5 Mistakes New Entrepreneurs Make (That You Can Avoid)

Many people dream of owning their own business. Life as an entrepreneur, however, isn’t easy. A lot of smart businesspeople have failed by making common mistakes. Learn about these five common mistakes so that you can improve your chances of success.

Busy businessman with cluttered desk
photo credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr

They Try to Do Everything Themselves

Entrepreneurs usually have a lot of self-confidence. After all, it takes a bit of an ego to think you can build a successful company in today’s competitive market.

Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs seem to think that they have superhuman abilities. They believe that they can build a client base, balance the books, and coordinate with suppliers without any help from experienced employees.

It doesn’t take long before highly motivated entrepreneurs become sleep-deprived. That’s when things can take a bad turn for the company. People who haven’t gotten enough sleep can suffer from depression, forgetfulness, and impaired judgment. Running a business is hard enough — you don’t want to do it while your brain is impaired.

Instead, ask experts to help you keep your business moving in the right direction. For example, consider talking to successful entrepreneurs in your area or hiring an accountant to review your books.

They Choose Inefficient Accounting Options

Software developers have created hundreds of accounting programs that will help you keep your books organized. It doesn’t take much research to learn that some are more efficient than others. A lot of entrepreneurs, however, choose the cheapest option to keep startup costs as low as possible. Eventually, they learn that saving a few dollars in the beginning can cost a lot of money down the road.

You can avoid this problem by choosing software that makes accounting easier. Sage 50’s accounting software stands out because it automates purchasing and shipping, tracks projects for you, and helps you manage customer contacts. Accounting software from Sage 50 can also scale with your business’s growth so that you don’t have to worry about spending too much money when you give more employees access or obtain more features.

They Trust Their Guts More Than the Data

Scientists have done research showing that people should pay more attention to their gut instincts. Listening to your gut is a good idea — you could get some of your best ideas by following a feeling instead of doing exhaustive research. Those flashes of inspiration mean something, so follow them.

But don’t follow them blindly. Always research new ideas to see whether they’re marketable. You need to know how much the product will cost to make, how you will distribute the product, and how many people will want to buy it. If the facts support your instincts, then you have probably discovered a unique idea. If the research says that your instinct is misguided, develop some new concepts.

Sad flower shop owner

They Underestimate the Power of Marketing

When entrepreneurs come up with great ideas, they may believe that their products will sell themselves. They get so involved in developing and manufacturing an item that they forget to think about how they will market it.

Never underestimate the power of marketing, especially in today’s social media–dominated world. Without the right marketing, consumers won’t even know that your product exists. It might sell to a few niche buyers, but it won’t catch on with the general public.

If you don’t have experience marketing your ideas and products, talk to a group of professionals. The right marketing strategy could mean the difference between success and failure.

They Hire Cheap Employees Instead of Talented Employees

Few things are more expensive than hiring cheap employees. Employees who are willing to work for low wages usually don’t have many job options. They might have burned a lot of bridges, or they might not have the skills that companies in your industry need. No matter what the reason is, you probably don’t want these people on your payroll.

The problem becomes even greater when you realize how expensive it is to recruit and train employees. Don’t waste money on someone you’ll want to fire in a few months. Instead, look for high-quality job candidates who have marketable skills. You will have to pay them more money, but in return they will do good work that helps your business thrive.

Running a business involves a lot of potential pitfalls. If you can avoid these common mistakes, though, you’ll have a better chance than many entrepreneurs.