The Entrepreneur’s Corner: 16 Mistakes To Avoid When You’re Starting A Small Business

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Happy Tuesday, Entrepreneur! Welcome to this week’s issue of The Entrepreneur’s Corner. This week, we’re doing something a little different. We’re taking our business advice from several experts at a go. We’re going to cover 16 different tips from 16 different experts. And each piece of advice will be essential to your business’ success. So, are you ready? Let’s get right into it.

1. You Really Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Fail

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“The biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid of failure. Failure is key to your success, and jumping into your fear is very positive for your future business. How you pick up after failure and learn from your mistakes is the key to great success.”

Audrey Darrow: president, Righteously Raw.

2. Make A Business Plan

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“Too many businesses start without a basic plan, and if you fail to plan, you are essentially planning to fail. A startup should map out a business plan, even if it is just one page. It should include how much it costs to operate, how much they anticipate selling, who would buy their product and why.”

– Deacon Hayes: financial expert and founder,

3. Make Sure You’re Organized

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“Being organized is key. Running a small business is like being a circus ringmaster. It’s normal to have dozens of things happening at once. So, I have a daily task list, things that I need to do. And I list them by their priority. It sounds simple, but it works, and makes me far more productive.”

Tara Langdale-Schmidt: founder, VuVatech.

4. Understand Your Market—The People You’re Aiming To Sell To

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“A common startup mistake is not taking the time to understand the market or customers you’re building for. For technical founders, writing code can seem easier than talking to customers, but there’s no way to know if you’re on the right track unless you’re constantly getting feedback from current or prospective customers.

It’s important to recognize that building a great product often doesn’t translate into a successful business. Many companies find themselves focusing on a market that’s simply too small to build a big business in.”

George Deglin: co-founder and chief executive officer, One Signal.

5. Don’t Take On Everything By Yourself

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“A big mistake that entrepreneurs make is thinking they are all alone, and they try to operate independently without surrounding themselves with wise counsel. Don’t try to run a new business by yourself. Find and onboard trustworthy seasoned advisors to discuss your business ideas, strategy, challenges, and progress.

Wisdom and power exist in the multiplicity of counsel. Incentivize four to six people to join your company as advisors in order to receive continuous feedback so that fewer mistakes will occur.”

James Zimbardi: chief executive officer, Rent Items.

6. Don’t Hire Too Soon

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“By far, the biggest mistake a startup can make is hiring employees too soon, such as hiring full-timers when a part-timer might make more sense, or hiring an employee when a subcontractor could have done the same job/function. It is very easy to run a small business with part-timers, subcontractors and the services of other professionals.”

– Joseph C. Kunz Jr.: CEO and president, Dickson Keanaghan.

7. Don’t Waste Money

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“Handling money incorrectly and being irresponsible with cash flow is a death sentence for startups with limited access to capital. I’ve made the mistake of hiring too many people instead of the right people, and spending money to fill the top of the funnel without having a well-defined process to manage the bottom of the funnel.

Putting good money to bad use and trying to be everything to everyone instead of being niche-focused is a sure-fire way to waste valuable time and money, which are the lifeblood to any startup.”

Thomas Aronica: founder and chief executive officer, Biller Genie.

8. Don’t Give Yourself The Wrong Pay

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“Paying yourself too little or too much [is a mistake]. It’s often easier to determine the salary for a new hire than determining an owner or partner’s pay. Consider paying yourself a percentage of revenue. Whatever you choose, make figuring out your pay – and that of your partners – a practice and foundation to healthy expectation of management.”

Diana Santaguida: co-founder and creative director, SEOcial.


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