1. Not focusing all your attention
Starting a business while working elsewhere is a recipe for disaster. A new business is just like a newborn baby and requires a lot of time to be invested to help it grow. When you’re ready to start a business, take the leap and invest all your time into it. If you need to increase your finances before leaving the security of your job work on developing your business plan and branding but try to avoid operating until you’re ready to commit full time.
2. Trying to do everything
Due to a lack of funding most business owners will “Google it” and try to do the job of marketers, designers, accountants, lawyers etc. Often they don’t do it very well and spend a lot of their time when they could be focusing on doing what they excel at and growing their business. Learn how to delegate and don’t undervalue your time. If you can hire someone to complete a task in less time it would take you to learn than it’s a good investment and with their expertise they could help you save money.
3. Failing to do your research
You may think you have an amazing idea that will change the world, but will anyone else agree? Before you get too excited and rush in make sure there is a market that would be interested.
Also, take a look at what your competitors are doing and their pricing. Why will people choose your product or service over your competitors? Focus on that!
4. Trying to do it perfectly
Most business owners are guilty of wanting to get it all perfect. But it’s better to launch with something rather than nothing. So launch it, get the feedback from customers and make iterations based on their feedback. This will be more cost effective, help you to create a better product and help you engage your customers which increases brand loyalty.
A little note for perfectionists: Settle for 80 – 90% of your perfect. If you are striving for 100% perfect you will never launch or if you do it will take a lot longer which means longer before money comes in.
5. Not investing in marketing
How will people find you? You can’t build an online shop and expect people to find it.
You need to invest money in business cards, a website and advertising.
I believe as a startup you should be investing between 2 – 10 percent of your targeted gross revenue on marketing activities. This varies if you are in a more competitive industry and the length of time you’ve been in business.
Social media is a great platform for creating awareness for your product or service but please remember that whilst it is free it does require a large investment of time before it is effective.
6. Underestimating the value of a brand personality
Your business needs a personality. Think of it like a person, how would it speak and behave? Assign human traits to your business will help people connect with what you’re selling. Once you have defined the personality decide on ways you can portray it through your marketing.
An example of great brand personality is Frank Body Scrub ( https://au.frankbody.com). This company has shaped everything around quirky brand personality and made itself into one of the fasted growing ecommerce startups in Australia!
One of the greatest joys of owning your own business is the freedom to direct it’s future. Be prepared to put in 100% of your time and effort and more importantly don’t forget to have fun!