Common Business Startup Mistakes to Avoid
A lot goes into starting a business and whether this is your first entrepreneurial effort or opening the doors to a new company is old hat, there’s always something more you can learn in order to streamline the process and reach your goals faster. While providing a fantastic product or service that is in high demand with consumers will help a lot, the simple mistakes you make in the beginning could derail you before you really get started. So here are just a few of the most common missteps that business owners make when they’re first setting up shop and what you can do to avoid them in your own professional endeavors. These are the kinds of tips they may or may not teach you in a business degree online, so listen up.
- High overhead. This is a killer. Since you’re probably up to your eyeballs in debt with a business loan and the associated costs of starting your operation, having an overhead that you can’t afford could quite simply sink you. While it’s certainly important to secure a prime locations (see number two), it won’t do you any good if the lease is way out of your price range and putting you further in the red with each passing day. And you need to think about how many employees you really need and take the time to assess your relationships with vendors (are they overcharging you because you’re green or because you didn’t bother to comparison shop?). The point is, you need to negotiate for sustainable costs on every front in order to give your business time to succeed.
- Wrong location. A smart business person has a target demographic in mind for the products or services they offer, generally including age range, economic status, and possibly even a specific geographic location. But even aside from that, you’re going to be the new kid on the block, which means you have to go where the people are. A busy intersection with a lot of foot traffic, easy access, and plenty of parking is a must because early on you’ll need all the help you can get just to let customers know you’re there. The wrong location could mean you run out of capital before you build up a clientele.
- Branching out too early. Google is a successful internet company because they became the best at the one thing they offered (their search engine) before they branched out. Although they have a lot of irons in the fire now (mobile OS, social networking, and more) they didn’t start that way and you should take a page from their playbook. Become the best at one thing first, and then find ways to expand (rather than overextending too early).
- Failure to promote. Putting money back into your business is a given, and your first task is to advertise. You can spend a lot or a little with a variety of marketing techniques, but if you aren’t reaching new customers every day and convincing them to visit your store and give you their money, you’re just not going to make it.
- Ignoring the importance of branding. Everything from your business sign to your product line to the way your employees greet customers gives the public an impression about what kind of company you are. If you fail to take into account what the disparate elements of branding can do (or undo) for your business, you’re making a major blunder that will doubtless end with you wondering what went wrong.
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.
- Tips for writing a business plan (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
- Managing cash flow – a guide for small business (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
- Three Mistakes That Can Sink Your Small Business (bayintegratedmarketing.wordpress.com)
- Choosing Your Business Idea – Market Research and Your Business Plan (customerthink.com)
- 10 Rules For Picking a Company Name That Sticks (startupprofessionals.com)