Starting a business is not easy. It is a lot of hard work, planning, strategizing and implementing. It is also an endeavor where you put so much of yourself into the venture, including your own money, your time, and even your dreams. However, if you are going to survive and be a long-term success in business, then you need to be aware of the most common mistakes and pitfalls that can ruin your best-laid plans.
Here are 50 common mistakes to avoid when starting a business
1. Not having a vision for the business, or what you want to achieve through and from the business.
2. Losing focus about your vision and thus failing to reach your goals and objectives.
3. Not having a clear understanding how the business will make money or the lack of a business model
4. Selecting a business that you know nothing about, has no passion for, and in a field that you do not enjoy
5. Ignoring warning signs about the business, from the high risks involved, competitor might, and even potential obsolescence
6. Not starting a business with a clear plan, including financial strategies
7. Not setting clear benchmarks and targets for the business — and failing to review them on a regular basis
8. Not knowing exactly the startup expenses the business requires
9. Making unrealistic and false assumptions about the business, especially in terms of cash flow and financial projections
10. Insufficient funds to finance the business
11. Caving in to outside pressure, especially from financiers who provided the money to start the business
12. Failing to have clear and well-written agreements governing relationships — from families and friends who put money into the business to business partners
13. Skimping on must-have resources and assets, including technology and even manpower
14. Spending way too much money at the start on non-critical and essential things
15. Failing to understand what the market really wants
16. Not researching and understanding the competitors enough
17. Going into the business that is way over your head in terms of knowledge and skills required
18. Failing to research on who is the target market for the business
19. Not completely prepared for the hard work required of startup entrepreneurs
20. Not knowing how the business actually works and what processes are required
21. Leaving your full time job, without adequate savings, before the business is actually making money
22. Starting a business by competing with your employer, poaching their customers, stealing their client list, thereby opening you to a lot of legal risks and loads of ill-will
23. Not building the right team for the business — from the right investors, partners, supporting professionals
24. Inconsistency in the quality of products and services
25. Developing products and services of poor quality, even misleading customers about the quality
26. Not offering anything unique or valuable in the eyes of the customers
27. Waiting for perfection to the point of losing any opportunity
28. Not setting the right price to ensure profitability of the business (e.g. setting prices too low)
29. Not seeking mentors who can provide solid advice and knowledge about the business
30. Being afraid to get help, especially before the business starts to fall apart
31. Not getting involved and connecting with the business community in the area, missing out networking and partnership opportunities
32. Starting a business only for the money, without any deeper meaning and commitment
33. Losing momentum quickly, crashing and burning after a few months of all-out push
34. Not having the patience to persist when the road gets bumpy and starting a business proved to be too much of a challenge
35. Thinking and acting small, letting your size hold you back
36. Not knowing about how to market a business, or not dedicating enough time and resources to market the business
37. Not taking the steps to protect the intellectual properties of the business, including business name, and patentable technologies and processes
38. Not keeping customers happy
39. Not giving customers with the buying experience they are looking for.
40. Offering poor customer service, even being rude to customers, ignoring them, and not responding to their concerns or questions quickly
41. Underestimating the importance of sales: not knowing how to sell, and not developing a solid sales strategy
42. Not knowing how to manage a business, especially a growing one when the initial startup hurdles have been overcome
43. Ignoring problems that crop up, especially those with potential to break and crush the business
44. Failing to learn from mistakes committed and not fixing those mistakes quickly
45. If there are employees, not delegating and trying to do everything by yourself resulting in spending too much time on the little things and not enough time on the bigger strategies and thinking required.
46. Not hiring the right employees for the job.
47. Not knowing how to manage people.
48. Not taking care of yourself personally, ignoring your health, relationships and need to release stress and relax.
49. Failure to achieve sufficient balance needed in life
50. Losing yourself and your own moral compass in the process of starting the business