If being an entrepreneur was easy there would be a lot more people partaking in the journey. While there are definitely perks, launching and running your own startup is an uphill battle that most people don’t have the mental, physical, and emotional strength or disciple to endure.
Even if you do possess that strength or discipline, there are still going to be times when you stumble - and fall - it’s happened to the best of us. But, the reality of the stumble and fall issues is especially true with first time entrepreneurs who can make the following seven embarrassing mistakes.
1. Falling Too Much in Love With Their Idea
Entrepreneurs obviously want to be passionate about their startup and love what they’re doing. But, Susan Scherreik, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stillman School, Seton Hall University, tells Success, “The most common mistake [that a new entrepreneur makes] is that they fall too in love with their startup idea.” Stillman adds;
“The fledgling entrepreneur lives in the glow of giving birth to a beautiful dream of an innovative product or service, and he or she does not want to hear that the baby is ugly. Carried away with the idea, the new entrepreneur overlooks how and when he or she can actually execute this idea and turn a profit. Unless the idea can make money, you don’t have a business—just a money pit.”
Be realistic about your business. Even if you love the idea, you have to have a business model, and if it’s not a business model that will work, you may have to move onto another idea or business.
2. Getting Greedy
Greed. It can derail your startup during any stage. For example, Chris Myers says in Forbes that during negotiations, “If one party pushes for too much or is too aggressive, the relationships between those involved grows sour, and the negotiation can go south.” Myers concludes that it “takes a special skill to recognize greedy behavior and stop it before it gets out of control.”
But greed doesn’t just occur during negotiations. It can happen overnight. I purchased a company called Organizing Ventures. It came with more than enough URLs and I had millions of sales each month. But, we grew too quickly. In fact, we moved so fast that Amazon shut us down. This resulted in us losing 90% of our sales and shutdown the entire operation.
3. Selecting the Wrong Co-Founder
Despite how driven and talented you are, you can’t do everything by yourself. That’s why you have to bring in co-founders or partners to not only alleviate the workload, but also bring something unique to to the startup. But, picking the wrong co-founder can have serious consequences. In fact, it can destroy your business altogether.
When selecting a co-founder, you must not only make sure that they’re the best and brightest in their field of expertise, but that they are also someone you can trust, that you complement each other, both personally and professionally, and it's vital that they know the market. Discover your co-founders work ethics before you sign them on. If you work on totally different schedules, have goals that do not align with each other, and you don't know how to communicate with each other - your business can become troubled almost before you get it up and going.
4. Expecting Everyone Else To Be Excited
As Darren Hardy perfectly explains on Success, “It’s natural to feel excited about your possibilities and potential, but don’t get carried away.”
Even though those around you may say that they’re happy and supportive of you, they may be secretly hoping that you’ll fail. After all, we all compare ourselves to other others to see how good or bad things are going. So, don’t be crushed when you discover that a former colleague, family member, or friend isn’t as joyous as you are about your startup.
And don't let it take you out, bring you down, or knock you off your game (for even a second) if you find out those people listed above are talking against you, or not keeping your best interest at heart with your new startup. Stay happy and focused and move forward with your plans.
5. Believing If You ‘Build It, They Will Come’
I love Field of Dreams. But, the famous "If you build it, they will come," line that Kevin Costner hears doesn’t work for startups. In a previous Shopify article Tucker Schreiber says “Unfortunately just because you have a website, doesn’t mean people will know about it.” Instead of being passive, Schreiber suggests that you launch a marketing strategy that can help your startup gain tractions.
- Posting your store in relevant subreddits.
- Sending emails to your favorite product blogs.
- Posting information and updates onto your social media channels.
- Sharing with your family and friends.
- Creating a pre-launch landing page to capture emails.
- Giving away a product or two to influencers in your industry.
Remember, if you try those tactics, you still may not have customers banging on your door. Be patient and if they still don’t come, launch again.
6. Bringing Your Ego to the Workplace
I’m a big fan of this advice from Leonard Kim on Inc.com;
In a startup, it is not “My way or the highway." Instead, it is, “How can we all work together for the better good?”
Whether you want to hear it or not, you’re not the most important component of the business. Despite being the founder, your company’s visions and company culture are much more important than your ego.
7. Constantly Making Money Mistakes
As Miranda Marquit says, “We all make mistakes with our money.” But, startup founders and small business business owners who continually make these types of mistakes are in for a long and tough journey.
These money mistakes often include;
- Spending too much money to launch your startup.
- Not taking advantage of tax deductions.
- Not having an emergency fund to handle expenses when things get tough.
- Expanding your business too soon.
- Being busy, as opposed to being productive.
Pay attention to these common money mistakes as your startup grows from an idea to an actual business. It could ultimately determine whether your business succeeds or not.