This post may contain affiliate links, for more information see our disclaimer.
Creating a successful business is not easy. Beginner entrepreneurs will make many mistakes and deal with a fair share of hardships. The failures and blunders you’ll face are all a part of the process. Learning from your errors is key to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Failure will strengthen your entrepreneurial skillset, but you don’t want to make any mistakes that will ruin your business.
Taking the time to properly prepare will give you an advantage and minimize some unwelcome surprises later on.
Luckily, some of the mistakes beginner entrepreneurs make can be avoided if you’re willing to do your homework. Studying others that have experience is one of the best ways to fast track your success.
Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes
1. Being Unteachable
As a beginner entrepreneur, you need to be teachable. Thinking you know everything may end up ruining or slowing down your business. If you don’t allow yourself to learn from other successful business owners, you are doomed from the start.
It’s nearly impossible to have everything figured out, especially when you are just starting. Keep an open mind and listen to those willing to guide you. This doesn’t mean you have to follow everyone’s advice, but if you don’t allow yourself to be taught, you will never learn.
2. Not Making a Business Plan
It’s quite surprising how many entrepreneurs fail to make a business plan. Without a business plan, you lack the structure every business needs. Creating a formal business plan shows that you are serious about your business.
A business plan is there to guide you; it should be followed and updated regularly. When you create your plan, you’re organizing your ideas into a structured strategy. Without any organization, you’re just guessing your way through each stage of building your business.
Think of a business plan as a roadmap–It will help you get where you need to go. A beginner entrepreneur lacks the experience of creating a business and desperately needs direction. Without a concrete business plan, you’ll end up lost, frustrated, and without any way to measure your success.
3. Disregarding Feedback
As an entrepreneur, you should be seeking as much feedback as possible. You want feedback from all sorts of different people. Your friends and family are likely to be too nice and just tell you how great you’re doing. Encouragement is always welcome, but look for those willing to be completely honest.
You will get feedback that you disagree with, and that is okay. Understand why they feel differently and find out how or if you should improve. If you always ignore feedback that you disagree with, you’ll likely miss some serious flaws within your business.
In the end, it is your business and your vision. You need to be able to decipher bad feedback from good constructive feedback that can help your business succeed. Your customer is almost always right, and they will be the first to tell you that something isn’t working.
4. Doing Little or No Research
Similar to how beginner investors will purchase stocks without researching the company, beginner entrepreneurs often start businesses without doing any research. Failing to sufficiently research your business idea will come back to bite you.
Entrepreneurs that don’t do any or enough research can end up wasting massive amounts of valuable time. You may find out later down the road that your idea isn’t even feasible. Nothing is more discouraging than spending years working on a business that never had a chance to succeed.
A business owner can get married to their failing business instead of cutting their losses and moving on. You can prevent all of this heartache by doing your homework, testing your idea, and researching the long-term profitability.
5. Forgetting to Identify a Target Audience
It’s common for beginners to think the entire planet is their target audience. They fear if they only focus on a specific audience, they will lose sales. You need to understand that it’s enormously difficult for a small business to appeal to everyone.
If you don’t identify your target audience or your niche, you’ll waste time and money. Your marketing will mostly be “hoping.” You’ll be hoping the right people find your business. Visualize what your customer looks like, what they think, how they spend their time and money.
Once you have identified your target audience, your marketing will be much more effective and less costly. If you know who has the problem your business can solve, the sales will roll in, almost like magic.
6. Failing to Think Long Term
You need to think about the long-term viability of your business. There is an overabundance of fly-by-night entrepreneurs looking to make some quick money. The problem with short-term business ideas is that by the time you’ve positioned yourself to make money, the fad has already died.
One example that comes to mind of entrepreneurs failing to think long-term is fidget spinners.
The fidget spinner was explosively popular at first, and many were eager to get in. However, they ended up stuck with a ton of trinkets that nobody wanted anymore.
Think about what obstacles can come up with your business. Think about how you will scale once you begin to grow.
Don’t get stuck on a short-term idea that won’t last the test of time. If your business isn’t solving a problem, it isn’t going to last very long.
7. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
There is nothing wrong with doing everything while your business is still growing. There is, however, something wrong with never getting help when you are clearly overwhelmed.
If your company has grown enough to outsource some of your work, then you should outsource some of your work.
Find out what you don’t like to do or find something you know can be done better by someone else. If you are simply stuck on how much it will cost, you need to get over that.
Spending money on quality outside help is an investment. If you believe in your business and are dedicated enough to see it succeed, this shouldn’t be an issue.
8. Failure to Adapt
We discussed the importance of thinking long term. The next step is to allow yourself to adapt to changes in market trends. No one can predict the future, so you need to be prepared for when things change.
Sears is an excellent example of a business that failed to adapt to changing market trends. If the company had pivoted into online sales sooner, it would likely be thriving today instead, it went bankrupt.
You need to be willing to accept change and pay close attention to changes in consumer behavior. Don’t be stubborn, or it could end up costing you your business.
9. Procrastinating & Day Dreaming
This mistake is one that almost every beginner entrepreneur makes. You fantasize about your business; you discuss it with friends and tell everyone how great it is. Then when push comes to shove, you don’t take any action to make it a reality.
The term for an entrepreneur that doesn’t take action is called a “wantrepreneur.”
Entrepreneurs put in the hard work to make their ambitions come to fruition. Wantrepreneurs lie to themselves and think they are an entrepreneur but always seem to have an excuse why nothing is happening.
It’s okay to daydream and visualize what your business will look like in the future. You just need to be sure you’re doing what it takes to make it happen.
10. Giving up Too Soon
Some entrepreneurs don’t know when to give up on a failing business, but that’s much rarer than entrepreneurs who give up too soon. You must be patient and disciplined and see things through. If you always quit when the going gets tough, you’ll never get anywhere.
It can take years for a business to become profitable. You’ll need to be passionate enough about your entrepreneurial aspirations so that they don’t die a premature death.
The difficulty that comes along with starting a business is another thing that separates the wantrepreneurs from the entrepreneurs.
Failure, mistakes, mishaps, setbacks, it is a huge part of being an entrepreneur and a part of life. Learn from your mistakes and grow from your failures. Some of these mistakes can be avoided, and some cannot.
As an entrepreneur, you must have the stamina and will power to not let the fear of failure hold you back. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing at all.