Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Business
It is estimated that something like 20% of new businesses fail within a year of starting up, and 50% within the first three years. These are grim numbers, especially for anyone who is considering starting up their own business. Fortunately, there is an upside, looking at those figures in a slightly different way, 80% of all new business survive their first year and 50% make it to at least three years.
What anyone looking to start their own company needs to do is to analyse what the businesses that succeeded did, that the ones that failed didn’t. There are in fact a number of common mistakes that failed businesses have made and knowing what they are will give newcomers the necessary knowledge to help them avoid falling into the same trap.
Business failures are often blamed on insufficient start up capital or not hiring the right people. The truth however, is that the failure of many new businesses comes down to something far closer to home, a failure to thoroughly research the potential viability of the business in the first place. Believing you have a great idea and throwing money into getting it up and running, without first having undertaken proper market research is the number one killer for the majority of new businesses. Fortunately there are ways to avoid this by carrying out relatively simple surveys yourself, without breaking the bank on expensive market research organisations before you have even begun.
Test out the viability of your business by asking the opinion and advice of your own network of contacts. Take a look at government data on such things; it is almost always available completely free of charge. Take a look at businesses operating in areas similar to yours and see if they are succeeding or failing. If they are profitable take a look at why, and find out whom they are selling their products or services to. One of the most common mistakes made by new businesses is that of over estimating the market impact that they will have. Setting up in a larger than necessary office or shop; hiring too many people and purchasing unnecessary and expensive equipment based on cash flow projections that have more to do with hope than reality, are the quickest ways imaginable to send a new business to the wall.
The importance of accurate market research and enforcing a strict cost control regime cannot be overstated. Never be afraid to seek professional, expert advice on financial issues, preferably from an experienced business accountant or financial adviser. Make sure you have enough money to get your business idea up and running and have contingency plans in place should it fail to take off in a short period of time. Also be aware that situations can arise that are entirely beyond your control, such as interest rate rises, for example. Having healthy cash reserves to get you through an unforeseen crisis is an absolute requirement in this day and age.
A professional business plan is an essential tool for starting up a new business successfully and it is highly advisable to draw one up, or have one drawn up for you, before you embark on your new business venture.
If you can avoid these common mistakes, your business will have a much greater chance of becoming the profitable success you obviously expect it to be.