19 July 2013
Deciding to start a business is one of the bravest decisions you can make. But many start-ups fall at the first hurdle due to common mistakes made by entrepreneurs. Learning from mistakes can be valuable experience when you are starting out in business but many errors can be avoided by following some simple advice.
Deciding to start a business is one of the bravest decisions you can make. But many start-ups fall at the first hurdle due to common mistakes made by entrepreneurs.Learning from mistakes can be valuable experience when you are starting out in business but many errors can be avoided by following some simple advice.
Here are our top tips for negotiating your way past the potential pitfalls of starting a business:
Make sure you understand your target customer, what they want, what they need and how they behave. The more you know about the people you want to buy your product or service, the better. Doing your homework will help you come up with an effective and focused marketing plan and improve your chances of success.
You must come up with a sensible business plan before you start your company. Without one, you will not be taken seriously and will find it virtually impossible to get funding. Your business plan needs to include a financial forecast, a marketing plan and a breakdown of both your target market and your competition.
It may be tempting to borrow money from friends and family to fund your business, particularly in the beginning. But try to keep your business and personal life separate. Borrowing from people you love increases the risk of fall-outs further down the line. Stick to borrowing from financial institutions or secure money from an investor, who is not emotionally involved.
Don’t expect to make money straight away. Starting a business is expensive and in the early days you will be spending a lot more than you make. Remember that most businesses take two years to become profitable and plan how you will cope during this period.
The customer is always right – so make sure your business is giving people what they need and that you are providing them with a better deal than they could get elsewhere.
Test out your strategies on a small group before committing to any major marketing or advertising approaches. Try and gather as much feedback as you can and, more importantly, listen to what it tells you and take the messages on board.
Don’t try and save money by trying to do things which really should be left to the professionals. Employ an accountant to keep your books and if you need legal advice, consult a lawyer instead of risking making a major mistake by trying to work it out yourself.
People can go back on verbal agreements, so if something is important to your business, make sure a written contract is drawn up. You also need to make sure you fully understand a contract and have read all the small print before signing.
Don’t always try and do everything yourself. Sometimes you will need to take advantage of other people’s skills, knowledge and abilities. Hiring staff to handle some of the day-to-day tasks of your business will free you up to focus on what is important.
Starting a business can be very time-consuming and it is easy to end up neglecting your loved ones. But a good work/life balance is important and spending all your time at work can cause major problems in your personal life, which will eventually cause issues for your business.
Good luck and make sure to take advantage of our special offers for start-up businesses when you launch your new company.