Knowing what to do is very important, but knowing what not to do might keep you from having to borrow money from your sister when your start-up crashes. Here are some common mistakes of first-time entrepreneurs.
1. Optimistic Guesses
We all have to make guesswork when trying to figure out when our prototypes will be done, when the contractors will finish our retail space, etc. Often first-timers get into trouble with making estimates that are just too optimistic, especially when estimating the demand for and possible profits from their product.
2. Not Enough Expert Advice
Too often, newbie entrepreneurs rely on common sense ideas of their business model and their prospects for success. It’s important to find a small-business development center or at least a successful entrepreneur who can give you some unbiased feedback.
3. Not Knowing How To Adapt
New businesses struggle. One thing to do is to figure out how to take some of your hard knocks and turn them into a new direction for your company. What not to do is decide that what you’ve learned is to close up shop. Emphasizing the parts of your company that show the most promise, perhaps changing the nature of your line in the process can often fix the problem.
4. Making It All About You
Yes, you’re putting a lot on the line to get a new business underway. It’s a big undertaking, and it takes a lot of work. But remember it’s your customer that really matters. Be sure not to focus too much, with tunnel vision, on your idea and the minutiae of getting it the way you want it, and instead leave some energy for being sensitive to the needs and subtleties of your customer.
5. Not Planning Far Enough
Yes, the first year is very tough, but it’s important to plan beyond that, developing a good sense of how to increase revenue, enhance your product over the long haul, etc.