By David Kosmayer
Statistics show that a majority of new businesses close soon after they are launched. In fact, around 80% fail within the first 18 months. This is despite the amount of information available to help first-time entrepreneurs succeed.
New business owners think they have their plans well thought out. They are confident they have done their homework well, and know what they are supposed to do in order to be successful. They have their own role models; entrepreneurs like themselves who have made it big.
Unfortunately, it is a fact that despite all the preparations, all the knowledge and skills new business owners bring to the table, there are still mistakes they unwittingly commit that make it difficult for them to achieve their goals.
In knowing what these common mistakes are, keep in mind the following factors:
- Every business is unique, and it should be approached differently.
- There are lots of businesses ideas, but not all of them suit you.
- Every business has its challenges, and you have to know how to overcome them.
- There are many other businesses fighting for the same clients that you are targeting so you need to know how to get ahead of the competition.
For new businesses to hit the ground running, it is important to know how to distinguish things that matter from those that don’t. It would be a waste of time to focus on non-issues while ignoring the aspects that are likely to make the business successful.
Regardless of your type of business, watch out for the following mistakes.
Do not fall in love with your idea
Winston Churchill once said that to improve is to change, but to be perfect, you have to change often. It is the same thing when it comes to starting a business.
No matter how great your idea is, it will remain worthless until you completely execute it. And when you implement it, you must be ready to make changes if and when the situation calls for it.
In fact, one of the most important decision a small business owner can make is whether to push on with their original plan or change direction. This is called a business pivot and it can either make or break your company.
Understand the “Science of Money”
To successfully implement a business idea, you will need a source of money. An idea that can change the world will remain just in the realm of ideas until you get enough funding to sustain it.
Unfortunately, some new entrepreneurs keep thinking about their ideas and forget to source for the funds to work on it. There are many ways to raise funds; crowdfunding is one while getting investors is another.
Choose strategic partners
If you are going to require partners to start your business, you need to be careful with whom you pick. One of the major mistakes entrepreneurs make is that they seem ready to partner with anyone just to get the funds they need.
It’s not the right way to go. In fact, it can be the worst thing you can ever do for your company. The best thing to do in such a situation is to analyze your business, understand your own weaknesses and strengths, and determine what else you need. This way, you will find strategic partners that bring real value onboard.
Don’t try to be perfect
Some entrepreneurs decide to wait for the perfect time to implement their business idea. Some of them want that perfect plan, time, product, and many other things.
What they don’t know is that the day when everything is perfect will never come. Do not put your dreams on hold while waiting for months or years for the perfect day to launch your business.
If you’re not sure yet about the feasibility of your business idea, why not test-drive it by building a website geared for that particular purpose? You don’t even need to spend a lot of time or money for that website.
The Bookmark website builder, for example, is a tool for entrepreneurs looking to build their business or to test the feasibility of their idea. You sign up for an account, choose your business industry, put in your company’s name, and in less than 2 minutes, you will have your website.
Once you have all your text — the website comes with free photos and videos — you can be testing your business idea online within just a couple of hours. In a day or two, you can already get some feedback about your business, and you will soon see whether your target customers want your product, or if you need to redirect your effort to something else.
Indeed, before aiming to have the perfect product launched at the perfect time, go out there and get feedback from real people.
Do not focus on everyone
If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing nobody. Although the biggest brands such as Facebook and Snapchat now target everyone, they started by focusing on specific customers.
Focusing on a particular group of people is the best thing you can do for your business. Identify the customers that you need and focus on them. Later on, as you grow, you can bring others onboard.
The truth is that everyone makes mistakes in business. Some of the mistakes entrepreneurs make may be inevitable, and would contribute to the company’s growth. Others, however, could be fatal to the business.
If you want to be successful as a small business owner, then, you should approach everything with an open mind. It is much better to make mistakes and fail early on and then learn from them, rather than to ride on the mistakes for a long time and come crashing after you thought you have succeeded.
David Kosmayer is CEO and Founder of Bookmark, the future of web design combining artificial intelligence and website building. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc. an online affiliate and marketing agency was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies. @bookmark.