Some decisions are life-changing. The decision to start a business is one of those decisions.
It’s exciting and liberating and terrifying all at once.
And if you’re currently at that point, or you’ve been there before, you’ll probably agree with me that trying to figure out all the right steps to take can be pretty overwhelming at times. And there’s a lot of pressure! Pressure to do things right; pressure to become successful; pressure to achieve your dreams; the list goes on.
Yup. I know all about those feelings!
I also know that one of the main causes of all this overwhelm and pressure is the fear of failure.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: the cautionary tale of how most new business fail within the first year. And it’s true.
A huge number of businesses do fail and there isn’t a surefire way to absolutely guarantee success.
But you know something else?
There is a lot you can do to reduce your chances of failure.
And it starts with stepping off the roller-coaster ride that is entrepreneurship and identifying what factors contribute to the majority of business failures.
Sure, some things are totally out of a business owner’s control, but others…well others are things that could have been controlled, managed or curtailed but weren’t. Yes, mistakes happen. Some are inevitable no matter how careful you are. But a lot of the mistakes that lead to business failure can actually be avoided.
Here are 5 critical mistakes that are absolutely avoidable when you’re starting a new business:
Mistake #1: Not having a clear business idea
Everything starts here. Being able to explain clearly and succinctly what your business will do is the first step to being able to create a strategic plan and vision for your business. Without a concrete idea, it’s going to be pretty much impossible to get anyone else on board with your startup goal. If you don’t know exactly what your business will do, nobody else will either. Once you have a specific idea, you can test its viability and then get to work marketing it.
Mistake #2: Not doing any research
Having an awesome business idea is great but it’s only going to get you to the starting line. Don’t get wrapped up in the excitement and dive in head-first without doing your homework. This means identifying:
- Identifying what you need to do and learn to actually start and run your business. For example: Do you need funding? Are there any licensing requirements? How will you promote your business? How and where are you going to make your product? Where will you get your supplies? Do you need to learn any new skills?
- Researching your market and industry. For example: Who is your target market? Who are your competitors? Is there a demand for your product or service? What is unique about your offering?
Mistake #3: Doing too much research
As much as it’s vital to do your research and educate yourself on being a business owner, make sure you don’t get stuck in that phase. You need to take action. And that means accepting that things aren’t going to be perfect, you’re never going to “know everything,” and you’re going to make mistakes.
Mistake #4: Not creating a proper business plan
A business plan is basically a document that describes the vision you have for your business. It shows you where your business is now, where you’d like it to be a particular time in the future, and how you’re going to get it there. It helps you map out realistic goals and expectations, ensure the viability of your business idea, prepare your business for challenges and competition, stay focused and on task, and formulate effective marketing strategies. Your business plan really doesn’t need to be boring or complicated. It simply needs to be specific and strategic.
Mistake #5: Spending too much time and money on a fancy website and logo
Yes, having a professional well laid out website is important for pretty much all businesses these days. But that doesn’t mean you have to invest in a $3,000 customized design right off the bat. It also doesn’t mean you need to spend 3 months tinkering on your DIY site and delaying your business launch until your site is “perfect.” The same goes for your logo. Time and money are precious resources. Set yourself a budget and a deadline to get your logo done and your site online so that you free up more time, energy and funds for other important business needs, like marketing, networking, product creation and testing, etc.
Interested in starting your own business? Join the Rock Your Blog & Biz Powwows for free coaching and support. 🙂
Now, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about avoiding the mistakes outlined above.