by Deborah A Bailey
For many of us, starting and running a business isn’t something that comes naturally. In school we’re instructed in how to choose careers, not start businesses.
If this is new to you, you will not learn how to do it after just one class in marketing, sales or writing a business plan. You will have to adjust your entire way of thinking.
Here are some mistakes that new business owners should watch out for (some of them will be familiar to you even if you’ve been in business for a while).
1. Spending lots of money on things you don’t need. If you aren’t selling a lot of products you may not need a shopping cart. Don’t plan on big product launches or obsess over having thousands of social media followers if you’re just starting out. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure if you try to follow the gurus (who have built their businesses over time) and believe that you can achieve the same success in 5, 8 or 10 easy steps.
2. Not wanting to spend any money on things you do need. There are a lot of free applications and online tools, and that’s great. But at some point you must start to invest in your business either by hiring experts to help you, buying tools, or by investing in training. You may be able to do lot of things on a shoestring, but if you want to grow your business you have to invest in it.
3. Wanting to stay in your comfort zone. If you are doing something you’ve never done (which is something business owners deal with everyday) then you will feel uncomfortable at times. If you let fear stop you from having new experiences, your business will suffer.
4. Letting other people define your success. At one time or another we’ve all been drawn into the group-think about what defines success. Is it making 6 figures? 7 figures? Going on exotic vacations? Having 20K followers on Twitter? There as many definitions as there are businesses. You can go broke following someone else’s idea of what success looks like. Yes, you can model successful people, but if you’re trying to recreate their experience it won’t work. Either you’re following your own path or you are not.
5. Not knowing how to sell. The good thing is that you don’t have to act like the stereotypical used car salesman in order to do so. If you believe in what you’re selling and you enjoy sharing it with others, that’s half the battle. However, don’t get caught in the trap of believing you can put your business on auto-pilot and it runs itself. It won’t. Even “passive income” products have to be marketed and sold. You’ll have to get out there and get the job done.
6. Believing that you can achieve huge results with very little effort. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of claims being made in order to cut through the noise and get our attention. Do yourself a favor and read the fine print. You’ll usually find something that says, “results are not typical.” Often the results that a few people achieve are represented as the average result of using a product or service. Don’t let desperation lead to you to make choices you’ll regret later on.
7. Not being clear on what you really want. What does your ideal business look like? Have you created goals for what you want to achieve? Do you have a vision for your life and your business? If not, it’s time to start creating one. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?
We can all learn from mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up for making them. Building a business is a journey, just be open to learning and growing as you go along.
Copyright © 2010 Deborah A. Bailey
Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .” She's also the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio, a weekly internet talk show. Her fiction work includes a short story collection and a novel, available on Amazon.com.
For more information, visit http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com.