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Top 5 Mistakes Made By First Time Entrepreneurs

When I started my first business I planned everything meticulously, I thought I had it all sussed and although it was a scary thing to do, I honestly did my best to cover all of the angles… And then I launched it. The short version is that I made a tonne of mistakes, some almost stopped the business working before it started and others certainly held me back. It’s all part of the process really, but if you can learn from someone else’s mistakes you should – so here is the Top 5 Mistakes Made By First Time Entrepreneurs…

Don’t Buy Too Much Too Soon

This is particularly true if you are selling products, but it holds true for many businesses. Don’t buy a huge amount of stock or equipment until you need it because 2 weeks after you launch you might realise you bought the wrong thing.

Keep as much cash in reserves as you can so that you can react to new information, because in the few weeks of running your business you will learn a lot and purchasing mistakes before launch can quickly turn into worthless stock and tied up cash flow.

Buying Services You Think You Need

Same as above really, only buy things you really need and be careful what you sign up for. Be aware of any penalties you may have to pay to get out of contracts too.

For example: To take payments online you will need:

  • A payment gateway
  • A merchant account
  • A business bank account

All of which cost money, but in most cases you can make do with Paypal at first and save some costs. Sure, down the line it may be worth the investment, but payment processing cost be costly to set up, so try making do without if you can.

Not Planning Your Marketing

Don’t assume that you will make sales, there are a whole lot of websites out there fighting for attention and most of them never get it. The reality of online business in particular is that marketing is at least half the battle.

If you don’t know exactly how you are going to get traffic and sales to your website, you probably won’t get any. This should be high on your priority list.

Not Launching Now

There are few products that really need to make the right impact as soon as they hit the market. For the vast majority of businesses getting into the market is the most important thing. Start doing business right now and get as much feedback as you can.

Your website/product/business will never be perfect, so get it working and put it out there and then make it your mission to improve it based on real feedback.

Failing At Accounting

Not many people have a knack for accounting and to most entrepreneurs it is just an inconvenient worry. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring your accounts.

Investing in some accounting software might just save your business, it will take the worry out of managing the numbers and will save you time… But best of all, once you get to understand the numbers, having accounts can actually be useful when it comes to growing a stronger business!

What Mistakes Have You Made? These are just a few of mine, so what mistakes have you made in your business?

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2 Responses to Top 5 Mistakes Made By First Time Entrepreneurs

  1. Ron Immink May 2, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Some mistakes I made:
    – trusting market research (huge difference between saying yes on a questionnaire and taking money out wallet and pay for something
    – starting alone
    – setting up an advisory board with friends instead of sharks (at board meetings the blood needs to be on the wall and create creative tension)
    – doing too many things at the same time
    – lack of laser focus
    – not getting a “no” fast
    – not applying technology quick and often enough

  2. Liam Carey May 27, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    You don’t need a 1) payment gateway 2) merchant account to accept payments on-line any more, which is great considering they are so expensive. PayMill is a far better and cheaper solution!

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