There’s no single route to startup success, and if there were a manual that showed you the one true way, it would take fun out of the process. However, there are definitely some roads that you don’t want to go down. When you know what they are, you can avoid making the same startup mistakes that many a failed startup before you have made.
Perhaps ironically, the first step is to shed your terror of failure. This is one of the common reasons startups fail, however this doesn’t mean taking a cavalier attitude about your business, but it does mean embracing a risk mindset and seeing failure as a chance to grow and learn rather than a judgment on your abilities. Read some biographies or autobiographies of business leaders to get perspective on how they handle failure and go on to even greater successes. Decide ahead of time that when you fail–because everyone who tries difficult things will not find success at every turn–you will pick yourself up and try again.
Not Organizing Your Finances
There are moving parts to getting your finances in order, from making sure you have a good process in place for staying on top of what is going out and what is coming in, to ensuring that you have some money in reserve to keep your cash flow healthy even if no one is paying their invoices this month. You can look into taking out a business loan to cover some of your expenses. This doesn’t necessarily mean borrowing a lot of money if you don’t need it. Loans are available in different sizes, and you can apply for a loan that offers additional perks such as support networks and educational resources.
Not Having Your Paperwork in Order
Not getting your paperwork in order from the start can have a variety of consequences from the merely painful, realizing you’re behind on quarterly taxes and having to scramble to catch up, to the disastrous, failing to protect your intellectual property. Make sure that you have done everything necessary in your industry to file the correct registration papers, choose the right business entity for your needs, and remain compliant with any regulations.
Being a Lone Wolf
A corollary to the above points about organizing your finances and legal matters is the error of trying to do everything yourself. You may not be at a point where you can afford to hire staff, but a few hours of a lawyer or accountant’s time can save you money in the long run. In addition, make a point to network with other business owners, and look for mentors and others you can partner with.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
This can take many different forms. Sometimes it looks like making promises about your capacity for providing goods and services that you can’t keep. Other times, it means trying to do too many things instead of finding your niche or simply attempting to work beyond your capacity. Everyone needs food, sleep, and a little down time, even the most successful entrepreneurs.