The entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one. It is a long stride that, most times, will be unpredictable. The challenges, the shortcomings, the nagging thought to quit—these and more are some things you would be faced with as a startup business owner. Starting and growing a business is nerve-racking. Despite the challenges, I promise you that having your own business is worth it. To help you steer clear of some of these challenges, ensure you don’t make any of the mistakes mentioned below.
1. Not having realistic strategies for your startup
It is good to have good intentions for your startup business and can even predict where you want it to be in the next 5-10 years. But this is not enough to get started. Before you launch, create a detailed plan and cohesive strategies to implement your plans.
For startups, your major goal is to connect with your customers and build your brand. Focus on this and map out strategies that will help you excel in this. Irrespective of the challenges, don’t get so carried away that you lose focus on this important goal.
However, be realistic. Starting and growing a startup business is often unpredictable. You might expect to break out in two years, and in just two months, you are already making massive sales. Keep your eyes focused on the major goal, and keep working on achieving it. After all, customers are the bedrock of business growth. Get it?
2. Following your guts and ignoring your customers’ need
Remember the previous point where I mentioned that customers are the bedrock of business growth? Good. 42% of startup businesses fail because they are unable to solve a market need, according to insights.com
It is okay to follow your gut, but it is not to ignore your customers’ needs, especially as a startup. When you start your business, ask yourself if you are listening to your customers or yourself.
Research the market, your customer’s needs, and your competitors. Competitors help you validate the market. You don’t want to enter a market with so many competitors that the market becomes saturated. You need to ask yourself a key question about the problem your business is solving and find out if it is widespread enough to warrant creating a business to solve it. After this, focus on this one thing, solving your customers’ needs. It works.
3. Underestimating how much time and money you need to take off
During the early days of a startup, many entrepreneurs think they have enough money to get them through the lean days. But in reality, it is different. When starting a new business, it is advisable to count the costs before launching. How will the business fare before generating enough income to cover its expenses? Consider the amount you need to run the business before you run out of money.
What is your funding plan?
When starting a business, consider options that suit you, such as bank loans and private lenders. Also, ensure you’ve got some extra financial padding for emergencies. You may also need to hang on to your full-time job a bit longer while you work on your startup during your free time. Whichever way, just don’t go completely broke. It will affect your business.
4. Trying to do everything alone.
Do you know the best part of running a startup business?
It is having someone to think through the strategies and face the challenges with. Don’t expect to run a business alone and not give up when things are not working.
Having at least one person can help alleviate the workload of starting a business. If possible, find someone experienced in a different discipline. This would help you get an outside opinion of your business and work with more guidance.
5. Not starting with the end in mind.
Michael Fellow, the founder of Broadway Lab, says, “In most cases, entrepreneurs begin with excitement and optimism, thinking they will do whatever it takes to succeed.” It would be better for entrepreneurs to adopt a big picture from the outset, forcing them to ask tough questions sooner rather than later. This would give them a roadmap to refer to when things get difficult.
Between the thrills and excitement of starting your business, prepare ahead of the uncertainties and keep the end in mind. When the journey is unbearable, accept and deal with it. Focus on the big picture.
6. Not evolving when you should
Many entrepreneurs fail to pivot even though their original idea isn’t taking off as they hoped. Don’t be among them. You should respond to what the market needs instead of what you want to give it.
For example, YouTube started as a dating website, but the founders realized the market didn’t want to date via videos – but they wanted people to be able to upload and share videos.
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