Congratulations on taking that first big step of starting your own business!
If you’re like most first-time entrepreneurs, learning everything you can about how to become a success is foremost in your mind. To succeed, however, takes more than just knowing the things you should do. It’s also knowing the things you shouldn’t do.
After all, studies have consistently shown that 80% of businesses fail in their first two years. You wouldn’t want that to happen to your startup, would you?
Here are five of the most common mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make and how you can avoid them.
1. Hoping To ‘Get Rich Quick’
There is nothing wrong with wanting your business to be a success. After all, why else would you start one?
The mistake most first-time entrepreneurs make is wanting to get rich quick. Unless you’re loaded to begin with, being an overnight success is close to impossible.
Success in business requires hard work, time, and some luck. Having unrealistic expectations can leave you discouraged and disappointed. It can also make you give up without seeing your business achieve its full potential.
Realize that in business, there is no such thing as an overnight success. You have to be willing to put in time, hard work, and whatever it takes to get your company running. With a bit of luck, you may be able to reap the rewards of your success in just a few short years.
2. Having No Clear Direction & Marketing Strategy
Today’s business landscape has become increasingly dynamic, competitive, and complex. It’s not enough to just copy what successful businesses do and hope for the best because what has worked for other companies may not necessarily work for you.
Making up a strategy as you go along isn’t such a good idea, either. Even though you may get lucky and stumble on a winning formula, it’s highly likely that you’ll waste time, money, and effort in the process.
For your company to move forward, develop well-defined marketing strategies and establish appropriate goals. Make sure the goals you develop are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
It’s only when you have a clear idea of where you want your business to go that you can achieve the success you want.
3. Speaking To Every Audience
Speaking to every possible audience is as inefficient as speaking to the wrong one. While it is true that everyone is a potential customer, at least to most business owners, even the best marketing plans and carefully designed campaigns can lose their effectiveness if the message is misdirected.
For most products or services, narrowing down your target audience and approaching them directly with the appropriate message is the way to go.
4. Not Having the Right Tools & Partnership
If you think you can do everything yourself, you’re in for a world of hurt. Ask any veteran entrepreneur and they will tell you that to succeed, you definitely need the help of others. The same is true with the tools you use for your business.
For the sake of saving on costs, some first-time entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to make do with what they have. Unfortunately, this only produces the opposite effect.
You may be amazingly talented in one or two aspects of the business, but you also have weaknesses. Ask help from others by seeking the advice of successful business people or hiring employees who excel in the areas you don’t.
When it comes to tools that can help your business, the internet offers many affordable options that come with lasting benefits.
Having a great looking website, for instance, is a must. If you don’t know how to build one or you don’t have the thousands of dollars that a lot of web designers charge for creating a website, Bookmark.com’s AiDA -- their artificial intelligence tool -- can create a free website for you in mere minutes.
5. Having Zero Work-Life Balance
At the early stages of a business, first-time entrepreneurs are often tempted to put their business first all the time. However, putting your life on hold until your company becomes the success you envisioned it to be can actually be detrimental to both your work and personal life.
Spending too much time working can cause you to neglect your family as well as your physical and mental health. You can probably think of several highly successful executives who are in bad health and with one or two failed marriages under their belts. It’s a familiar story and it could easily be yours if you’re not careful.
Dedicate adequate time for both your work and personal life. Apart from spending time with your family, you should also make sure you’re taking proper care of yourself. This means eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep and rest, and doing things you genuinely enjoy doing.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it, getting your business off the ground is the easy part. The hard part is getting through the trying times and seemingly insurmountable hurdles you will no doubt face as you go through your day-to-day operations.
Don’t lose hope, though. You already know the most common mistakes to avoid to keep your startup from going under. If you continue to educate yourself and to persevere, you are more likely to achieve the things you set out to do for your business.
About the author
This guest post was written by David Kosmayer, CEO and Founder of Bookmark, an AI-powered website builder disrupting the web design industry. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc., an online affiliate and marketing agency, was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade. David is highly focused, dedicated and passionate about building successful companies.