Launching any type of entrepreneurial venture can be exciting, challenging and daunting at the same time. If you are ready to take the lead on a new business opportunity and are busy getting everything organized, make sure you’re not making mistakes that will set you back in the long-term. You can’t predict the outcome of all of your actions, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of failure within a few short months.
Here are five of the biggest entrepreneur mistakes to avoid:
1. Having Fuzzy Goals
It’s one thing to have a great idea but quite another to have a plan to execute it smoothly. Make sure you’ve taken the time to set very clear and specific goals that are aligned with your ultimate vision for the company or venture. You need to be very specific about what you expect to achieve in the short-term and long-term, and create a company structure that fits your business.
2. Underestimating Startup Costs
Financial planning skills are essential for any entrepreneur and are even more important during the startup phase. Underestimating your startup costs is a common — and costly — mistake. Make sure you have a clear cost estimate before your launch and have taken all potential costs into account. Work with an experienced accountant or financial professional to make sure you have covered all your bases.
3. Overlooking the Importance of Branding
Your brand needs to exemplify everything your company stands for, and during the startup and launch phase, all of your branding efforts need to resonate with your target audience. Don’t overlook the importance of a branding and marketing strategy that will really connect with your target market and reach them in innovative ways. Take advantage of modern marketing tools and platforms, such as mobile messaging systems, Facebook marketing and traditional print media to increase brand visibility.
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4. Focusing Only on the Bottom Line
If your sole focus is just to make a certain amount of money by the end of the year, you may end up failing with your entrepreneurial venture sooner than you think. While it’s a good idea to set some revenue goals and keep your eye on the bottom line, you need to be motivated by something besides money. Whether you’re inspired to create the ultimate product, bring something new to the market, or provide exceptional service, or serve your clients in a new way, make sure you are being clear about your intentions with your entrepreneurial venture — outside of the monetary gains.
5. Being Impatient
In a lightning-speed world of startups launching and new business ventures forming, it’s easy to be impatient when you aren’t seeing results or getting any type of return from your efforts. Remember that more than half of businesses fail within a year because of impatient entrepreneurs and other factors. You may or may not make any money during that first year and may encounter obstacles and hurdles that you never even thought about. Be patient and be prepared to manage every challenge that comes your way so that you can get through that first critical year.