Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Guest Post by John Breese, CEO of Happysleepyhead.com
Starting a new business is always stressful and challenging. No wonder you often find yourself lost and worried about the choices you make.
Business advice is essential during all stages of business growth. And you should not underestimate the power of a good business tip. When you are just starting, you are going to need all the help you can get. Growing a business involves trial and error, and a piece of advice from someone more experienced than you can really come in handy.
But remember, all businesses are different, and what might have worked for one company may not work for yours. Take into consideration other companies’ successes as well as failures. When you know what you shouldn’t do, you are more likely to save time and money and avoid the pitfalls. After all, wise people learn from the mistakes of others. Let’s see what mistakes you should avoid from the perspective of successful entrepreneurs:
John Breese, CEO of Happysleepyhead.com
- Ignoring social media. The more social media platforms you use, the more chances you have to reach your potential customers. But sticking to just one platform and using it effectively might be enough for the start.
- Working too much on your new business. Yes, you really have to be hard working if you want your business to strive. But you need to set boundaries and find the right balance. Overworking yourself is dangerous and can be very harmful to your project. It will probably decrease your efficiency and can even ruin your health.
- Having a "I'm not here to make friends” attitude. Your attitude should be the opposite. Expanding your network and trying to establish relationships with other business owners can really help you get new partnerships, investments, helpful insights, and favors when needed.
- Going with the flow and neglecting the planning phase. Many new entrepreneurs find the planning stage way too tedious and just skip it. But without a proper business plan (including a financial and a marketing plan), you are not likely to build your company. Planning is the foundation.
- Overspending. Many new business owners feel this need to get only the best for their new company: the most expensive marketing, the newest equipment, the most advanced software, etc. But spending too much when your business has just started growing can drain your budget and leave you without enough funds to grow the company.
Blair Koch, CEO of the Alternative Board
- Believing that every customer is right. Let’s face it: some clients can really be out of place. And if you try to adjust your business according to their needs, you might end up taking it the wrong way.
- Underspending. It is natural that you don’t want to risk your budget during the first stages of business development. But underspending can really limit your potential, resources, and the tools that can help you gain clients and improve your business.
- Being afraid of saying “Yes.” While weighing your decisions is very important, let’s not forget that being scared of the word “Yes” can rob you of so many great opportunities.
- Ignoring the competitors. Your product is unique because it’s yours. Still, ignoring the competition is never a smart plan. Analyzing what your competitors offer and how they conduct business can help you discover new marketing opportunities, development strategies, target markets, etc.
- Not saving for emergencies. While the business is young, it is bound to go through unknown variables and some potential rough patches. If you don’t save the money for emergencies, you put yourself in a very risky position. After all, no one knows what to expect in the future.
Jason Patel, Founder of Transizion
- Neglecting the testing. Your product or service is never perfect. But if you test it by talking to the customers and evaluating their feedback, you can adapt it to their needs. And that means more sales for you.
- Trying to do everything on your own. Whether you are trying to save money or simply feel very confident about your abilities, doing everything yourself doesn’t lead to success in business. When all the tasks and duties are on you, you simply don’t have the time (and the strength) to run your business effectively. You need support in order to concentrate on your work properly and run the company successfully.
- Not planning for taxes. As a self-employed individual, you are now responsible for your own taxes. And not planning them beforehand really is a mistake since it can lead to massive bills. Take the time to estimate the quarterly taxes and just get it done, no matter how tedious this may seem.
- Upgrading your personal lifestyle in the first year or two. Many new entrepreneurs get better cars or bigger houses once their business starts growing and makes a profit. And in most cases, that turns out to be a mistake. It’s much better to invest the early profits to stabilize the company and secure its long-term performance.
- Sticking to the same old routines and plans. In this fast-paced world, you absolutely need to be flexible. Being able to adapt to the changes is what can take your company to a new level. Sticking to a limited number of routines and refusing to embrace modern changes is almost never a winning scenario.
Lola Peterson, Founder of Coffeegeeklab.com
- Neglecting your employees. If you take good care of your employees, they will take good care of your business. Treating them badly is one of the biggest mistakes you can make since it directly influences the way your business operates.
- Trying to satisfy everyone. Your business can’t be everything for everyone. It’s just impossible to satisfy every client. It’s much better to concentrate on a specific target demographic. This way, you will be able to offer the most suitable product and sales will be easier.
- Mixing personal and business accounts. Failing to set a separate account for business is probably the most common mistake new entrepreneurs make. When your accounts are mixed, you can’t really track your company’s record.
- Neglecting legal counsel. Unless you are an experienced attorney, you need someone who is going to help you with all the legal concerns. Many new business owners try to save money on this aspect and end up losing even more money because of legal pitfalls.
- Hiring the wrong people. And not firing those who need to be fired. Again, your employees are the foundation of your business. Don’t just hire people who are “good enough.” Hire someone with enough skill and intelligence to help your business grow. And don’t be afraid to fire those who don’t meet your expectations and work standards. You might hurt their feelings, but your business and how they contribute to it (better said, don’t contribute) is far more important.