Seven mistakes to avoid in business

Starting a new business is easier than ever. The internet offers you a lot of resources to help you learn about entrepreneurship and promote your business. On the 31 March 2016, we saw an increase of 27.2% since the same date in 2015. Some of these new ventures will thrive, some will survive, and some will fail.

If you have the yearning to start a new venture or have already begun your business make sure you avoid these seven mistakes:

1. Asking the wrong audience

One of the first things to do when you start a new business is a market research, this it isn’t asking your friends what they think about your business idea because they will give you wrong feedback unintentionally. Your friends and yourself will have a similar way of thinking and similar lifestyle. It means that by asking them if your idea has legs, it’s not reflecting a mass market. And the ones that may think isn’t a very good idea won’t tell you to not to hurt your feelings.

You need to find a sample of your potential audience, people that you don’t know to get real and honest feedback. If you go with your gut feeling, you may end up having the most expensive hobby.

2. Purchasing services based on cost and not on value

When we start a business, we want to make sure the income is greater than the outcome. It is stressful to see how your money is going out and none is coming in. So it’s normal at the beginning to start with affordable services.

When I had to choose an accountant for the first time, I chose the cheapest. He was cheap because he only did my accounts, but throughout the year he would not communicate, nor answer my emails. That is possibly ok when you understand what you are doing, which wasn’t my case. In the end, I had to change accountants, someone a bit more expensive but they would help me going through that first year. What it meant was that I lost money on that change.

Whenever you have to contract a service or even buy a lamp for your desk, do your research, make sure you don’t get it for the price but value, so you don’t have to pay twice.

3. Not having a plan

A lot of new entrepreneurs, start trading and reacting as they go. This is a strategy that may work, but definitely, it makes things confusing and stressful.

If you have a plan for the next three years, then you can easily plan your year based on that. With a year plan, you have enough material to plan your months and the weeks coming. These long term plans can be changed as you need. But it helps to have a vision of where you are going.

When I started, I got very lucky, and the jobs came to me by word of mouth. However, if you just wait for things to happen, then you will get periods where you don’t know what’s going to happen and it gets hard to stay focus.

Things are better if luck isn’t involved. Make sure you set a plan with measurable metrics that can help you check how you are doing and react on time.

4. Not spending cash on brand and marketing

Most of the businesses start them companies by designing their own brand or buying a cheap logo from 99Design or similar.

If you don’t have a brand and marketing strategy at the beginning isn’t a big deal when you are trading with people that you know or that you have been recommended. However, your unknown potential customers might not choose you because the way you look.

Having a well-designed brand will make you look professional and appealing to your clients. And a good marketing strategy, you will get exposed to the right people, people that are ready to spend on you.

5.Thinking you can do it yourself

You might think you can do your accounts yourself. A common mistake we all do is thinking that you are saving money by doing it yourself. But you have to remember that learning a new skill takes time, and time is money.

For example, I am a designer. I can also code websites, but it takes me longer than a developer because it’s not what I do on a day to day basis. If I had to cost for my time to programme a site, it would be more expensive than hiring a developer and possibly the quality isn’t the same either.

It’s best to focus on what you are really good at and get help from great professionals.

6. Not disconnecting

I think we are all guilty on this one. When you run your own business, you are always thinking about it. You check your emails even when you are on holiday. You reply a text just before getting into bed.

You must get in the habit of not looking at your emails on the weekends. Nor answering your work mobile in the evenings.

Having time off will help your brain to rest, and you will start the days fresh and motivated. Otherwise, you will enter into a spiral of stress and tireless that can lead to depression.

7. Strategy based on price

You have set yourself a price, and some clients will want to pay and some won’t. Don’t think you are expensive, believe that those who don’t want to pay your price aren’t your target market. Don’t try to lower your cost because the customers that look for cheap stuff are likely to be a disloyal client that will go to the best offer.

Lowering your price is devaluing yourself and the industry you are in. And in the long term, it will be demotivated.

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