It's a part of the American dream: starting a business and guiding it along to an amazing level of success. And 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 along the way. Becoming aware of what mistakes to avoid can help boost the chances that your new business will succeed. I asked 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. It's critical that your partner bring something different to the startup from your skill set.
“The biggest startup mistake I ever made was partnering with an individual who offered the same skills that I brought to the table,”John King, COO of PlacementSEO.com said. “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.
Mistake #2: Lacking a Marketing Strategy
The world is constantly changing, 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 also know how to deliver it effectively in the modern technology-based world.
“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,” Steven Kang, founder of Relevancystacking.com said. “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.”
Mistake #3: Being Afraid to Fail
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.
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.
“One trait that's mandatory for success is learning to embrace uncertainty and failure,” Matt Stack, partner at Web20Ranker.com said. “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.”
Mistake #4: Thinking It's Only About the Money
While a hefty paycheck certainly motivates many entrepreneurs, work should be about more than just a paycheck and lead to personal growth. 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.
“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,” Ryan Amen, marketing director at Niftymarketing.com, said. 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.”
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.
Read more startup advice here at Tech.Co