For many of us, starting and running a business isn’t something that comes naturally. In school we learned how to become employees, not how to start businesses.
The thing is, when you start a business, it's not just about mastering balance sheets and income statements. It's also about adjusting your entire way of thinking.
1. Spending money on things you don’t need.
If you're just starting out, don't plan on starting at the top. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure if you try to follow the gurus (who've built their businesses over time) and believe that you can quickly achieve the same success.
Investing in websites and logos and all sorts of pretty things can be fun, I'll admit. Picking out colors for your branding is a lot less threatening than making a sales call. But which activity is more likely to grow your business?
Bottom line--what do you really need right now? Will that new coaching program really give you the info you need? Do you have measurable results that will come from taking that class? Or is it all a distraction? A way to keep planning but never actually doing? If it will really help you, then make the investment. But take the time to figure out if that money might be better spent elsewhere.
2. Not wanting to spend 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 have to invest in your business. Decide what's really necessary and what isn't. When we become obsessed with the latest bright, shiny object, we can get sidetracked. When you're unsure of your next steps, that new thing can look like the answer to all your problems.
At some point, you'll have to invest in things that will help to grow your business. Not sure how to make that decision? That brings me to point #3.
3. Not defining your own success.
At one time or another we’ve all been drawn into the group-think about what success is. Is it making 6 figures? 7 figures? Having thousands of social media fans and followers? Having enough money to buy anything and everything you want?
Sure, 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. What does your ideal business look like? Do you have goals for what you want to achieve--and a way to measure them? What's your long-term vision for success?
If you can't answer any of those questions, your business will be in trouble. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?
We learn from our mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up for making them. Just take the time right now to decide what you want to achieve and why you want it. Then set realistic goals so that you have signposts along the way. That's how we can course correct when things go off track. Once you know where you're heading with your business, you can make decisions that will help you grow it.
Copyright © 2015 Deborah A. Bailey
Photo Credit: аrtofdreaming via Compfight cc
For more information on this topic, check out my Women Entrepreneurs Radio show episode and listen to my discussion with entrepreneur Ling Wong.
Deborah A. Bailey is a writer, coach, blogger and author of four non-fiction books, four novels and a short story collection. She's the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio™ , a weekly podcast. For more information about Deborah visit her site: http://DeborahABailey.com.