2 November 2015
Starting a business is an exciting time. Indeed, after years of working long hours for the boss, going out on your own seems very appealing. Fiery entrepreneurs will have no qualms diving head first into a new venture but, for most of us, the fear of failure lingers. When one’s life savings, relationships and lifestyle are on the line, it’s important to take the time to get things right.
Whether you’re taking on a franchise, buying an existing business or establishing a start-up, starting a business comes with a never-ending list of challenges and, while each business is unique, there are a few common mistakes that people make when starting out.
1. Trying to ‘do it all’
Your business is very much like your baby and it’s easy to feel obligated to do everything yourself. If you’re buying a franchise, the franchisor will generally provide a lot of support, particularly in the early stages. When launching a start-up, taking on the brunt (if not all) of the workload is a logical means of cutting costs. It’s also a sure-fire way of running yourself into the ground. Spreading yourself too thin, instead of delegating, is a recipe for disaster and can have significant financial and emotional consequences in the long term. Take the time to pull up and consider the tasks on your ‘to do’ list. Chances are, they’re not all things you MUST do yourself and often employing the assistance of an expert in areas where you lack specialist skills (eg in marketing or IT) will make you more successful in the long term.
2. Spending too much time on the wrong things
Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. Write lists. Set reminders. Whatever it is you need to organise your time efficiently, do it! As a business owner, you’re constantly being pulled in 100 different directions and it’s difficult to work out what’s important when everything seems to require your input. It’s also very easy to get carried away with menial, insignificant tasks instead of prioritising those most urgent. Be ruthless on what you will and won’t do and in what order. Think about the five things you would like to have achieved by the end of the week and keep your eyes firmly fixed on those tasks without getting distracted by the little things.
3. Leaving marketing as an afterthought
New business owners are often so involved with and excited by their product/service that they forget they need a strategy to sell it. Neglecting your marketing strategy, or not having one at all, can be a major setback for your business. Without good marketing you have no customers and without customers, you don’t have a business. It seems simple, but it’s something many new business owners forget. Most franchisors do the marketing for you, but if you’re going out on your own, it will be critical to ensure you’re doing everything you can to bring customers through the door.
Originally appeared in Dynamic Business