Launching a new business can be exciting and frightening at the same time. Sure, now that you’re your own boss, no one tells you how long or how hard you need to work. You enjoy more flexibility, control, freedom… you name it. There are thousands of positives that entrepreneurship offers.
However, there are also many challenges. Along with the excitement of working for yourself and having full creative control comes a whole rollercoaster of potential problems and setbacks. Just a handful of these would include issues with customers and suppliers, competition from opposing businesses, and the lack of a fixed (or guaranteed) salary.
But you’re not alone. These are issues every entrepreneur starting a business must face. Below, you’ll find some other common mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Don’t fear failure. The single biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid to fail. Failure is a necessary rite of passage that can predicate your success, and accepting the inevitability of failures here and there is very positive for your future business. How you pick yourself up after a failure, and how well you learn from your mistakes, will make all the difference in whether you come to run a successful business or if you just run it into the ground.
2. Don’t be a know-it-all. Another disastrous mistake that entrepreneurs make is thinking that they know everything (or assuming that they should). They are unreceptive to criticism, suggestion, and change. You may be an expert at what you do, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this automatically means you’re an expert in what it takes to run a business. Even if you are, in fact, an expert at running a business, this doesn’t mean that nobody else can contribute valuable insights and perspectives. Being stubborn and pigheaded will limit you.
3. Don’t drag your feet. Too many first-time business owners don’t make decisions quickly enough. Indecision is a cousin to the fear of failure, and it can cost you valuable opportunities. If you’re too slow to realize an advertising strategy, or a gangrenous partnership is hurting the health of your business, then vacillating on your plan of action until hesitancy makes a default decision for you could possibly derail your entire business. You have to stay on top of things and take charge if you want your business to thrive.
4. Don’t neglect your marketing budget. One of the biggest business blunders, whether you’re launching a new startup or already operating a well-established endeavor, is to spend so much money on product development that you leave yourself little to no money for marketing and advertising. That makes it virtually impossible to generate customers. It doesn’t matter how high quality your product is; if no one knows it exists, then nobody will buy the thing. It’s as simple as that.
5. Don’t let negativity get you down. Although it’s helpful (vital, even) to listen to genuine feedback, it’s counterproductive to listen to the haters. The pessimists. The trolls. Some people derive a sick pleasure from being destructive and discouraging. You’ll come across these wet blankets at some point in your journey. It happens to everyone to one degree or another, so don’t let it get you down. As a matter of fact, take their attention as a compliment, because when a product is especially creative and innovative, it will often attract the attention of those folks who love to say you’ll never make it. Forget them. You’re the one with the passion for what you’ve created. Run with it, and never stop running.