Starting a business is not as glamorous and fast-paced as the Silicon Valley gurus would have you believe. For the most part, it’s a mild affair that just wants you to “trust the process”.
As a business owner, you might have a wonderful idea you’d like to implement. It could be a game-changer since no one else in the world is working on it.
Yes, all of those ideas are noble in their own right but always remember the old saying “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”.
Always prepare for the inevitability that your plan might fail.
More often than not, we’ve seen startups come up quickly only to get caught in snags and give up.
The “We were so revolutionary” mindset doesn’t work when things come down to market realities.
To help avoid those mistakes, we’ve written the ten business mistakes that entrepreneurs make when starting a business.
So, let’s get right down to the first one.
1. Selling for too little of a cost
Profits are the lifeblood of any business. Of course, if you’ve started your business, you want to keep your profit margins normal.
Not too high, not too low.
Unless you’re selling a premium product, then too high of a cost will deter your customers.
Too little of a cost will be a godsend for the customer but will make you lose customers in the event you decide to raise your prices.
You have to maintain a level of Zen, as we’d like to call it.
Your operations costs matter a lot in this scenario.
See where you are incurring costs and devise a pricing strategy according to it.
2. Not balancing your investments
Don’t overdo things. Rather, think them over.
How much you invest in your business starting matters a lot. There are two schools of thought on this matter.
- “I’m going to invest a lot of money beforehand”.
- “I’m going to invest less beforehand until I get a decent cash flow”.
There is no blame to anyone for thinking like that. But these actions, when taken to their extremities can prove harmful.
For example, you decide to invest based on the first scenario. You invest in paid advertisements, new offices, and a whole lot more without checking where the cash goes. No one has an unlimited cash flow. Sooner or later, when your operations have started, you’ll be blaming yourself for not having invested smartly.
If you start an eCommerce business, for example, you shouldn’t compromise on your store’s customer experience since your store will be the core of your business. A bad experience can drive your customers away. Though you can develop an eCommerce website with minimal features to start off, Your website should nonetheless load fast, be secure, and deliver a great eCommerce experience.
In the second case, if you’re too stingy, then you’re not going to go anywhere investing in architecture that makes your business stand out.
The point is if you have an investment, use it wisely.
3. Having vague goals from the outset
In the hype of starting up a business, don’t forget to realize the importance of having a solid plan with an attainable goal.
We’ll be honest with you, the chances of you becoming a millionaire are slim to none.
It’s better to take things in a goal-oriented manner. Through it, you’ll have a better understanding of where you stand in terms of performance.
Also, these goals are a great way to make future business decisions.
4. Having the “industry leader” mindset approach in the beginning
The modern digital landscape is fierce, and while it’s good to think big, you shouldn’t believe the fallacy that you’re the only one who can implement the idea.
Anyone from the outside can come in and become your competitor with their modification of your idea.
There are plenty of creative people out there who bring their A-game forward.
To that end, you have to prepare yourself and be on the lookout for competitors outside your bubble.
5. Overthinking too much
If we warned you about overconfidence in the previous section, this one talks about under confidence.
Most people look at failure with disdain and give up thinking they’ll never amount to anything.
After the first failure, specifically, we are prone to come up with “what if” scenarios that make us overthink to the point of inability.
Of course, the feeling of fear sets in, yes, but remember, “only those brave enough to face the darkness can see the light at the end”.
6. Having the lone wolf mindset
Digital influencers would have you believe that it’s all their hard work, thus enforcing the “lone wolf” mindset.
On the ground, these same influencers work with efficient teams who play a major part in getting their business from the ground up.
Succumbing to the lone wolf mindset is damaging to mental health. Moreover, it leads to burnouts.
Having smart and hardworking people around never hurts. It helps distribute the workload from your shoulders and makes things a team effort.
7. Focusing too much on labor costs
Hiring employees and building a team always takes a serious effort.
Of course, you want to hire people that are skilled professionals and know how to get the job done. Of course, that category of people usually involves incurring more labor costs.
Labor costs are an inevitable investment and if you don’t invest in the right people, you won’t get the right results. Businesses make the mistake of hiring the wrong people.
As a result, they end up with unskilled workers who aren’t as ambitious and experienced as true professionals.
You’ll get away with low-cost labor, but over time, you won’t be since you won’t be getting the desired results.
To reiterate, invest in the right people, and you will have the right results.
8. Disregarding marketing
We’ve discussed before that the modern digital landscape is as fierce as it gets.
With so many people opening up businesses and starting up their operations, your product can get lost in the crowd.
The modern world is a world run by digital marketing. More specifically, multi-channel marketing. From paid marketing, social media campaigns, email newsletters, to organic search engine marketing, influencer marketing – there is just so much you can do to ensure that your voice is heard throughout the internet.
Sounds a bit too much work, yes, but it’s all worth it if you deliver a product/service that gets people talking.
Of course, the traditional marketing methods of relying on PR and word of mouth marketing are essential, they can only go so far in advertising your product. The internet is your oyster, use it to your advantage.
Don’t know where to start? Simple. Look at your competitors. Think of where they are investing their marketing investments and focus on that.
You shouldn’t copy exactly what channels they’re using. Instead, mix things up with your style.
9. Not giving the customer the front seat
Let’s face it, if it’s a business vs a customer, nine times out of ten, people will side with the customer. That’s the way the business landscape is. If you think your product will be the “next best thing” and people will “flock to your offering” without focusing on the customer service end, you’ll lose this fight. While having those trains of thought aren’t bad, you should also focus on the customer end to ensure that your customers are going home both having purchased the “next best thing” while also being fully satisfied with the service.
Customer service strategies range from business to business. But there are commonalities that you can apply to your business as well.
It’s also important to listen to your customer and deliver what she wants. For example, the B2B industry is undergoing a major shift in buying behaviors. The customers of a B2B manufacturer, wholesaler, or supplier want to purchase online through eCommerce. They don’t want business-buying to be different from consumer-buying. It’s loud and clear – the B2B buyer prefers to buy through a B2B eCommerce platform. Given that, businesses whether new or established should listen to those cues and react accordingly. Ignoring your customers can be the worst mistake you can make.
10. Being impatient
The worst trap that an entrepreneur can fall into is the impatience trap. It leads to a downward spiral of overthinking, self-doubt, and anxiety – all of which aren’t good for the mental health of the individual or the business.
This is why goal setting and managing your business slowly and steadily matters. Everyone wants to rake in the big bucks, it’s natural for entrepreneurs to think when they’ll be making money, but it’s best to be methodical. Plan out your moves and when executed correctly, make new plans to implement. Baby steps are the way to success.
While all of what we’ve discussed might seem a bit daunting, it’s not if carefully managed. Just like understanding how a business is run is important, so are identifying and reporting these fallacies. This is the only way a business can move forward and succeed.
If you’ve read till here, then the only thing we’ll say is: just start already!