The start-up phase of a business is intense, exciting, busy, and sometimes overwhelming. The nerves are likely to make their presence felt in amongst the energy and enthusiasm that this phase is characterised by. You want to get it right. You want to succeed.
So – what are the most common mistakes start-ups make which you can avoid?
More Action, Less Thinking
Yes, really. Research, planning, business profiling, drilling your mates for advice – these are all worthwhile endeavours but they shouldn’t be the primary focus. It’s easy to get lost in the quagmire of building the plans and the dreams which almost inevitably change the moment reality comes along. There comes a point where you have to bite the bullet and just DO.
We typically see this when deadlines get pushed back. Perhaps you had a launch date, but don’t feel ready, so want to move the date? The reality is that not everything will be absolutely perfect for the start. That’s business. But starting will get your ducks in order quick smart.
Chasing the Money, And Not Growth
It’s incredibly easy, especially if you’ve got investors and bank loans to satisfy, to chase revenue blindly. Of course, making money is important – after all, dreams don’t pay bills. However, too much revenue chasing and you can quickly find yourself compromising on your goals and dreams, and in the process diluting your brand, and business primary focus.
Certainly, keep an eye on the balance sheet, and the money coming in, but try not to allow it to be the determining factor.
The easiest way to avoid this pitfall is to make sure you have a good amount of capital at the start-up phase. It’ll give you the buffer zone you need.
Splitting Emotions and Business
The vast majority of start-ups come out of a passion that can become a business dream. This is a fantastic driver of energy, enthusiasm, and verve (all much needed in the start-up phase). However, this emotional investment can also blind you to reality, and make business decisions harder to make.
For example, your passion may lead you to misinterpret the strength of a potential market and desire for your product. So try to emotionally detach just a little, and realise that this step will actually help you reach your goals.
Stepping Out of Charge
Start-ups need intense leadership – whether they are to be a one-man-band or require a dozen employees. The problem is they also usually require investors of some sort. Then, both entrepreneur and investor blur the lines on who the leader truly is.
There’s every chance your investor does know what they are talking about, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own homework and check it out before blindly following their lead. You are the leader here – lead.
Accepting Limitations and Curbing Perfectionism
You are one person. You have limitations, and whilst this is your baby and you want perfectionism, it isn’t actually needed. You simply cannot get absolutely every element of the start-up phase accomplished with sheer perfection. Sometimes good is good enough.
When start-ups aim for perfectionism what we tend to see is one area which shines, whilst an equally important area lets the whole business down. It’s about balance.
Keep these pitfalls in mind and you’ll avoid the most common mistakes that start-ups make.