I met hundreds of entrepreneurs and everyone had a different story when asked about the mistakes they committed when starting a new business. Depending on the type of business, prevailing market situations, entrepreneurs’ aptitude and abilities, country laws and many other factors, small business success require different levels of effort.
Although you cannot generalize the mistakes, but still there are some common situations that may occur to anyone while setting up a new business.
Below is the list of mistakes that entrepreneurs whom I met, committed. Go through the extensive list before starting a new business and I am sure, you will avoid these mistakes at least!
1. Not researching your target market
2. Sketchy business plan (do not confuse this with a one page business plan which is good only in urgent situations.
3. Getting loans from friends and family the wrong way.
4. Expecting immediate profit.
5. Not focusing on the customer.
6. Disregarding controlled testing.
7. Relying on your own legal and accounting skills.
8. Trusting verbal agreements.
9. Trying to do everything alone.
10. Sacrificing personal relationships for the business.
11. Doing what you love just because you love it.
12. Ignoring the competition.
13. Not taking into account your own strengths and weaknesses.
14. Not understanding what you’re actually selling.
15. Not making sure you have enough money.
16. Not investing in marketing.
17. Not understanding technology.
18. Keeping a 24-7 working schedule.
19. Too many calls to and from family and friends.
20. Getting too busy to stay organized.
21. Starting a day without a plan.
22. Weak financial planning.
23. Setting non-realistic, nonmeasurable goals.
24. Hiring wrong people.
25. Not planning ahead.
26. Waiting long to sell.
27. Selling to the wrong person.
28. Not having enough emergency funds and no plan to avoid running out of money.
29. Not having a backup plan.
30. Focusing too much on results.
31. Lack of strategy.
32. Not executing the strategy as required.
33. No space for criticism.
34. Led by too many opinions.
35. Losing /diverting focus.
36. Working on assumptions.
37. Underestimating manpower needs.
38. Bad pricing.
39. Concentrating exclusively on sales.
40. Extending credit too early.
41. Not thinking about the taxes.
42. Not having a plan of attack.
43. Ignoring customer services.
44. Letting emotions get in the way of business.
45. Failing to develop a productive team.
46. Failing to develop leaders.
47. Focusing a small group of customers.
48. Setting too many goals.
49. Complicating things too much with extensive documentation.
50. Not accepting agility.
51. Wasting time on thinking about every new idea that comes every day in the mind.
52. Assuming virility.
53. Obsessing over funds.
54. Running after too many investors.
55. Getting distracted with negative feedback.
56. Not having the right team.
57. Not having the right co-founder.
58. Not listening to customers.
59. Lacking uniqueness.
60. Lacking competitive edge.
61. Having too many unnecessary expenses.
62. Aggressive advertising without market research.
63. Advertising in wrong direction/places.
64. Giving up too early.
65. Not having online presence.
66. Ignoring the power of social media.
67. Not understanding the importance of word of mouth.
68. Believing the myth of flexible hours.
69. Having fear of failure.
70. Not setting timeline for goals.
71. Entering into a market with no distribution partner.
72. Having partnerships without documentation.
73. Wasting time on doing small things yourself (Follow these productivity hacks for entrepreneurs to avoid most of the mistakes.)
74. Ignoring outsourcing for cost and time optimization.
75. Marketing too early.
76. Marketing too late.
77. Not attending relevant meet-ups and conferences.
78. Being not able to say no.
79. Losing speed.
80. Not thinking about the survival.
81. Not seeking mentors.
82. Doing it just for the money.
83. Ignoring laws.
84. Falling in love with the wrong idea.
85. Falling for the get rich quickly scheme.
86. Being a copy-cat.
87. Thinking short term.
88. Ignoring appearance.
89. Ignoring packaging.
90. Having no exit strategy.
91. Not focusing on ROI.
92. Trying to be superman (trying to do what you cannot do yourself).
93. Changing goals without measuring results.
94. Ignoring overhead costs.
95. Over-optimistic forecasts.
96. Focusing on sales rather than profit.
97. Underestimating the power of public relations.
98. Poor supply chain.
99. Failing to protect your idea, product or service.
100. Ignoring business model innovation.
101. Stopping yourself from learning new trends and technologies.
The Bottom Line
These are just 101 reasons, and there can be thousands of mistakes first time entrepreneurs make in their ventures. I hope this quick list is a good dose for first timers to avoid basic mistakes and be successful in their ventures!