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Learn from the mistakes of others and drive your business forward

Starting a business is no simple task. No matter how “basic” you think your idea is, there’s always the chance of it backfiring, of having something go wrong or even just a small planning consideration that doesn’t go your way. With so many things on your mind, it can get confusing and overwhelming trying to keep things under control.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 10 common mistakes that all people make at least once when starting a small business. Don’t let the term“small business” fool you here–there are plenty of little things that you may not have accounted for!

1. Not having enough capital

For the uninitiated or absolute beginner, capital is also known as “money”. Without money, you can’t get anywhere in business even if you have a loyal fanbase somehow. You need to have enough money from different sources in order to sustain a business and it’s not just about getting money from your audience. You need to think about shareholders, business partners or even taking out loans in the name of your company so that you can get enough money to make your ideas become a reality. Of course, every company has different uses for capital and there are some ideas which are far more capital-intensive than others.

2. Forgetting that failure exists

Far too many people enter their respective industries with nothing but starry-eyed expectations and completely forget that you can fail. The fact is that many startups and small businesses fail within the first couple of months. They’re unable to captivate an audience and they don’t have a way to remain relevant in the industry without pouring in more money and wasting their time and effort. Just remember that no matter how “solid” you think your idea is, you need to admit defeat in order to save your reputation and also money. Don’t pour all of your hard work and effort into an idea that is doomed to fail–cut our losses and work on reiterating your ideas and start fresh from the beginning.

3. Failing to separate industry and market

Another common failure point is being unable to separate what it means to be a part of the industry and a part of the market. Most people know about their industry. They research it, they keep up with the latest developments, trends and so on. However, what they fail at is translating that knowledge into market knowledge. The market changes constantly and trends can come and go. It’s important to understand the market and how it relates to the industry instead of assuming that they’re both the same thing. Something that is healthy for the market may not necessarily be an industry-revolutionizing change, and likewise, something that is good for the industry might not make a dent in the market for years to come.

4. Trying to do it all yourself

Yes, you’re an entrepreneur and yes, success largely depends on you. However, it’s still a good idea to think about how you can receive help from others. Two of the most underestimated forms of support are morale and emotional support. Whether its friends and family members giving you a pat on the back or your fans giving you supportive messages, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone when it comes to starting up your own business. In addition, outsourcing is another way to rely on other people for help. If there are certain one-time tasks that you can’t complete (such as design-related tasks) then it’s a good idea to look for help by hiring freelancers and outsourcing companies to assist you.

5. Treating everyone as your friend

Let’s be honest; it would be great if you were friendly with everyone that you work with, but the reality is that friendly relationships contradict professional ones. The moment you hold yourself back from criticizing someone because you don’t want to hurt their feelings is the moment you lose sight of your goals. In addition, if you pour too much time and effort into making someone comfortable at your workplace then there’s a good chance they’re simply not worth the effort. Stop treating everyone as your friend or else it’ll lead you to make poor decisions that negatively impact your business.

6. Getting ahead of yourself

Let’s say that you’re making a decent amount of profit thanks to your ideas. You’re growing your business, getting a lot of customers and you’re being forced to ramp up your production to meet demand. The most rash and risky thing you can do here is to invest all of your capital into big new office, a faster manufacturing process and bonuses for your employees. The fact is; just because you’re seeing success now, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience continued success. Give it more time, do your homework and try to analyze every little detail to ensure that you’re able to sustain your growth.

7. Failing to change

Every business has to adapt at some stage. Whether it’s changing the products you offer, your approach to social media or even the way you react to market trends, you need to be fluid in your workflow in order to meet the demands of your audience. Stop trying to force the market by exerting your brand’s popularity. Instead, go with the flow and always try to appeal to your customers no matter how much you need to change your business or your ideas.

8. Ignoring the legal side of things

Businesses have to abide by the law. Whether it’s your products that are eerily similar to a competitor’s or if one of your employees is threatening to sue you for something, always get the right legal representation to help you out. It’s going to be expensive to keep up with the legal side of things, but it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run by defending you against the threat of legal action. The last thing you want is for someone to sue you when you have no legal defence, so start looking for the right lawyers and legal teams to help you when you’re in need of it.

9. Forgetting digital

Everyone knows that digital solutions are generally more efficient and cost-effective than traditional ones. For instance, using cloud accounting software as a small business is far more effective than hiring an accountant for a couple of hours each week. This is a tip for any company that is new to their respective industries. As you grow your company, you’ll find that digital solutions are a huge boon to your business. Be it social media, a website or even an online web store, find ways to take advantage of the digital revolution so that your business has a higher chance of succeeding.

10. Failing to commit

Businesses need you to commit. If you’re starting a business as a side-hustle and only give it attention for an hour each day, then you’re not going to succeed. If you’re going to start a business and have plans for it to become a huge deal, then you need to invest the time, money and effort. The challenges, problems and risks you encounter need to be dealt with swiftly, and you can only learn to do that by putting in the hours required for your business to grow. Don’t take your business lightly no matter how simple it might seem to run. Commit yourself to the business you want to grow instead of treating it like a side-hustle.


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