Although mistakes are a natural learning process for many of us, avoid these errors if you want your enterprise to survive and thrive.
Ready to start your own business? You’ll be pleased to know you can ignore the naysayers. It’s a myth that most businesses shut up shop in the first year. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ entry and exit survey shows almost half the companies started in 2009 were still going in 2012-13.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the top five mistakes to avoid if you want your business to go the distance.
“Not making a decision is worse than making a bad decision, Brisbane entrepreneur Janina Byrne says.
1) Trying to do it all
You have to put in the hard yards when you start a business, but it’s a mistake to try to do too much, Business Chicks chief executive Emma Isaacs says.
“The faster you can hire people to do tasks that take up hours of your time, the faster you can grow and ultimately build scale,” she says.
This problem is usually because of a lack of funding, so it’s wise to have enough cash for salaries and a rough people plan before you start.
“The aim of the smart founder is to make themselves redundant as quickly as possible.”
2) Trying to go it alone
Starting a business is particularly tough if you try to go it alone, Janine Garner, founder of the LBD Group, says.
It’s not just about having the right staff. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who can provide support and advice.
“It’s incredibly lonely, and unless you’ve managed to fit nine lives into the space of one, you’re unlikely to have all the knowledge you need to succeed in the digital age,” she says.
“Success comes when we learn to collaborate and surround ourselves with a tribe of like-minded, forward-thinking individuals.”
This allows you to ask about the things you aren’t so fantastic at and gain insights and strategic wins as a result, she says.
3) Failing to do enough research
Typically when people set out to start a business, they’re brimming with excitement and passion, convinced their idea will change the world. Friends and family say positive things. So they spend $5000 putting up a website and find out the hard way that no one is interested.
This is a situation Robert Gerrish, director of Flying Solo, has seen many times.
“It’s so easy to get a business going that people often skimp on research.”
Slow down and talk to the people your business serves, he advises.
Business adviser Louise Francis agrees that research is crucial. “No matter how fantastic your idea is, if it doesn’t solve a problem for your target market, it won’t be sustainable.”
Business owners need to be flexible and adapt their idea as they go along, she says.
“This is often the hardest part for people who make a physical product they’ve nurtured over many sleepless nights.”
4) Not having a clear vision
Successful business owners will have a clear picture in their heads of where they’re aiming to be one, five or even 10 years down the track, Gerrish says.
“If you don’t, it’s like driving from Sydney to Melbourne without a GPS or a map.”
When you know things like how many people you want to serve or how many hours you want to work, this will help you determine which steps will get you there.
“Many business owners end up working too many hours, not serving the right people and not doing what they’d hoped, all because they didn’t have a vision.”
5) Analysis paralysis
When Brisbane entrepreneur Janina Byrne started her company EnviroTrend, her business partner was rarely available to help make important decisions about the business.
“Sometimes you’re not confident about what the next move should be. You’re afraid of making the wrong decision and as a result you don’t move forward,” she says.
After parting ways with her business partner, she negotiated terms with a distributor that, in hindsight, weren’t that beneficial to her company.
“Financially it may not have been as good as it could be, but the product was still out there and the marketing was being done.
“Not making a decision is worse than making a bad decision, because you can at least learn from the bad decision,” she says.
“Have a plan and be fluid with that plan. But make decisions as and when they need to be made, rather than circling around.
My Profit Store create a Business In A Box Solution for new entrepreneurs. From product market research to website launch and social media marketing to getting your 1st sale, My Profit Store’s team will assist you in avoiding the above mentioned mistakes and start you off in the right direction.