5 Mistakes that Start-Up Businesses Make – and how to Avoid Them

Getting started in your own business can be as exciting as it is challenging and full of learning. Here’s five ways to avoid the common mistakes that many new business owners make.

1. Setting up your own financial accounting system

I get it – cash is tight and you’re trying to start up on a shoe string. But trying to undertake specialist tasks that are just not your cup of tea is inefficient at best, frustrating for you at worst – especially when you want to be focusing on doing what you do best.

Don’t try to set up your own accounting software if this is not your area of expertise, engage a qualified bookkeeper to assist you get it right from the start and get the debits and credits in the right buckets.

While business is ramping up most bookkeepers will be happy for you to do your own data entry if you have the time while you are in the early phase of your business. Then when you business takes off you can easily hand it back to them to manage.

2. Spending all your hard-earned on learning

I know you want to get it right. But spending too much on the latest online course can be expensive and it can delay you getting down to business. Learning can be the great online procrastinator – if I just learn how to … then my business will work.

The best way to get your business up and running is to do the work. Try things out. See what works. What works for you won’t necessarily work for someone else. What works this year might not work next – as a business owner you will be constantly learning and reviewing your performance – this is a skill you should definitely master for yourself.

Keep working your business, offer special deals to early clients or customers in exchange for feedback and testimonials. Try putting together a variety of offers and see which ones resonant best with your target market. Get some runs on the board and do more of what works. Don’t be attached to offering one particular thing if it doesn’t work. Flex with the market, listen to your clients, offer them great value – more than they expect – every time. They will become loyal repeat customers.

3. Too much networking

Yes you need to network to build your business. Your networking, like your product offering needs to be tailored to your target market. Networking can be another great form of procrastination.

Decide what types of people are in your target market, work out where they hang out and network there. If you’re in the business of selling shoes, there is no point hanging out at a local business network looking for customers – you’d be better off spending your time at a clothing store showing customers how your shoes will go beautifully with that new outfit they just bought. Butchers don’t try and target vegetarians – they are not in their niche.  If they’re not in your niche then you’re just procrastinating.

So focus on your niche clients and where they might be – then go and hang out with them and build relationships.  New customers are more likely to buy from you when they Know Like and Trust you. Getting to know people is the first step – whether you’re doing that face to face or via online marketing such as email marketing, Facebook posts or blogging.

4. Building your own website

A lot of start-ups get themselves a free web site through one of the well-known “all-in-one” providers and think if they add some text and a couple of great pictures they will be on page 1 of Google.

Unfortunately it doesn’t happen like that.  A good web developer  will do  more than adding text and pretty pictures to a couple of pages and hitting publish.  Understanding SEO (SE WHAT??  – Search Engine Optimisation), key words, target markets, customer digital journeys, google algorithms and how plugins work is best left to the experts.

For a relatively small investment (around $2,000) you should be able to get a simple website that will pique your target markets’ interest as well as provide a robust foundation for future growth. As your business grows you can certainly build your website to be more informative. Like setting up an accounting package, getting it right from the start by engaging someone who knows is much easier and more cost effective than trying to retro-fit a fix later on.

5. Thinking you can do it on your own

If you got into business so you can be your own boss then that’s great – but it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Even if you’re a solopreneur who prefers working on their own.  Finding the right people to guide you on your journey can be critical to your success.

Surround yourself with supporters, people who can answer those tricky questions, give you new ideas to try, provide balanced feedback on your progress so far or who are just there for you no matter what. Start connecting with like-minded people, people who are also run their own businesses. And not just start-ups. Find people who are further along in their journey and learn from their experience – it can be  a lot less painful learning from someone’s else’s lessons, than having to learn all your lessons by yourself.

Read books about business success. Build your business bookshelf to help you learn – try some classics like “Think and Grow Rich” or “Rich Dad Poor Dad” or “Awaken the Giant Within”. Or try books which show you how to set great goals and achieve them.

Target your reading to skills you know you will need to manage yourself and your business, like time management, resilience in the face of adversity, staying focused on your goals, managing your money, dealing with customers and so on. There are lots of skills you can outsource, but being a time-efficient, focused and organised business owner will take you towards your other goals.

Starting up a new business can be a fun, exciting, challenging time. Don’t waste your time or your money doing things that won’t move your business forward to where you want it to be – especially when funds are limited.  Set your goals, stay focused, find support systems and other skilled people to help build towards your achievements and enjoy the successes along the way.


Found a spelling or grammatical error in this post? Then contact me as soon as possible and let me know and I will offer you a free 30-minute review of your digital presence and some fresh ideas you can try out for free.

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If you’d like help getting your website up and running, then simply book a free strategy call and I can help you through the process by helping you to:

1. Define your target market.

2. Write great copy for your website that compels your customers to use your services.

3. Build you a website that can scale as your business grows.

4. Ensure your website is device compatible – by making sure your website works across a range of phones, tablets, screens and laptops.

5. Get your digital marketing journey started so you can focus on what you do best.

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