When you have that creative idea for a new business, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the chaos and details of launching. In the middle of all the excitement, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of doing too much too quickly, missing critical steps along the way. Learn from the mistakes of others — slow down, map out your journey, and avoid making the following common mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Failing to Set Attainable Goals
Entrepreneurs often become so enraptured in the “big idea” of their business that they begin working without a solid plan in place. To succeed, you must set attainable, realistic goals. When setting goals, make sure they’re SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. SMART goals help fuel success by breaking down the things you need to meet a goal into smaller steps. A clear sense of what you want to accomplish and a defined path to getting there is critical for the success of your new business.
Mistake #2 – Forgoing a Business Plan
To transform your creative idea into reality, you first must take your ideas and convert them into business and action plans that can be executed. A business plan gives you the ability to think through various scenarios to ensure your business idea is achievable. Successful business plans clearly state where you’re going and how you’ll get there, and the process of creating the plan gives you the chance to identify strategies you can use, discover new opportunities, and craft an action plan for success.
Mistake #3 – Avoiding Marketing
You’ve heard the old line, “If you build it, they will come.” It’s not true! No product is so revolutionary that you can get away with word of mouth and free PR. Failure to get the word out about your new startup can mean the failure of your business. Today, it’s not enough to create a Facebook page and hope for the best — you must optimize your website for the search engines, actively engage on social media, ensure your online presence is listed accurately, and develop a marketing plan that helps you compete and differentiate yourself in your market. Learn more about marketing your new business and enjoy helpful marketing resources by visiting the IAW Blog.
Mistake #4 – Doing It Alone
Your new business may feel like your own creative newborn baby, and it’s tough to trust someone else with your ‘baby.’ This often leads entrepreneurs to try to do everything on their own. The problem with doing it alone is that some things just don’t get done, no matter how much hustle you have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make hires if necessary. If you have a strong business plan, having extra manpower will help you launch with less stress than if you tried to do it alone. Figure out where you’re best suited and then build a team to handle other areas. Just make sure you’re able to afford extra manpower and that your ROI will be worth it.
Mistake #5 – Putting Product Before People
Just because you think your idea is fantastic doesn’t mean that your key market will agree. While you’re passionate about your product, putting your product before people won’t help your business succeed. Learn to love your prospective clients and put people first. Get to know your prospective clients’ hopes, fears, desires, and problems. Ask potential customers what they want, get their input, and be willing to take constructive criticism.
Mistake #6 – Failing to Keep Learning and Growing
The world of business continues to evolve, and you’ll always find new tools, techniques, and strategies. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who continue to learn and grow. Growing a business means that you must evolve along with it. When you start a new business, it’s easy to become so overwhelmed with everything you must do that you give up your ‘student’ mentality for the ‘boss’ mentality. One of the best things you can do to ensure success is to realize that you don’t know everything and that learning is the key to growth — both for you and your business.
Mistakes are an inevitable part of becoming an entrepreneur. However, this doesn’t mean that you must repeat the mistakes of others. Learn lessons from the mistakes made by other entrepreneurs, slow down just a bit, and take the time to plan out your road to success.
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