It’s a part of the American dream: starting a business and guiding it along to an amazing level of success. But while many entrepreneurs focus on the expected and worthwhile rewards of starting a new company, not as many are aware of some potential pitfalls to avoid when working on a startup. Becoming aware of what mistakes to avoid can help boost the chances that your new business will succeed. Read on to learn from four business experts what mistakes new entrepreneurs should avoid.
Mistake #1: Choosing a Partner with Nothing Different to Offer
Going into creating your startup with a partner carries a number of important advantages according to Smallbusiness.chron.com. But it is critical that your partner bring something different to the startup from what your own skill set has to offer.
John King, COO of PlacementSEO.com says, “The biggest startup mistake I ever made was partnering with an individual who offered the same skills that I brought to the table. This issue truly burdened our ability to be productive as a team, thus causing us to lose more than four million dollars over a three-year period. My advice is this: as you build new business partner relationships, make sure each partner brings to the table his or her own unique offering, thus allowing you to combine all skill sets into one plan of action that increases company revenue and growth.”
A unique blend of personalities and skill sets is the best way to help your business succeed. Perhaps you are good with marketing but lack the technical skills your partner has. Blending your skills can lead to success in the online world, which is important for any new business to be able to do. Perhaps your partner is excellent with people while you are better at handling details. Combining these skills can help ensure that one aspect of your business is not neglected at the expense of another. A well-rounded plan to getting your startup off the ground is important if it is to shine.
Mistake #2: Lacking a Marketing Strategy
The world is a constantly changing place, and that is even more true when it comes to marketing tools and strategies. It is important not only to have the right marketing strategy but to know how to deliver it effectively in the modern technology-based world.
According to Steven Kang, founder of Relevancystacking.com, “Marketing is always about delivering an impactful message, and it takes multiple touchpoints. Not having a strategy in place to execute it properly can cause frustration and failure down the road. I’ve started online marketing back in 1998, and I’ve witnessed the evolution of the online marketing landscape for both small and big enterprises. The ones who make it to the next level are the marketers who can quickly adapt to the changing requirements in the marketplace via a quick feedback loop.”
Not having a strategy at all is certainly going to be detrimental to your startup’s success, and your strategy should consist of knowing who your target customers are and showing them how your product or service meets their needs. But it is also important to be aware of the latest marketing trends, including how to use social media effectively to market your business. It’s also important to remember that what was popular yesterday may no longer be popular today. The pace of change to the online marketing landscape may increase in the future, so staying updated is a necessity.
Mistake #3: Being Afraid to Make Mistakes
While there are certainly mistakes founders of startups should avoid, being afraid to make any mistakes at all can actually hurt your company more than help it. Some entrepreneurs never achieve their goals for a new company because they are afraid to take any steps toward reaching those goals. It is important to analyze any major decisions, but it’s also important not to overanalyze and to accept that there will be some risk involved in forming and growing a startup.
Matt Stack, partner at Web20Ranker.com says, “One trait that’s mandatory for success is learning to embrace uncertainty and failure. Needing to know everything about a subject before trying it is a form of procrastination. It’s better to just start and make mistakes along the way. I’ve always learned a lot more from my mistakes and failures than I have from my successes.”
According to Femaleentrepreneurship.com, many people miss out on great opportunities because they are afraid of what might go wrong. The key is to take calculated risks even when you are not 100 percent sure of the possibility of success. Many of the founders of the great startups would not be where they are if they had not been willing to take a chance on their companies.
Mistake #4: Thinking It’s Only About the Money
Ryan Amen, marketing director at Niftymarketing.com, said, “I used to believe that big-paying jobs were almost always worth doing because of the payday. Time and time again, I’ve learned that just because something looks appealing on the surface doesn’t mean it’s worth it. If it doesn’t help you do at least one of three things (no matter how big the paycheck is), it’s generally not worth it. Those things are:
- You (or someone at the company) should grow in knowledge/skills from the work.
• Someone should enjoy (at least somewhat) the direction and type of work involved.
• The work should be a good fit to help the company grow in the right, predetermined direction.
“If the jobs coming in don’t meet at least one of the criteria above, it’s likely taking away too much time that could be helping the company move in a better direction, demotivating employees, reducing workplace morale or pulling energy away from developing the right skill sets that will ultimately take the company to the next level. In the long run, those things will probably cost the company more money than the work brings in.”
While a hefty paycheck certainly motivates many entrepreneurs, work should be about more than just a paycheck. It should also lead to personal growth and be personally fulfilling. If you sincerely enjoy the work you perform through your startup, you will care that much more about seeing it succeed. If you learn something from what you do and can enhance your skills as a result, that’s even better. It’s a bonus for morale if your employees enjoy the work just as much as you do.
Making sure the work that is performed helps the company grow is also important. If you are consistently doing work that is not helping your company grow, it probably won’t be long before your company loses steam and collapses.
Entrepreneurs have a lot they need to worry about doing right, but if they know what to avoid doing wrong, their chances of succeeding become much greater. If you heed the advice of these business experts who have long walked the road of entrepreneurship and are able to avoid making these four mistakes while also not being afraid to take some risks along the way, you could be well on your way to achieving your slice of the American dream.