10 Common Startup Pitfalls And How to Avoid Them

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You've got the idea to top all ideas, you have the drive, determination and ambition required to succeed; and you're about to hit the big time with your startup!

Sure, you've heard the stats about most startups failing within the first 12 months, but you're different...there's no way you can fail, right?

Well, I hope you're right, and of course, I wish you every success with your venture, but without putting a negative spin on things, every entrepreneur before you has had the same positive attitude. And unfortunately, not all of them were successful.  

But fear not!

While every day in the life of a startup owner is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop; there are a few common pitfalls that many entrepreneurs fall into which can be hard to recover from. I'm here today to give you the benefit of experience and make sure your business doesn't fall victim to an easily avoidable mistake which will see your business teetering on the edge of failure before it’s had time to get started.   

Here are the ten common startup pitfalls, and how you can avoid them to make your business the success it deserves to be.

1) Lack of preparation.

These days, positive energy and an unwavering drive can move mountains!

With the right attitude and an innovative thought process, there's little that you can't achieve if you're committed and determined to reach your goal.

That being said, to achieve success, a certain amount of business acumen is a must. Unfortunately, it's all too common to overlook this fact with many up-and-coming moguls relying on their gut and the benefit of the experience of those around them.

How to avoid:

While there's no replacement for experience, if you're fresh to the world of business, consider some study to get some technical knowledge of what is required of you to run a successful business.

While you might not learn everything you need to in one course, this will give you a better understanding of what you do and don't know and at least create some awareness of where your weaknesses may lie.

2) Lack of support.

When you start a business, there's no question that in the early days you have to give it your all! You must show commitment and dedication which will include late nights, lack of cash flow and without a doubt, lots of the dreaded S-word…stress. You need the support of those around you to get through this testing time, as without this, your failure is inevitable.

How to avoid:

Prepare everyone around you for the fact that your primary focus is your startup and this will stand you in good stead. If your friends and family don't understand that right now, you need to give your venture your all; carefully explain your end goal and what you're working towards. Giving friends and loved ones a bigger-picture understanding will undoubtedly help them to help you.

3) Trying to wear too many hats.

In the early days of any business it's logical that you want to, or have no choice but to, do everything yourself. The mixed bag of social media, accounts, sales, marketing and supply all fall on your shoulders.

While this might seem economical for new business cash flow, it's a false positive, and you end up spending all your time on things that an expert can do in half the time.

How to avoid:

Hire a freelance expert who will help you get the job done efficiently and economically which will free you up to focus on running and growing your business. You won't incur any ongoing costs, so you always know where you stand financially, plus you will receive an expert service which will give your business what it needs to succeed.

4) Trying to grow too quickly.

It takes time to establish a new business, and while you might have grand plans of giving Richard Branson a run for his money within six months of becoming a new business owner, (your optimism is to be admired by the way!), this isn't always practical.

The old adage ‘Rome wasn't built in a day' is extremely relevant in this instance. Building a brand, a good reputation, and customer loyalty (all crucial ingredients in a successful business), doesn't happen overnight.

How to avoid:

Here's where a good business plan will come into action. A business plan is a document which, in its simplest form, contains what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. Milestones, budget and strategy, are all included to keep you and your business on track.

If you don't have a marketing or business background, use the experience of a freelance business adviser who will go through your financial situation, your expectations, and help you devise a plan which will connect them both to the road to your success. It's essential that you reach short-term milestones before you can start kicking the long-term goals and a sound business plan will help you set realistic goals.

5) Spending money on the wrong things.

When you're in the first 12 months of business, and it seems to be running smoothly, it can be tempting to update your website, hire an assistant, and get a new company car! You're now spending money on things that aren't necessary and making a dent in valuable cash flow reserves in the process.

How to avoid:

Before you have a sustainable business income and you're well established and have a regular, guaranteed income (as much as it ever can be); you must be savvy with your spending. An accountant can tell you exactly where you should spend every cent in the first 12 months of your new business so if this isn't your area of expertise; you must make sure you have someone in charge of your accounts.  

6) Not being able to admit when you're wrong.

A successful startup is built on a solid product and sound knowledge of the business world but the first 12 months in business also involve a lot of testing and trial and error. It takes a strong personality to admit when you're wrong, and stubbornness is a common pitfall and one which can cause problems

How to avoid:

Learn to see things that don't work as an opportunity to improve and find better ways to do things in future.  Being able to admit when you're wrong is a critical part of growth in both personality and as an entrepreneur, and building upon your shortfalls is a much more productive use of your energy.

7) Being too controlling.

When you give birth to your business baby, you're a mother or father to a newborn. You know best, you know your business better than anyone, and there's no way anyone else can do as good a job as you do. This attitude, while understandable, will inevitably lead to your demise.

How to avoid:

As you grow, you'll become busier and more in-demand.  So that you and your business can grow further, you must give responsibility to others who can help you do that. You're just one person with the capacity to do the work of one, and there is a limit to what you can achieve unless you learn to relinquish control. Surround yourself with people who understand you and your business, and can help you achieve higher than you ever thought possible. Make sure you document procedures and company protocol to ensure that any new recruits into your business are aware of the standard you've set.

8) A poor business model.

Your business model is fluid and can develop as your business grows, but it's important that you start out with a model that is realistic. If you begin with a model that doesn't suit the needs of your business, you can adapt this as you go, but you need to be able to recognise when change is required. 

New business owners can be less than strategic as they try to navigate their way to success but the lack of a sustainable model can quickly and easily lead to the beginning of the end for your startup.

How to avoid:

Engage with a freelance Business Analyst who specialises in startups and your niche. They will impart their expertise to help you develop a model which has a proven success record. No matter how unique your product or service; they've seen it all before and are fully qualified to tell you where others have tried and failed and help you nail it the first-time round.

9) Over-thinking.

While it's important to be strategic, spending too much time analyzing and thinking about doing something can lead to missed opportunities.

How to avoid:

Look at everything as a test and be prepared to develop your procedures and protocol along the way. Sometimes the only way to know if something is going to work is to give it a go, so go on; take the leap and jump in feet first!

10)  Avoiding others.

Many online businesses these days can be run to a certain point from behind a computer. Sales and marketing can all be conducted online and depending on the nature of your product, so can your networking.

But it's imperative that you get out there and meet your clients, customers, and suppliers face-to-face. Doing this will help you forge valuable connections which are going to help your business grow. You might be an introvert who prefers to avoid this kind of networking but you really can't avoid it forever! If it’s not your bag; I’m sorry to say that you need to learn how to fake it ‘til you make it! 

How to avoid: 

Look up local networking events in your area and get yourself registered. Take a hand full of business cards but rather than going with the view to talk about yourself, these events will be much more valuable if you go to listen to what others can bring to your table.

There are many common pitfalls faced in the first few months of running your business but liaising with others and using the benefit of the experience of other professionals will reduce your chances of failure and help you succeed.

Dipaparkan 30 Januari, 2017


Copywriter, content writer, fundraising copy.

I provide copy and written content personally tailored towards your target market. Whether you're looking for appeal material for your grassroots charity, or you need written content for your corporate business, I provide copy and content that gets you results. With five years' experience in the not-for-profit sector, I love to use my words to make a difference in both the immediate, and the ...

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