Expensive Rookie Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Needs To Avoid

The current state of your industry may be a little daunting, but every business starts somewhere. Richard Branson started off as a one-man-band, delivering cassettes by mail order. While it’s certainly possible to turn a fledgling start-up into a multinational giant, that initial period is extremely important for your future success. Here are a few big mistakes you need to avoid as an inexperienced entrepreneur.

Treating Employees as Friends

Okay, I’m not saying that in order to be a successful business owner, you need to be some kind of tyrannical Murdoch-esque figure. It’s good to be friendly and sociable with the people who work for you, but only up to a certain point. If you’re always chatting to your employees about your personal life, and going for drinks with them after work, it’s going to be much harder to be professional as and when you need to be. You’ll have to talk about their performance in a purely objective way, and occasionally fire people for the greater good of the business. As you can imagine, that traditional after-work drink will be a little awkward if you’ve personally fired the person in question less than an hour ago! Treat your employees with kindness and respect, but make sure the relationship is professional before it becomes personal.

Investing Too Little in Marketing

One of the most common mistakes you see time and time again in new business owners is grossly underestimating the amount they need to market themselves. Yes, if your product or service is good enough you’ll get a lot of word-of-mouth referrals, and modern digital marketing tactics have made it much easier for small businesses to compete with larger firms. However, as a general rule, you should be marketing way, way more than you think you need to. Your time and money may be constrained, but you’re not going to free any of it up if people don’t know your business exists. Aside from hiring dedicated staff or outsourcing your marketing to independent firms, you should also be setting time aside to educate yourself on modern marketing conventions, and keeping your business ahead of the curve.

Failing to Keep Track of Tasks

If you ask an employee to get something done by a certain date or time, and then fail to follow up on this, you’re only going to undermine your own authority. You’ll send everyone a message that deadlines aren’t all that important to the successful running of the business, and this certainly shouldn’t be the case! If you’re taking on a lot of new employees, and you’re finding it hard to keep track of the tasks you’ve delegated, then find a way around it. If you’re savvy enough with excel, you can compose a task management system. Alternatively, you may want to invest in something like Trello, which allows you to set and monitor work easily, and keeps all your staff up to date on what they should be doing and when.

As you jump into your first business, avoid these mistakes like the plague!

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