Simple start-up mistakes to avoid

This week’s Hot Topics looked at many trends, but one particularly stuck out from the rest. With so many new start-ups being formed every week, there are increase problems and issues resulting from ill-planning and poor execution - especially in the early months. 

The blog wants to help by highlighting the key areas where start-ups seem to fail. Please feel free to add to this list.

So this blog’s nine mistakes to avoid are:

    1. Starting without a business plan

    It’s surprising how many start-ups go into business without a real plan. If you are deadly serious about starting your own business, you must have a written plan. It can be as simple as one page to get you started. Your business must be profitable and ask ‘Who will my customers be?’, and ‘How much do I charge?’ Be realistic about the costs of running your business. This plan will change, but be prepared in the first place. 

    2. Having no management experience

    You need to be a leader and you need to take the initiative. You will be directly responsible for all aspects of management – finance, marketing, sales, PR, dealing with clients and tax. Look for help from close friends and family, so you can concentrate your particular skill.

    3. Hiring help too soon

    Hiring is expensive and sometimes counter-productive. The price of hiring someone can financially drown your small business very quickly. Hire people you need, not someone you like.

    4. Not hiring professional help

    When there’s trouble, always hire professional help rather than relying on your limited expertise. Do not skimp on hiring professional advisors like an accountant and solicitor. But be clever. Interview many and find advisors that you are comfortable talking with. Make sure they share your vision and what you want to achieve. Finding good ones can save you many headaches and more importantly, money.

    5. Not keeping track of your money

    Vital. Track everything. Every month. As a small business owner, you must know where your money is going. You can do it yourself with inexpensive accounting software, or simply download monthly statements from your bank. Cash-flow is the life blood of a small fledging business.

    6. Not doing enough market research

    This can take months, but this would be worthwhile. Knowing your competitors and what they charge will be crucial in promoting your business. You must understand all aspects of your industry. Read the book, read the trade magazine, read articles. Talk to others and network.

    7. Not doing the correct marketing

    Online presence is key in the modern age. Make sure you have one. It is possible to do extensive and sophisticated marketing for no cost, although it does need resourcing. Whether it is a simple website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or an online forum, you must be online.

    8. Spending too much too soon

    Grow organically. Remember, starting out, you are on a tight budget. Do not start spending thousands on business cards and letterheads. Keep using that old laptop until you can release some funds. Buy only when you need to and before any big purchases, consult your accountant.

    9. Giving up too soon

    A major part of being an entrepreneur is having stamina, drive and determination. There will be tough times, but there will be better times. Undoubtedly, you will hit a few bumps along the road, but weather these and you can achieve all kind of success. It’s not easy, but maintain your effort, faith and vision and you will become a success.


    Any there any tips missing? Please comment or interact with us through twitter - @MicrosoftSB

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