and a vision for a while now, andyou’re about to make them a reality.
However, there’s much more to starting acompany than making a free website and designing a few branded coffee mugs. It takes ruthless determination and intelligent choices to launch a business, andeven harder work to keep it running smoothly.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t make it through the first years. And most of the time, it’s not because they have a bad business idea but that they simply didn’t do the necessary planning, preparation, and execution. Below, minimalist phone has listed 10 mistakes to avoid when starting your first company!
1. Thinking Like a Failure
You don’t want to start your business with alack of confidence. Sure, there is a chance you will not succeed with this venture, but don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from trying.
It’s also important that you don’t let yourself be afraid to fail when it comes to making decisions, even if you decide to launch your company. Such fear can lead to poor decision-making and avoiding confrontations that are needed to move things in the right direction.
Also, remember that failure can teach you valuable lessons that you will never forget. And it will help you appreciate the times that you succeed in the future.
2. Not Researching Your Idea
You could have the most unique business idea ever. But if there is not a market—or a chance of creating a market—for your idea, then it’s not going to go very far. It can be heartbreaking to spend so much of your time, energy, and money in a company that never really had an opportunity to flourish.
Research the market to confirm that your product or service can meet a consumer need, and test your products or service before launching. This will give you an idea of whether or not people would be willing to buy from your business.
3. Failing to Define Your Target Audience
Your market research will be much more productive if you have a clearly defined customer profile. Think about what types of people you are most concerned about selling your product or service to, and make that the target audience at the center of all your marketing efforts. If you don’t know who you are selling to, it will be virtually impossible to brand your business effectively and promote your products or services.
4. Not Writing a Business Plan
Many entrepreneurs see writing a business plan as tedious and unnecessary. But if you will need to raise any capital for your startup, you must have a thorough business plan in place that you can show investors and institutions.
Even if you plan on covering startup costs yourself, a business plan will help you make crucial decisions and envision what you want your company to accomplish over the coming months and years. Making a businessplan demands a lot of time and research, but it will save you ample time and money down the road.
5. Working Unproductively
If you are launching a business, chances are you are a self-starter who is not afraid of hard work. But that does not automatically make you productive.
To work productively, you must have strategies in place that enable you to get the most done with the time you have and maintain a high quality of work. From laying the groundwork to launching to running your company, it’s critical to prioritize productivity.
Fortunately, there are tons of tools on the market to help you boost productivity and efficiency (e.g., time trackers, project management apps, task automation software, etc.). But you will also need to establish a work schedule and find daily routines that help you recharge and keep your energy levels up.
Productivity is all about structure. You would do well to figure out what works for you early in the process!
6. Investing Too Little in Your Site
Whatever type of company you are starting, youwill need a professional-grade website that serves as the marketing hub foryour brand. Sure, you could use a free website builder to create a site in twohours. You might even produce a decent-looking site by going this route. However, it will probably look like countless other sites on the web instead of distinguishing your brand from others.
If you don’t have any web design experience, consider hiring a professional to handle it for you. Or use a top-notch website builder and dedicate the necessary time to creating a beautiful,detail-oriented site. Choose a good hosting company and domain, and make sureyour site is easy to use, fast-loading, and optimized for mobile devices. Furthermore, consider posting regular industry-related content on your site’s blog.
Another way to get the most from your website(and mobile app, if you are developing one) is to ensure it will accept customer payments. Along with choosing a reputable payment processor, add a bank account number verification API so that you will know that allreceived and processed payments are secure. An API will also verify bank account and routing numbers, ensuring your company gets its money and that your customers don’t overdraft! This type of product will seamlessly integrate with any ACH processor.
7. Not Understanding What You’re Selling
You must look past the actual product orservice you are offering to find your unique selling proposition (USP). Forexample, if you are selling t-shirts and jackets from your website, you mightconsider your USP to be attractiveness and confidence. Think about how yourcustomers will feel and what they will get from using your product or service,and focus on that in your marketing strategies.
8. Starting With Too Little Capital
The large majority of companies do not bring in a significant profit during the first few years of operations. And you and your family will need to be able to make a living as you build your business, meaning you must ensure you have enough startup capital before launching.
Too many entrepreneurs neglect to pay themselves in hopes that it will help their businesses grow more quickly. But if you are not able to live, you’re not going to be able to run a company.
9. Spending Too Little on Marketing
There are many ways to market a business on abudget; social media alone provides opportunities for free promotions andbuilding an online presence. But in most cases, that is not enough.
Don’t underestimate the importance ofmarketing because no matter how great your product or service is, if no oneknows about it, you won’t sell much. Take time to create a thorough marketingplan and establish marketing campaigns, and think about hiring professionalsalong the way who can save you time and increase your chances of success.
10.Going At It Alone
Even if you have some serious business chopsand incredible drive, you will not be able to do everything yourself forever.Eventually, you’ll become overwhelmed and burned out if you begin experiencingthe growth you hope for.
Figure out which tasks you are best at, andstart making a plan for hiring out all the rest. For instance, if responding toemails and phone calls or invoicing customers is keeping you from developingyour next product or marketing campaign, you could bring on a freelance virtualassistant to handle the menial duties.
Stay aware of the responsibilities taking uptoo much of your time, and find professionals to handle them. While it requiresan upfront investment, it can save you a lot of time, keep you more productive,and ultimately help you reach your business goals.
If you are ready to get your company up andrunning, be sure to look out for these ten pitfalls. You are not going tonavigate all of your challenges and successes perfectly, but being aware of themistakes that many entrepreneurs before have made can help you lay a firmfoundation for a strong start and steady growth. Most importantly, remindyourself daily of why you started a company, and work with confidence at eachstep.
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