What (Not) to Do When Starting a Small Business

Your passion for starting a business can lead to a fulfilling career. Even when you think you have done everything right, things can go wrong. Many people just like you have started out with good intentions but ended in failure.

So, as you launch your new company, knowing what NOT to do is just as important as knowing what you should do. Prepare yourself the right way by avoiding the following pitfalls when starting a new business venture.

1. Skip the Business Plan

By going through a methodical planning process, you can figure out whether your new enterprise has potential. You can expect to invest a lot of time researching your product and market, but that investment can keep you from wasting time and money on a bad concept.

Additionally, after determining that your idea has potential, you have a chance to create a strategy for moving forward. Although you probably will have to regularly update your plan, it will still help you focus your time on what matters most.

After finishing your business plan, you can use it to help pitch your business idea to investors and financial institutions.

2. Not Registering Your Business

Some business owners make the mistake of failing to register their businesses. Different rules may apply to you depending on where you locate and how you organize your business.

Registering your business helps to prevent other people from using your name. Also, you obtain licenses and other documentation that proves the legitimacy of your business. Consequently, your registration can help you create accounts with banks and vendors.

Your legal and tax liabilities may also depend on how you register your business. For example, no difference exists between you and your sole proprietorship. However, an LLC or corporation can operate as a separate entity.

3. Renting an Office Right Away

Starting your business from home can save you time and money while you work toward growth and profitability. By relying on technology, you can communicate and collaborate with other stakeholders in real time. On the other hand, renting an office can considerably increase your overhead, challenging your limited resources. You might argue that having a separate office provides benefits, like boundaries between your personal and professional life. It helps you avoid the distractions that surround you while working at home. However, with proper tools and organization, you can achieve the same benefits when working from home.

So, while both alternatives have advantages and disadvantages, you should avoid renting facilities until your business can afford it.

4. Doing Everything Yourself

As you launch your business, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the administrative and other tasks needed for your operation. When this happens, you lose the ability to focus on the talents and capabilities that inspired you to launch your new venture.

Rather than falling into the trap of doing everything yourself, get help. For example, plenty of accountants are around who do that type of work full time. By depending on their expertise you free your time to deliver value to your customers.

Meanwhile, look for other ways to delegate responsibilities to employees, freelancers, and third-party providers. When you do, every part of your business gets its deserved attention.

5. Not Having a Failure Plan

You started a business to succeed. Right? Despite your good intentions, you should have contingencies in place. More often than not, business owners assume success rather than failure.

In reality, many new startups fail. Knowing this, you should have a plan in place that will guide you if the worst happens.

In addition to having options available for work, you should also have enough money reserved to sustain you until you start generating income.

6. Thinking a Good Product is Enough

Never assume that your success depends only on having a good product. Many companies before you have had innovative, high-quality products, but still failed. Similarly, some businesses offer questionable products and seem to thrive.

Businesses need exceptional branding and marketing to shape public perception in ways that lead to success. Connect with target audiences who need what you offer and explain to them why you represent the perfect solution to their problems, needs and desires.

Furthermore, you need to emphasize customer service. Every time a customer has a question, issue or complaint, you need to do everything possible to find a satisfactory resolution.

7. Choosing Your Brand Name in a Hurry

Having the wrong name can create an insurmountable obstacle for your business. For one thing, some startup owners get in a rush and put themselves at risk. The wrong name may violate the rights of other business owners and can make them liable for infringing on registered trade and service marks.

Invest as much time as necessary researching possible names for your business and brand. Simultaneously, you should research available website domain names to make sure that you can maintain a consistent online and offline presence.

Moreover, you need to perform market research to make sure that you choose a name that resonates with your target market.

Amidst the excitement of starting a business, you need to make sure that you do everything right. By taking some sensible precautions, you can avoid the above mistakes and set a strong foundation for your success. With the right time, effort and research, you can achieve your dreams.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows.

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