Getting Started

Common Mistakes New Business Owners Make

A comprehensive article to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that new business owners and entrepreneurs make when starting out.

Starting a new business isn't easy. While you may be motivated and eager to see your ideas come to life, you may also be anxious and fearful of the unknown. You'll have days when you know you can't do anything else and days when you wish you could. You'll feel on top of the world at times, but it'll be hard to get out of bed at others.

Preparing for potential risks along the way will help you relax and avoid some of the common mistakes that new business owners and entrepreneurs make when starting out. Only one thing is guaranteed in the high-stakes world of launching a new business: everyone will make errors, but only those who learn from them will succeed. 

So what are some common mistakes new business owners make? 

  1. Not having a plan 

A common blunder made by new businesses is failing to have a clear company strategy because if you don't know what you need to do to succeed, you won't succeed. You must be able to answer these questions while beginning a new business.

  • What are your major priorities?
  • What are your plans for bringing in new business?
  • What criteria will you use to determine success?

If you want to start a firm, you need to set up strong business processes and goals right off the bat. If you don't lay strong foundations for your firm, you'll have a hard time scaling it up to something bigger. 

  1. Not knowing your market or target audience 

Taking the time to understand the market or clients for whom you're building is a common startup mistake. Talking to customers is an essential part of market research because there's no way to know if you're on the right track unless you're obtaining feedback from current or potential customers. 

It's critical to understand that creating a great product does not always equate to a successful business. Many businesses find themselves concentrating on a market that is simply too tiny or too over-saturated to support a new enterprise.

  1. Not covering your legal bases 

Make sure your legal structure and business registration are in order. One of the most common mistakes new business owners make is failing to register their firm, choosing the wrong business entity, and failing to safeguard their intellectual property. These three areas are critical for a business to get off to a good start, and if not done correctly, can cost time and money to fix.  

  1. Taking your marketing and branding strategy for granted 

A good marketing and branding plan is often overlooked by new business owners and entrepreneurs. The majority of businesses do not budget for marketing. Their concept may be brilliant, and their products may be beneficial, but no one is aware of them. 

Marketing has evolved in recent years and now necessitates a budget to propel organizations to new heights and reach the correct audiences. There's a lot of competition out there, and you need to stand out in order for customers to pick your product or service above that of your competitors. People buy from people they can trust. Because there are so many options to sell on social media, business owners must invest in narrowing their target market so that their customers can find them.  

  1.  Neglecting your brand

Another common blunder made by new business owners is believing that their product is the be-all and end-all of their operation. You should give your company's brand a lot of thought because it's what creates an emotional bond with your customers and keeps them loyal to you. 

When you first start, you should think about the following things:

  • What will people think about your company?
  • What are your core principles?
  • What do you believe in?
  • Why should customers pick you? 

This is a critical phase, and it's well worth enlisting the help of a professional if you can.

  1. Inadequate people-management skills

For a startup, the team is the most critical component. One bad hire might spell disaster. 

Entrepreneurs often lack people management skills. Early on, they can typically get away with it, but once companies reach the scaling stage, many entrepreneurs are unprepared to handle expansion in a sustainable manner. By far, the most common error a company may make is recruiting staff too quickly, such as hiring full-timers when a part-timer would be more appropriate or hiring an employee when a subcontractor could have performed the same job/function. 

First and foremost, hire for ability, intelligence, and tenacity. Part-timers, subcontractors, and the services of other specialists make it relatively simple to run a small business. When a company is trying to ramp up quickly, it's easy to fall into the trap of recruiting people who are "good enough," but this can be fatal. If you do make a mistake, rectify it as soon as possible. Make sure you have someone on your team who has experience in organizational design, culture, engagement, and basic HR duties if you don't.     

  1. Failing to stick to a budget

A common stumbling block for young business owners and entrepreneurs is running out of cash. It is impossible to overstate the necessity of having a very tight and firm budget. But, more importantly, what good is a strong budget if it isn't followed? 

This is the secret to long-term success when beginning a business: budget and budget properly, then stick to it.

  1. Not planning for unexpected taxes

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) modifies the tax rules, often unexpectedly. It's usually around the end of the year that these adjustments are made known, and your CPA will inform you. 

But don’t wait till the end of the year. Once a quarter, meet with your CPA to discuss any changes that may affect you.

  1. Not seeking financial assistance in a time

Many new business owners are unaware that successful enterprises frequently require more funding to expand. Failure to prepare ahead financially might result in an unanticipated cash flow problem, and businesses that require additional funding on short notice are unable to negotiate favorable terms.

So, have you considered what you'll do if you need additional funding to expand your firm or get it through a bad patch?

There are numerous finance options available to firms these days. Alternative financing methods such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and business cash flow are supplementing well-established financing choices such as a bank loan or overdraft, as well as invoice finance.

Each solution has advantages and disadvantages, so doing some research will help you make the best decision. You will be in a better position to locate the best answer if you are aware of your possibilities and contact potential providers of business finance early on.


So how can you avoid these common mistakes new business owners make?

1. Don't undervalue the need for capital

Most entrepreneurs believe they can accomplish more with less. They overlook the need to account for unknowns, obstacles, or delays along the route to limit equity dilution. Leaders of startups are prone to planning for the best-case scenario, yet this nearly never occurs. This mindset can be ascribed to leaders' optimism. When it comes to capital, though, optimism has its place; it frequently leads to needing to return to the funds for a less-than-ideal increase.

2. Don't undervalue your product or service

If you're good, charge accordingly. Many businesses begin with the best of intentions, giving out free goods or services in the name of charity, community, or notoriety. It can be tempting to drop your pricing in order to undercut your competitors and keep the business coming in during the early, or challenging, days.

Avoid this! You'll undercut your business offering and fall into the trap of declining returns, meaning you won't be able to maintain your company afloat. Conduct market research to determine what you should charge and how it compares to the competition. You don't want to be known as a source of freebies, so proceed with caution.


3. Set up a proper bookkeeping system

Many company owners don't have a bookkeeping system in place when they start out. Great bookkeeping habits enable you to make better company decisions, identify opportunities early on, and prevent problems from becoming overwhelming. Understanding your finances allows you to keep tabs on the financial health of your company. Good bookkeeping methods also help you stay on top of matters like tax and insurance payments, which can put otherwise successful enterprises in jeopardy. 

4. Customer satisfaction and interaction 

Your product should be well-liked by your clients. If not, you will lose out on repeat customers and eventually, new customers. It's up to you to figure out what needs to change. Only by truly listening to and responding to their needs will you be able to accomplish this. Make sure you're in touch with your customers regularly.  

5. Delegate 

Entrepreneurs frequently make the mistake of believing they are alone and attempting to function without the assistance of competent counsel. Don't try to start a new company on your own. Find and hire seasoned advisors who can help you with your business ideas, strategy, difficulties, and growth. 

Passion is a powerful motivator, but it can also be your undoing. The constant hustle and long hours might lead to burnout or ruin personal relationships in new business owners. Set specific, attainable goals that you can achieve at a reasonable pace instead. Include leisure and family time in your schedule. Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint.

The abundance of advice contains both wisdom and power. Encourage four to six people to join your company as advisers so that you may get regular input and make fewer mistakes. 

6. Don't launch too soon

One of the most common blunders made by businesses is launching before they are ready. The adage "done is better than perfect" is correct; but, the "done" must be capable of handling new clients. 

Once you've gone public and started collecting clients, make sure your systems and processes, such as payment terms and processes, contracts, and communications, are in place while still allowing you to stick to your marketing strategy. Before you start taking on clients, you need to make sure your back-end processes are in order; if they aren't, the cracks will emerge and you'll appear unprofessional.

7. Don’t expand too quickly 

It's tempting to believe that if you're having success, you'll keep growing, and the easiest approach to capitalize on that is to simply copy and paste your winning recipe. However, if you grow your firm too quickly, it might be disastrous. You might discover that your moment of expansion was just transitory, and you're left with a bunch of new employees but no job and no money to pay them. 

That's why it's crucial to expand slowly and steadily, rather than acting on temporary positive results.  

8.  Establish clear goals

It's critical to set expectations. Be clear about the outcomes you want. Clarity brings concentration; knowing what "correct" and "done" mean keeps you and your team going forward. 

If you, as a business owner or leader, aren't clear, how will your team be? If you're clear but don't tell your team, the wheels start to fall off, and you're left wondering what went wrong. 

Keeping the above in mind will help you cover most of your bases and avoid the common mistakes new business owners make. A successful business is not formed by a single person; surround yourself with subject-matter experts and mentors from whom you can learn and rely on. Although there are various startup mistakes to avoid while growing your firm, keep in mind that mistakes are unavoidable, so set realistic expectations.

Instead of being terrified of failing, learn from your mistakes and adjust your company strategy as needed. Test new ideas and get feedback so you can improve your product to better suit the demands of your customers. 

Now that you are aware of mistakes you need to avoid as a new business owner, connect with the right solution providers to make business planning a lot easier. Consider platforms like Hoist, especially if you would like to explore the possibilities of starting a small painting business, and Hoist can help you start, run, and grow your business, hassle-free!

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