Four startup mistakes to avoid from day one
February 09, 2012
Everyone makes mistakes. The sooner you, as a small business owner, accept this fact the sooner you can begin to learn from them and work toward preventing them in the future. That being said, with a little guidance you may be able to preempt some errors outright. Take a look at some of these common mistakes and ask yourself if you've noticed them within your own company's operations.
Taking on too much
This is a very understandable mistake. When you first launch a business you're excited and focused on bringing in as many customers as possible. After all, a sale is a sale, right? Not really. It's actually pretty easy to drown in business, as you are simply overworked and spread too thin.
"Keep getting distracted by the latest trend and your best ideas get ignored," writes Jeff Haden for Inc. magazine. "Check out everything on the business menu, but only select a few items at a time. Don't be afraid, or have too big an ego, to start small. Small is almost always your startup friend."
If you manage to be good at not taking on too much business it allows you to focus more on the craft of your business and ensuring proper quality, service, etc. But that may also drive up your demand for perfection, which is just a futile endeavor. In most cases, both managers and customers alike would prefer timeliness over 100 percent completion.
The same goes for product development - you have to understand that your item is not going to appeal to every customer, everywhere at every time. It's unique, and you should approach it as such.
Holding marketing above service
As mentioned, you and your business are unique. While it is important to promote the perks of your products and services, you need to make sure those efforts match your offerings.
"Logos, identity packages, killer wardrobes, eccentric work spaces... none of those matter if you can't deliver," Haden adds. "Businesses are built on go, not show. Your business or personal style will create a memorable brand as long as you deliver."
Expecting an end or plateau
Business is always growing and always evolving. You need to understand that there is no final step or end in sight (at least during the startup phase). You have to be willing to adapt to changing circumstances and go with the flow. Most entrepreneurs are good at planning, but the most successful ones are good at adapting.