Start-Up Blunders You Can Learn From

Like anything else in life, if you’re thinking of starting a business, you should look to those who have gone before you. While you should take the time to learn from the successes of others, you should also spend time researching their mistakes.

It’s reported that only 10 percent of new businesses will still be operating after five years. If you hope to be among that coveted 10 percent, here are common blunders that you should learn from:

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1. Failure to Specialize

What do you want to do? What do you want your business to be? You’ve got to know the answer to these two questions before you open your doors. Sure, you’re a great writer, but what do you want to write about. Yes, you’re a whiz at marketing, but who do you want to market for? One of the biggest blunders that new business owners make is failing to specialize. There’s a saying that goes, “You can do anything. You can’t do everything.” Take that saying to heart.

2. Incorrect Marketing

You’re going to be working with a limited budget when you start your business. With your limited budget, you’ll need to advertise. Don’t waste money on business cards, brochures and websites. Business cards get misplaced, brochures get thrown away, and websites can be built for free. You can spend major money on marketing when you have major money to spend; you get the gist. For now, focus dedicating your money to areas of your business that will make you more of it.

Cleveland Small Business Event (Pic 3)

3. The Overblown Ego

No one starts a business thinking that they don’t have the best idea in the world. If you can’t check your ego at the door, you simply don’t have what it takes to start your own business. You’ve got to be willing to accept other people’s ideas and opinions, and you’ve got to be ready to change course when things aren’t going right. When you start a business, plan on making changes; it’s rare that CEOs don’t find it necessary to alter their ways of thinking.

4. Not Having a Plan

The reason you’re starting a business is because you have an idea. Before your idea can turn into a money-maker, you have to create a plan. One of the biggest blunders you can make is to hang your shingle without creating a sound business plan first. You should outline your sources of cash, your plans of action, how many employees you will need, where you will operate; all of the things that it takes to run a business. Never think that you can just wing it.

5. Copying Someone’s Idea

Let’s face it: Not many people create the first big thing. Most business owners create the second, third and even twentieth big thing. Even though you’re selling the same thing as the successful shop down the street, don’t be tempted to steal any ideas. If you operate the same shop in the same way, you’ll get half of the business. Come up with something that sets you apart from your competition, not something that makes you blend in.

If you want to be a success in the business world, you need to learn from the mistakes of those that have come before you. By avoiding the common blunders made by others, you can be one of the select few that stay in business long after others have closed their doors. Take heed of the mistakes listed above and learn from them.

About the Author: Writer Susan Brand is an avid blogger. Interested in learning more about running a business? Check out her recent articles on mba rankings and online mba rankings.