Starting Your Own Small Business – Mistakes You Should Avoid

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Starting a business is not easy. In fact, more than half of businesses fail within their first year.

There’s a lot of things at stake – your money, time, and sometimes your career. It will cost you sleepless nights, missed family events, and almost no time for yourself.

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While there is no guarantee that you will succeed in your chosen business, once you do, it’s the best feeling ever! More than the earnings, nothing beats the satisfying feeling of seeing your business grow.

While there is no magic bullet to success, avoiding the common mistakes entrepreneurs make can have a great impact on your business.

Not Knowing Exactly What They Want

You’re eager to start your own business. But the thing is, you don’t know what you want. You don’t know what you want to achieve. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you can go ahead and make a profit out of it. There are still so many things you need to do. Study the market, do your research, talk to people, talk to experts, undergo training if necessary, etc. You have a lot to learn.

Jumping Right In

You may have a business idea in mind. But without a solid business plan in place, you are likely to fail. Planning is a tedious process. But it benefits your business in so many ways. First, you can create a business model that will set you up for success. You will also know whether there is a market for your product or service, who your competitors are (and how many they are), how much capital you need, and everything else you need to know before you get started. Without a business plan, you will be working in the dark.

Not Knowing Their Customers

Many entrepreneurs have a great understanding of their industry, but not their market. Before you launch your business, you need to answer this question: Will people pay for my products/services? It’s not enough that you know who your target customers are. You should dig deeper into what factors affect their buying decision.

Not Knowing Where To Get The Funds

The lack of capital is a common reason why many business owners fail. Often, they rely on their savings or salary. So, if their funds are not enough, they end up in despair. The good news is that there are so many ways to finance your business. If you’re starting a very small one, your options include online payday loans for self-employment. If you need a bigger capital, you can go to your bank or get assistance from the SBA.

Not Setting Realistic Goals

Your goals are what give you direction as you start your business. They guide you in your decisions and the steps you take. Saying that you want to grow your business in five years is a very vague goal. You should be specific with what you want to accomplish. When you have SMART goals, you can come up with SMART actions that drive results.

Not Taking Advantage of Technology

Many small business owners think that the use of technology is only for big companies. The truth is that it benefits all businesses, regardless of their size and industry. Integrating technology in your business can save you time and money. It can also help you reach out to more people and improve your customer service levels.

Not Understanding Their Financial Needs

A lot of new business owners fail to understand their financial needs. Often, they end up exceeding what they initially anticipated. When estimating the capital, you have to take into account many factors, including the cost of your equipment, raw materials, physical space, inventory, operational expenses, employee salary, and so much more. It can be helpful to hire an accountant to help you come up with a more accurate figure.

Planning Only for Success

Many companies fail because they are too prepared for success. That is, they fail to plan ahead for the unexpected. When running a business, be prepared for a lot of challenges. It can be anything from natural calamities, shift in market demands, economic downturns, increase in your competitors, and so much more. By creating a plan for dealing with possible problems, you are mitigating the risks.

Doing it Alone

As a small business owner, you might be concerned about the costs all the time. You might think that doing everything, from product development to marketing. While you certainly can do it all, you might end up losing focus on the big picture and spend more time on less important things. If you need to hire staff, do it. If you need expert advice, get one. Build a team that will make your journey to success possible.

We all make mistakes. If you are currently running a business or in the process of starting one and realize that you’re doing one or more of these mistakes, don’t fret. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes and never give up.

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About the Author

Ankur Shah
Ankur Shah is the founder of the Value Investing India Report, a leading independent, value oriented journal of the Indian financial markets. Ankur has more than eight years of equity research experience covering emerging markets, with a focus on India and South East Asia. He has worked as both a buy-side investment analyst for a global long/short equity hedge fund and a sell-side analyst for an emerging markets investment bank. Ankur is a graduate of Harvard Business School. You can learn more about his latest views on global markets at the Value Investing India Report. -- He can be emailed at [email protected]

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