Five Most Common New Business Mistakes & How to Fix Them
This article takes a look at common mistakes made by new businesses and offers pointers on how to remedy them.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Q. "Some time ago, I put up a website
for my new
business, and I haven't attracted a single customer!
Coaches have suggested optimizing for search engines,
promoting myself through live events, branding and
banishing negative thoughts. I'm feeling dizzy.
A. When you're spending time, money and energy
with no results, you're probably making at least one of these
five deadly mistakes. Here's now to get back on track.
Mistake #1. Assuming a market exists for
every business idea.
The Fix: Before
spending more money, be sure you've identified customers with
an ability and a willingness to buy. Choose a market that not
only loves your idea, but can afford to buy your service. And
go for low-hanging fruit: a market that values your service and
expects to pay for it.
Mistake #2: Focusing on a narrow slice
The Fix: Think
strategy first, specialists second. Consultants can resemble
fable of the ten blind men and the elephant. Web
designers will encourage a website makeover.
Copywriters will critique your choice of words.
Mistake #3: Tossing all your marketing
budget into one basket
The Fix: Spend
frugally (but professionally) while building
your customer base.
Want to host a catered party with live music and catered refreshments?
Test your market with low-cost panel discussions, free content
articles and speeches to community groups. Want a brilliant
website? Start with a simple calling card, minus the flash.
Spend big bucks after you've learned what works.
Mistake #4: Listening to cheerleaders and
The Fix: Learn
to ignore advice to "just dive in" before you've learned
to swim. And run from those who warn, "You'll probably go
under" before you step into the pool.
Create your own support team of experts who can give you a balanced,
realistic perspective. By arming yourself with information, you
can not only survive but thrive in your new venture. And confidence
comes from information combined with experiences of small but
Mistake #5: Saying, "If this doesn't
work, I can always get a job."
The Fix: Operate from a position of strength. Get an interim
source of income before money gets tight. Your old job will
be different, even after six months. And after six months of
testing the business waters, your old job will seem different.
You may not be able to go home again.
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