Although starting a business will undoubtedly be hard work, it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding adventures of your life—if you can avoid these crippling startup mistakes.
Trying to Do Everything Yourself
There are only 24 hours in a day. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, which is absolutely necessary to performing at peak levels, the reality is that you can’t do everything yourself.
Although being a one-person-show may be a functional necessity in the beginning, you may want to consider delegating simple tasks to a small team of contract workers who can help lighten your load—and free up more of your time for focusing on the activities only you can do within your business.
Not Enforcing Accountability or Punctuality
If you’ve ever had a team member or contract employee consistently show up late to meetings and you’ve never held them accountable, you’re telling the rest of your team that it’s acceptable to always be late. That’s a dangerous precedent to set.
Many business owners don’t want to be the “bad guy” and enforce punctuality or accountability, but those are the cornerstones for a growing successful business with people who feel responsible to deliver results across the company.
Starting a Business You Have No Genuine Interest In
No matter how much time and energy you put into your business, if you’re not truly interested in what you do—the problem you’re solving, the people you’re helping, you won’t get very far. You have to care deeply about what you’re creating and who you’re building it for, in order to push past the inevitable obstacles that’ll come your way as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson weren’t successful because they found a winning formula or just get lucky one day, they’ve accomplished incredible feats and changed industries because they fundamentally care about what their businesses are helping their customers do on a daily basis.
Building an Expensive Website on Day One
The last thing you want to do as a startup is spend a lot of time and money building a fancy, flashy website before you even know exactly how to best serve your customers. One of the best early decisions you can make as an entrepreneur is to launch a basic website in the beginning so people have a way to learn about your product or service and contact you.
If your business is still being developed and you invest a ton of your time and financial resources into building your ultimate website before your business is even out into the marketplace, you’ll just end up having to redo the majority of your work.
Consistently Rebranding a Product That Isn’t Selling
This is the biggest startup mistake you can make as an entrepreneur. You may have seen this happen with other people’s products. Something isn’t selling, so they change the name and put it in a new package. It still doesn’t sell.
If you have a product that isn’t selling very well regardless of how you package it, it may not be your product that is the problem. You’re either marketing a perfectly good product to the wrong people, or you’re marketing to the right people in the wrong way—there could be something wrong with your pricing, the value propositions you’re pitching or otherwise.
Taking on Unnecessary Expenses
It’s a luxury to have an office, a new computer, a fax machine, and a double monitor setup. But that doesn’t mean you need these things in the beginning. If you’re starting up by yourself or you only have a few employees and they are happy to work remotely from home, then it doesn’t make sense to incur the additional costs of renting an office space.
If your current computer setup is perfectly functional, you don’t need to replace it just yet. All of the goodies you want to purchase will come in time, but in the beginning it’s smart to be frugal.
Allowing Employees to Use Personal Laptops for Work
It’s easy to let employees perform their work on personal laptops because that means you don’t have to buy them one, but in the long run this is a big startup mistake.
While many businesses do this, there are quite a few cons to this practice. Allowing your employees to primarily use their own personal laptops for work means that they’ll accumulate passwords, save sensitive documents and other materials belonging to the business that they’ll have access to when they eventually leave the company.
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