9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Business

Are you facing difficulty managing your new business and facing unexpected struggles right from the start?

You likely wouldn’t be in this position if you had the proper guidance before your launch. Such disasters happen when you are not ready to face something or do not have the instructions to do it the right way.

It is just like jumping into the water without a life jacket when you don’t know how to swim. It is always better to be prepared with for every circumstance and have a plan to move forward, no matter what.

If you have shut down your previous business or are looking for tips to improve your current business’ status, you’re in the right place. Throughout this article, we’ll highlight some things business owners often wish they knew BEFORE they launched their business.

Instead of learning from your own mistakes, why not find ways to avoid those mistakes by learning from others who made them before you?

Let’s get started!

Mistake #1: Failing to research your market and niche

It is very important to understand the market and the niche you’re looking to enter. You need to understand the competition, the target audience, the full scope of the market and more.

Having this info in hand will allow you to know where you have to go and what you need to do in order to make it happen.

You need to look at how much you’ll need to spend to make a splash in your market. Sometimes, that can require a significant ad spend depending on your industry. That said, there are also tons of affordable marketing and growth tactics available that can save your budget and still put your business on the map.

Beyond understanding your market, you need to understand your particular niche within that market. Is your product trendy in the market, is it a problem solver for problems people frequently face in the. market, is there a need for the specific audience within the market? These are all questions you need to answer.

Another thing could be the pricing. What are your competitors pricing similar products at? Can you beat them there, or should you shoot for a premium charge to portray the idea that your product is better?

The point is, you really need to dig in and understand both the market and your niche within that market.

Suggested Reading: Free (or Inexpensive) Tools to Improve Your Digital Marketing

Mistake #2: Making hasty decisions

Unless you have serious experience in making a specific decision, then you’ll want to hold on making hasty decisions. While you’ll need to make quick, risky decisions at time, when you can apply more time to the decision making process, do so.

Making snap decisions simply based on intuition, a hunch or vague advice from a colleague can lead to trouble. When making decisions that impact the future of your business, make sure to weigh your options and think through possible outcomes before moving forward.

If you feel you can’t make a decision you trust on your own, talk to a professional business consultant who could analyze the situation better than you and provide you with focused direction.

Mistake #3: Thinking the money will roll in from day 1

To succeed in business, you need to be patient. If you plant a seed today, a tree won’t suddenly sprout up tomorrow stocked with ample fruit. Just like in the tree example, growing your business takes time.

Thus, you can’t expect to make a profit days, weeks, or maybe even until five years after you launch. It takes time to get there, and along the way you’ll need to manage your expenses, inventory, and customer feedback to improve your store and get the right employees on board.

Give yourself at least 6 months to assess where your business is headed. You should be seeing money rolling in by that point, but don’t hang your head if that hasn’t translated to a profit just yet. Your hard work always pays off. Sooner or later. Keep your head up!

Mistake #4: Not focusing on your communication skills

Communication is an art, not everybody knows how to do it the right way. Most successful entrepreneurs have mastered the art of communication, and they can slip into a conversation with virtually anyone.

Strong communication skills can help you build relationships with customers, investors, partners, and other stakeholders. They can truly help drive your business’ success.

Failing to develop communication skills will seriously slow down your progress. If you don’t know how to network and build relationships, you are setting your business way behind.

Mistake #5: Taking on too much and not delegating

As a business owner, you often find yourself with too many responsibilities. One problem for many entrepreneurs, however, is finding the willingness to pass those responsibilities on to others.

From pitching investors to planning your marketing, making important business decisions to finalizing deals and building partnerships, along with all the other things involved in running a business, you are busy!

In order to take some weight off of you and avoid burning out, you need to hire employees, bring on agencies and consultants to help get work done.

For example, if your are planning to launch your mobile app for your business, simply hire an app developer so you don’t have to waste your time and effort.  Even if you have the expertise, if you spend all your time building the app, you won’t be able to focus on the important things you need to do to grow the business. As such, you may end up with an amazing app, but no one will be using it.

You are an entrepreneur. Your most vital role should be making decisions. If you aren’t able to delegate to others, your decision making will suffer along with your business.

Mistake #6: Going it alone

Going solo is ok and can be done, but when two people partner to work together, their chances for obtaining a profit margin increases. Plus, liability can be divided by two instead of one, depending upon the type of business setup you have in place.

You should also look to build relationships with suppliers, as well as partner organizations who are willing to co-promote your products with their products. You can go further faster if you reach out and get a little help from your friends.

Mistake #7: Not realizing making money isn’t the same as making a profit

Making money and making a profit are different things. Let’s suppose you are earning amount of revenue but all of that profit is expensed out in inventory, wages, buying supplies, and paying bills. In the end, what you earn is going out at the same time.

Where did you make profit? Nowhere. For true profit to occur, you must revisit where you are spending your money and why all the money you earn is being put back into the business rather than appearing as profit.

Find ways to save so you can start piling up that profit and making some real earnings. The saved money will later be used to expand your current business, and you can also invest it in some land or property or other assets.

Mistake #8: Not focusing on cash flow

Make sure you are accurately tracking cash flow to know where you stand each month and throughout the year. How much revenue came into business and through what source? And where did you spend that cash?

You need to know what cash is flowing in and out of your business at all times. You don’t want to be caught by surprise and find you have no cash, or worse, you’re seriously in debt.

Mistake #9: Being a poor leader

Leadership qualities are the most important things you can develop to be successful in your career and as a business owner.

Building these qualities will help you guide your team and drive your business more smoothly. It will improve the productivity of the workforce, and you will fine-tune the ability to succeed under high pressure. Your leadership will allow you to maintain a culture of innovation and creative solutions.

Confidence becomes your ultimate power. Lead by example and show your team you have their backs The workplace should be calm and friendly, and it’s your job to set the tone.

Conclusion

Building a successful business is not easy. Fortunately, you can learn from those who launch businesses (successfully and not so successfully) before you.

Bookmark these 9 mistake that business owners make, and actively take steps to avoid making these mistakes yourself.

Have you run into other mistakes along your own, unique path? If so, let us know in the comments!

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Asjad Addy
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Summary

4 thoughts on “9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Business”

  1. Hey Asjad,

    “The things I wish I knew before starting”, man, I should have read posts like these 12 long years ago. Thankfully, I didn’t strike off all of these points as the mistakes I made, but Boy! I did make some nasty ones.

    I think I still make mistakes (as it were), if you think about it. However, now-a-days, these are intentionall (just because of the way I am):

    For instance, I still don’t delegate. No help whatsoever (although using a virtual assistant would be a great idea now).

    This one is a good knock on my head ?

    Ash

    Reply
    • They hit home for most of us as we move along in our efforts, I think. I know I’ve made some mistakes along the way, and you just have to look at them as lessons learned. It’s nice, however, to read something like this earlier in the journey and avoid things that others have already fallen victim to! 🙂 Hope all is well, and thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. Hi Asjad, great tips! I started almost 3 years ago with my business full-time as I had started part-time while still working a 9-5 job. #’s 5 and 7 were the first 2 things I learned quickly! I had to have a few freelancers to work for me to get everything done and then of course #7 hit me. By year 2 I had to raise rates. I wish I had higher rates when I started as you oftentimes may forget how long things actually take to get done! That would be my tip to be sure you are getting paid enough for your products and/or services. I don’t think I could go back to a 9-5 after managing my own business. I may work many more hours but at least it’s on my own terms Asjad 🙂

    Reply
    • Those are great points, Lisa. A lot of new business owners sell themselves short with quotes, and we end up making a lot less on a project than expected. I’ve been there. I learned quickly that my time and experience were worth much more than I was charging! Delegation is another important factor in success for a business owner. You can’t do everything alone. It’s tempting to try so you can gain all the financial benefits, but then you realize that you’re likely missing out on other work that you could have had if you had freed yourself up from other projects. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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