Ten Common Business Mistakes Startups Should Avoid

Starting a business is not an easy undertaking by any measure, so it’s understandable when a startup goes off track along the way. We all make mistakes, but when we’re starting a business even a small miscalculation or oversight can cause huge problems down the road.

What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs often make when getting started? Business News Daily approached various business owners asking about their experiences and what advice they would offer. Their responses were very enlightening, ranging from hiring friends rather than more qualified applicants to taking way too long to get the business launched.

Business owners offer the following advice if you’re launching a business:

1. Do not fear failure

One of the biggest mistakes is to start a business you’re terrified of failure! The truth is that failure is part of every endeavor and is likely the key to success. Plunging forward despite your fears is essential to your success. Learning from your mistakes, picking yourself up and moving forward is the key to enduring success. – Audrey Darrow, President of Earth Source Organics

2. Do not misread your market

A big mistake an entrepreneur can make at the start is to misinterpret their market. It could be miscalculating their costs as either too low or too high, misreading their target demographic and/or incorrectly estimating the demand for their products and/or services. Misreading your market can blow things up before you even get started. – Nabeel Mushtag, co-founder and COO of AskforTask.com

3. Do not blindly develop a product

The dumbest mistake I’ve seen entrepreneurs make is in creating a product that no one seems to want, and then putting their entire focus on developing the product with no thought as to how they would market it. What I find to be a lot more effective is from the very beginning to not only think about how you’ll develop your product, but also what your sales and marketing strategy will be and how you’ll build that. Once you’ve got those two things down, go about building both simultaneously. – Jason Swett, principal at Ben Franklin Labs

4. Do not underestimate branding

Forgetting about or ignoring how important a brand is and the professionals that help businesses build their brand is a huge mistake, one that I see happening repeatedly. Quite often entrepreneurs/business owners/startups think that designing an eye-catching logo will do the trick. Building a brand is the more profound process of defining your business and what you stand for as an enterprise. – David Salinas, CEO of Digital Surgeons

5. Do not drag out critical decisions

When I founded my first company I made a lot of mistakes. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t make decisions quickly enough. I took too long in recognizing that things were not working out with a partner, that my customers were not willing to pay what it would take to keep our business going, that the investors were not going to continue funding the business even though they thought very highly of me, etc. – Sam Rosen, founder and CEO of MakeSpace

6. Do not minimize the importance of a marketing budget

One huge mistake that I see businesses making over and over again is they use up all their money on developing their product and overhead, leaving nothing in the bank for the marketing it would take to generate leads and paying customers. They’re working under the misconception that, “If you build it, people will come.” They don’t understand that if people have no idea their product exists and how it will meet their needs, they can’t come and buy it. – Peter Geishecker, CEO of The Geishecker Group

7. Do not start hiring too soon

The biggest mistake many startups make is to start staffing up too soon. They often hire full-time employees when part-time help would work just fine. Or to hire an employee when it would make more sense to hire a subcontractor to perform the same function. In the freelancing economy of today a small business can run quite well with part-time help, subcontractors and by hiring outside professionals. – Joseph Kuntz, Jr., CEO & President of Dickinson Keanaghan

8. Do not let others discourage you

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur is to listen to the naysayers and allow them to discourage you. You will undoubtedly run into others along your journey that will think they’re doing you a favor by advising you to give up. The more cutting-edge, forward thinking, and original your idea is, the more apt you are to have people tell you to quit, to not throw good money after bad, to pack all up and put your dreams on hold. – Jessica Reinhart, co-founder of Origami Owl Custom Jewelry

9. Do not forget to do your due diligence

One common mistake entrepreneurs often make is to start their business before they’ve found out whether or not there’s a market for what they’re selling and whether their concept is really sustainable or just another passing fad. It’s vital that you do your due diligence to find out if there is a market for your idea before your pour all your time and money into this venture. – Nicole Bienfang, owner of NicoleBienfang.com

10. Do not get carried away with your ideas

Being an entrepreneurial type person, it’s easy to become enraptured with your concept and not fully comprehend the economics of the situation. To avoid getting carried away in planning your launch, you must first have a clear P&L statement and a detailed cash flow plan that lays out what your metrics must be to sustain you in the short term and for the business to succeed long term. – Carrie McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services

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