Starting a business can be confusing and overwhelming. In trying to find your way, it’s easy to make a ton of mistakes.
Rather than try to do it all on your own, learn from others that have gone before you. By knowing the mistakes they’ve made and how to avoid them, you will increase your chances of success.
Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when starting a business:
1. Not doing your research
Early on, when starting a business, I had the nasty habit of wanting to dive in before I had researched anything. I thought I needed to hurry and get started or someone else would swoop in and steal my idea.
I would get dollar signs in my eyes and go all-in building a website or buying stuff. Unfortunately, I never paused long enough to research or plan and wasted a ton of time and money.
Unless research is a part of your makeup, it’s not always the first thing you think of. It can be boring and tedious so you rush through or skip it all together. In truth, starting a business without researching your idea is a very bad idea.
When you look at successful entrepreneurs you will find one thing they all have in common. They do their homework.
Top entrepreneurs know their market, industry, and ideal clients backwards and forwards. Not because they are smarter than you, but because they did an extraordinary amount of research.
Research increases your chances of success.
It’s kind of like trying to build a house without any knowledge of construction methods. Of course, you can buy a bunch of lumber and figure it out as you go, I mean, you’ve seen HGTV before, right? Just think of all the mistakes you’d make and how much it would set you back.
The alternative is to learn about construction methods, codes, and the tools of the trade. You would have a much higher chance of successfully building a house. Is it guaranteed you’d complete the house or it would be perfect? No. Would you at least have a much better chance than the guy jumping in with no previous experience or research? Absolutely.
2. Buying everything you think you need before you even know if there’s a market for your idea
I have a friend that has tried to start more businesses than I can count. The problem wasn’t that she tried a ton of businesses. The problem was that she always jumped in and bought a ton of equipment before she knew how to make money from her idea.
Getting all the cool tools and supplies was the fun part, so she always started with that. She never took the time to develop her idea completely.
When the not-so-fun part of business came up she realized she didn’t want to do it anymore. Sadly, she quit each business before it got off the ground. She spent a fortune, then never made a dime.
It’s easy to think you need to get all your supplies now so you can get started. But, you need to make sure you have a solid idea and a plan before you invest in a ton of supplies. Even after you have a plan, don’t overspend. Often, you can get by with far less than you think. You can always buy more once you begin to make money.
Take your time, do your research, set-up your company right…then buy your supplies.
3. Trying to do it all at once (a.k.a. – no focus)
Does this sound at all familiar? You have an idea for starting a business and you are dying to get started. So you read as many books as you can get your hands on, you listen to every podcast, and read all the blogs. You begin building a website, you learn about landing pages, SEO, how to create the perfect webinar…and…and….
Not only are you trying to absorb as much as possible, as fast as possible, but you are also trying to get it all started at the same time!
Unfortunately, the result is your attention splitting in too many directions. You have too many plates in the air and are going to drop some. By choosing this way forward you will be a jack of all trades, but master of none.
It’s far better to focus on one thing at a time and do it to the best of your ability.
I know, you worry that if you take too long getting started someone else will swoop in and steal your idea. I promise your business idea won’t go away while you focus. Other people might start similar businesses but they are not you. And, truth be told, they may start it whether you do anything with yours or not, so don’t worry about them.
4. Thinking you are going to get rich quick
It is all too easy to look at the millionaires in your industry and think you can have that kind of success right away. You see successful entrepreneurs making a million dollars on a single product launch. It seems so simple you think you can replicate their results your first time out. I know how this feels; I’ve felt that way over and over.
Here’s the thing, their millions earned on a single product only came after years of building an audience. Those kinds of sales aren’t possible with a simple Google Adwords ad or a special landing page alone.
These results are only possible with a large audience of raving fans that have a relationship with the entrepreneur.
Before you can sell anything, you need an audience. Building one and gaining their trust takes time. You need to plan time for your business to grow. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is going to be easy or quick.
5. Giving up
I mentioned my friend above who tried to start a ton of businesses but never got them off the ground. One of her business ideas was actually perfect for her. She had the right personality for it, actual training, and a list of potential participants. The business also had high income potential and it was in a popular industry.
But, when she began looking into costs for insurance and advertising she thought it would be too much so she gave up.
WHAT?!? The best business idea she had in years and she quit because of one obstacle? Did she look into investors? Or a loan? Or a pre-sale to interested participants to raise money? Nope, she just gave up.
She gave up on all her ideas. She was forever claiming they were too expensive or too hard. In truth, she was afraid to take that leap into independence. She has always wanted her own business, but continually found excuses to give up.
The real secret to starting a business isn’t some fancy degree, a lot of experience, or a ton of investment capital. It’s hard work, long hours, and taking action. It is NOT giving up.