It’s an exciting time when you start a business. You are at the beginning of a - hopefully - long and successful story.
But, with so much excitement in the air, it’s easy to make some fundamental errors.
I’ve put together a list of some of the threats that might be lurking if you don’t keep your eye on the ball - let’s take a closer look!
Investing everything you have
First up, your idea might be the best the world has ever seen. You might have people telling you there is no way you can fail. And, there could be a clamor at your door for sales before you even launch your product or service. But whatever you do, don’t believe the hype. As an entrepreneur, you are likely to be an extreme optimist, which can lead you to making some silly financial decisions. You might put all your life's savings into turning your idea into a reality, for example. The trouble is, many things are standing in your way between having an idea and turning it into a viable and fruitful business. Never put all your eggs in one basket, or your startup dream could end up ruining you.
Failure to investigate the market
You need to have a long, hard look at the market you intend to serve. Doing this will give you several things. First of all, you can find out if your product or service is wanted by consumers. It will also give you the opportunity to see how the land lies with the competition. Are there people already selling what you sell, or are you doing anything different? Finally, market research will give you an indication of how much you might sell. Again, it’s easy to overestimate this figure when you are an optimist. It’s best to take a lower figure as a rough guide so you can plan your manufacturing or production accordingly.
Not protecting your assets
A business that does not have a secure footing won’t last five minutes when it launches or grows. Make sure you start off on the right foot by taking care of your legal responsibilities. Set up your taxes, create your legal structure, and protect your intellectual property. You should also do a thorough trademark check to ensure no one else is using your company name. You have a lot more assets, of course. Insure your equipment, invest in technology and consider getting into the habit of backing up your important files. Lose them, and you could pay a heavy price in the not-too-distant future.
PR is not a good idea until you get to a certain stage of your product or service development. Don’t waste our money on hyping up a product that doesn’t exist yet. You can do some of the basics, of course. A website can be a handy tool for generating some early interest, for example. But in general, the best idea is to build up a group of early adopters organically and put your money into developing - and completing - the product. As you get nearer to your launch date, it’s time to start thinking about ramping up and looking into PR - but certainly not before.
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