Having started many succesful businesses of my own and having had lots of experience in 'going it alone,' I've put together my top ten list of things to avoid when getting started with your own business.
When people are attempting to follow a recipe, they often make the mistake of trying to change some of the ingredients. When you change what you put in, what you get out changes as well. Most of the time, it’s not always a good change. Avoid the following 10 mistakes when you start your business and your path to success will be fast and frustration-free. I promise!
- Winging It
You absolutely must have a business plan before launching. Until you have done your research, developed a budget, studied similar businesses and created a plan, you need to put off your launch. Otherwise you are simply taking a stab in the dark, with a lottery ticket mentality to succeeding. This is madness you always need a plan – and not just a bit of paper with a plan – a plan you actually use!
- Trying To Be Everywhere
Don't try to be everywhere at once. There are simply too many places to “be” online. Aim for marking out your territory at those places online that make the most sense for your business. Find your tribe and where they hang out and be there. Don’t waste time on 15 different social media platforms if your peeps only use two.
- Being TOO Specific
Targeting a niche that's narrow, yet deep is the ideal scenario for any small business. These communities tend to be passionate about what they love. However, don't go so narrow that there are only 10 people interested in your product or service! So for example, don’t make your niche male Scottish roller bladers’ who only skate on a Tuesday. That's too narrow.
- Not Measuring Your Efforts
There are free and low-cost applications, software packages, and freelancers that can test, track and tweak every aspect of your online presence and marketing efforts. Take advantage of this virtual ability to test, record, monitor and change your business growth. What gets measured gets improved. This is such an important part of a new business that is often neglected. If you don’t track your efforts, then your just throwing money into the wind. At a very basic level make sure you are using Google analytics and using Facebook Ad stats properly.
5. Too many ‘things’
It's okay to check out new technology, applications and ideas. But if you are constantly hopping on board the "next big thing", your lack of focus will mean scattered results. Try to focus on what works for you and run with that. You also don't want to end up with 15 types of spreadsheet and 6 different operational systems. More is worse than less so try and keep it simple with systems.
- Fearing Change
When you test and track your efforts online, you may see that you need to change some aspects of your Business. Change is simple, quick and usually inexpensive on the internet which is great news for the small business Fempreneur. Don't be afraid of heading in a particular direction if all of your data shows you should be doing exactly that. Feel the fear and do it anyway! ;)
- Allow People To Do Their Jobs
I am a big culprit of this but I am getting better over time. PA’s, Virtual assistants, freelancers, programmers, writers, advertisers and web developers – these can all be crucial parts of any successful business. The more you can delegate aspects of your operation to people who are experts in their own areas, the more successful you will be. Once you have given them the basic information and guidelines they need, let them do what they do best while you focus on other parts of your business. Don’t try to become a computer programmer when you could be creating. I’ve worn that t-shirt and it was not fun!
- Failure To Launch
You might be told you need 1,000 followers or 10,000 people on your email list before you should take some particular action. On a shoestring budget you want to be profitable as quickly as possible. Don't wait to present your offer to the world. As soon as you have established an Internet presence, get it out there. However be sure not to skimp on quality.
- Quitting Your "Real Job" Too Early
You may find success early with your business. That is great. That is the "perfect" scenario you were looking for. Hang on to your regular job until your new business replaces your current income for an extended period of time. Or if not, make sure you have savings or a supportive partner to back you.
10. Never Starting!
Stop waiting. Do your research, develop a plan and then get started. Once you have the information you need, present your service, product or offer to the world today rather than tomorrow. I meet so many people with big ideas who never get started and it’s the biggest waste in the world. Don’t let that be you, take a chance!