Common Mistakes StartUp Companies Make:

Starting a business from scratch can be daunting even for the most ambitious entrepreneur. There are a lot of conflicting opinions on what you should be doing, but there are a few things that many founders agree you definitely should not. I’ve put together here a quick list of mistakes to avoid when you’re setting up a start-up.

Picking the Wrong Employees

When founding a start-up company, your employees will be your greatest assets. It’s important to weigh up salary expectations against the skills you require. Often companies will turn to interns as a way of keeping costs low, but if you don’t have the resources to train up junior staff members you could end up costing yourself in the long run. Instead, invest in talent in the areas that will be most important during your early years, such as tech, marketing and customer service.

Not only do you need people with the right skills and experience, it’s important to find people who share your company ethos. Your first staff members will often end up being your core team, and will have major input in the way the company is run, so it’s important that you hire employees that share your vision and ideals. You also need to ensure you find people who understand the nature of start-up businesses: there will often be long hours and unexpected problems to tackle, and you need a team behind you who are willing to put in the hard work it takes to develop your business.

Setting High Expectations

Unfortunately, there are no fairy-tales in the start-up world. Even the most successful start-ups have taken a long time to establish themselves. Many companies make the mistake of setting themselves high targets during their first year and suffer a drop in morale when they fail to reach them.

While it’s good to look at the rest of the market to get an idea of what you should be aiming for, don’t expect to be hitting the same heights as well-established organisations.

It can also be tempting to present ambitious projections to potential investors, but it’s important to stay realistic. It’s far better to exceed a reasonable target than it is to miss an excessive one.

Being Afraid of Change

Most start-ups are set up because the founders are passionate about their idea and their business, so it can be tough to let go of that original plan. But what looks good in theory sometimes doesn’t work in practice, so one of the most important attributes in a start-up business is flexibility.

Trial and error might not be the fastest way to learn, but it’s often the most efficient. If you realise that your processes aren’t as efficient as they could be, get inspired by a competitor company or site or notice you’re attracting a different market than you originally thought, don’t be afraid to change course – even if it means putting aside work that’s already been done. It’ll be well worth it in the long run. A starup company CEO and the founders always have to be on the proverbial ball, practically 24/7!

Related: A Startup CEO Secrets Revealed

Ignoring the Budget

When you’re working on a project you love, it can be all too easy to get swept up in the idea and forget about the practicalities. It might be frustrating to be held back by the budget, but it’s far better than overreaching and running your business into the ground.

Entrepreneurs tend to be natural gamblers – after all, it’s a big risk to set up your own company – and that can be a habit that’s hard to break. It’s often tempting to pour money into an idea that you’re sure will make you big returns, but there are never any guarantees. You have to be prepared for your ideas to fail – no matter how sure you are they won’t – and think about what that will mean for your company financially. Is it a risk you can afford to take? And, importantly, is it worth it?

Not Creating an Identity

There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from market leaders, but often small companies will try and replicate the tone of voice or trademark style of popular brands. If you’re not offering anything new or unique, your audience will have no reason to stray from the brands they’ve already tried and tested.

Figure out what makes your company unique and capitalize on it. That might be your product, or it could be your ethos, your business model or even the audience you’re catering for. Make sure your USP is clearly highlighted – preferably in your name or tagline, so that it’s easily associated with your brand.

You can also use your advertising and your web presence to give your brand a clear identity. Try and convey a consistent personality through your copy and imagery; ideally, your brand’s style should be instantly recognizable.

Have you started your own company? Tell us about the mistakes you’ve learned the most from in the comments below. Or, if you’re still in the early stages, what’s the best advice you’ve received so far?

Aniket Warty

Aniket Warty

Adventure Capitalist. The creation of wealth is merely an extension of my innate freedom to produce.

4 thoughts on “Common Mistakes StartUp Companies Make

  1. As a small business owner myself I can admit I have certainly been guilty of one or two of these. They really are simple traps to fall in, I’m glad someone is out there trying to help newcomers avoid these common problems.

  2. Wow, I should print this out and keep it up in my office. You really know your stuff Aniket, thanks for keeping me on my toes!

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