There may be no greater lesson in life than learning from your own mistakes, but entrepreneurs should not discount the value of learning from the mistakes of others. Each and every business venture will face its own blend of unique problems and mistakes, but there are some universal stumbling blocks that tried-and-true entrepreneurs have experienced time and time again and now understand how to work around them.
First-time entrepreneurs do not have to resign themselves to falling into these mistakes. With a bit of careful planning, the most common issues can be avoided, freeing up time and energy to focus on the problems personal to your individual business. Are you worried about what to avoid? Here are the top four avoidable mistakes:
- Forgetting about customer input. So, market research is wrapped up, product development is complete and you have a finished product. Great! Now, what does the customer think? Some businesses might strike gold by presenting a finished product to a group of consumers and receiving fantastic feedback, but it’s far from a certainty. By bringing potential customers into the process early on before product development is complete, you can save valuable time and money.
- Discounting your product. Entrepreneurs new to the business world are often laboring under the false impression that offering discounts is the only way to bring in those first few sales. A discount might create some extra sales early on, but once the product’s price is reverted to its actual value, consumers tend to feel put-off, leading to an unstable pricing venture in the long term. Let the product speak for itself and avoid starting the business off with discounts or sales.
- Misidentifying the market. Time and time again, entrepreneurs turn to their friends and family for those early sales. Of course, loved ones usually want to be supportive, but it can create unnecessary strife as well as a false sense of success. If your friends genuinely want your product, then, by all means, sell away, but don’t mistake them as your direct market by advertising to them or pestering them for sales. Keep your focus on the bigger consumer market.
- Lacking organizational skills. Not organized? There are two options. You can create and adhere to a strict schedule of events and necessary actions, or you can bring in outside help. No matter how spectacular a product may be, no customer wants to deal with a disorganized or floundering business owner who forgets to send an invoice for payment until months after a purchase or agreement. You don’t have to be an expert organizer to be an entrepreneur, but you do need to have someone on your team who can keep the business on track.
Both new and established businesses will have a series of hurdles and mistakes with which to contend, but the easy and obvious ones can be avoided. Keep these common mistakes in mind when establishing your new business and free yourself up to focus on the big picture.