Tuesday July 24, 2018
By Jock Purtle
When you first decide to launch your own business, the chances are that you'll be full of excitement and expectations. There's something wonderfully freeing about making the decision to launch your own company and bring your incredible ideas to life.
Unfortunately, while there are many people out there who dream of creating fruitful ventures, only a handful achieve the success that they crave.
In a world where everyone has an opportunity to launch their own company online, it's the entrepreneurs that put extra time and effort into planning their strategy that will come out on top.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to make sure that you set yourself up for a sustainable future is to look at the most common mistakes that many entrepreneurs make. Doing this will help you to recognize when you're headed down a potentially dangerous path.
Make sure you're aware of the following traps and avoid them when you're trying to build a strong, profitable business.
Trap 1: Trying to Work without a Plan
Some studies suggest that having a business plan can double your chances of success. Yet despite this, many entrepreneurs fail to come up with a strategy before they try to launch their organization.
When you first get started, your excitement will push you to jump into action as quickly as possible.
However, failing to spend time planning your growth strategy could mean that you miss out on important opportunities to expand your organization and improve the value of your brand.
Passion will take you only some of the way in business. The rest needs to come from data, numbers, and careful planning.
Look at your marketplace and figure out which audience you'll need to target to generate the most income. Consider who your competitors are and what you can do to set yourself apart from them. Evaluate your opportunities, and make sure your idea is feasible before you bet on it.
Trap 2: Expecting to be an Instant Success
There are a handful of entrepreneurs out there that launch their startup and discover that the money starts rolling in almost instantly. While this can happen for you, it's something that is incredibly rare, and very unlikely.
Entrepreneurs need to spend time building their reputation, showing off their skills, and convincing their customers that what they're selling is worth their money.
That means you're going to need a lot of motivation, late nights, and plenty of high-quality coffee to keep you going through those initial stages. Like anything worth doing, launching a successful business takes time, effort, and patience.
Though your company might not make a massive profit within the first week, or even the 21st, time and focus will help you transform your idea into something valuable.
Trap 3: Forgetting to Promote Yourself
A lot of entrepreneurs still take the "If we build it, they will come" approach to business. There are two reasons for this.
Some companies believe that their product is so amazing and unique that it will naturally generate the word-of-mouth marketing they need to attract new customers to their door. Other organizations simply feel uncomfortable singing their own praises and have trouble writing copy that appeals to their customers.
The first thing you need to know about being a successful entrepreneur is that while word-of-mouth marketing is important, you need people to see and understand your product before they can start talking about it. You're going to need to boast about your business before anyone else will do it for you.
If you struggle with marketing copy, now's the time to reach out to some experts who can handle that side of things for you. Marketing is something that you'll need to work with throughout the life of your company.
Not only do you need to advertise your services, but you may also want to attract the attention of business brokers and buyers later down the line. After all, every great business also needs a solid exit strategy.
Trap 4: Doing Too Much, Too Soon
Business is all about growth, so it stands to reason that you'd want to scale your company as quickly as possible, right?
Well, maybe not.
While it's tempting to invest as much money into your brand as you can, as quickly as you can, so you can scale rapidly, it's important not to get ahead of yourself too quickly.
A lot of entrepreneurs end up failing because they try to move too quickly, expanding into new markets before they've had a chance to build loyalty with the customers they already have.
It's easy to get ahead of yourself in the business world, but remember that slow and steady often still wins the race. In an environment where customers want to build relationships with brands they can feel they can trust, it's important to take the growth of your firm one step at a time.
If you push too hard too quickly, you could end up losing the attention of your initial customers because your message grows too broad.
Some startups even end up running out of money during the scaling up process, and this makes it harder for them to survive long-term. Go slow and grow naturally.
Trap 5: Refusing to Let Go of the Wrong Ideas
Finally, a lot of entrepreneurs fall in love with their business ideas quickly. While it's important to be passionate about what you do, you shouldn't let your appreciation for your product or service cloud your judgment. Sometimes, no matter how good an idea might appear to be on paper, it just doesn't work at the end of the day.
If you do plenty of research and analysis before you go into the market, you should be able to avoid investing too much money into a concept that isn't going to work. However, it's important to make sure that you let go of dead ideas in the early stages before you put too much of yourself into them.
That doesn't mean giving up when the going gets tough. Instead, it means being able to recognize when your idea simply isn't going to work. A new approach or a different angle might save you a lot of wasted money and time.
Jock Purtle is the founder of DigitalExits.com, and a passionate entrepreneur. As an industry leader and expert on the valuations of high-growth companies, he knows what it takes to turn a business into a profit powerhouse. His opinions and insights have been featured in publications like Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider and many more.