Prevent Business Failure, Avoid These 9 Fatal Start-up Mistakes

Prevent Business Failure, Avoid These 9 Fatal Start-up Mistakes

If you are putting plans in place or thinking about starting a small business, you are probably familiar with the statics of business failure. There is a lot of information out there on how likely you are to succeed or fail.  I’m not going to go into those because I don’t believe in them. I think the new future is all about small business and that everyone, no matter who they are, is capable of starting up and running a business. If you are willing to do the work. It’s the same with dreams. If you want something, and are committed enough to doing it, you will. Simple as that.

One thing I really push in my trainings is that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. People have a hard time getting their heads around it though. If you take away that fear of failure, then the sky is not even the new limit, it’s an exhilarating starting point. Which brings people into the fear of success, what if I DO get everything I want?! Fear is the biggest thing that holds people back from achieving success in their lives, regardless of what success means to them.

The Psychology of Small Business

As a small business start-up expert, I work with entrepreneurs in groups as well as one-on-one to get them moving towards their dream.

This is what I know straight up. Businesses don’t fail. People give up on them. Actually, you can broaden that right out, even if you aren’t starting a small business, dreams don’t ever fail, you just stop working towards them.

Lots of different things contribute to quitting. Personal beliefs, values and old emotions work either with you or against you in your pursuit of happiness.

While we are all different and unique I see the same strategies playing out over and over again. In my Neuro Linguistic Programming training and in my other courses, such as Entrepreneur Now, we look at modelling positive and successful behaviour.

While the pathway and methods of successful people are unique, the patterns they exhibit and the steps they take to get there are very similar. The same thing goes for quitting. The reasons (or the excuses and stories) are very different, the patterns of behaviour though are easily recognised.

Business Start-Up Mistakes

I’d like to share with you the patterns that lead to business start-up mistakes so that you can avoid them. If you are not heading into a business start-up, it might be useful to consider these mistakes against your personal patterns of behaviour in reaching your dream, and see if perhaps you are using destructive methods that lead to you quitting on your vision.

  1. No groundwork

Fairy godmothers with magic wands do not exist in the world of business start-ups. It would be nice if they did, but the truth is you have to do all the groundwork yourself. You need to make a strong foundation at the bottom and build up to your success. So many people attempt to fly, get successful, then build the business underneath.

Sure you can get away without having an office or staff or even a fully built product to begin with, but that’s not “in the air success”. Your business, that includes your brand needs to be in place from day one, even if your product isn’t.

Your business includes all areas of your life. When you are starting a small business you give up that life of arriving at work at a certain time, collecting your pay and leaving again. Now you live and breathe your start-up so prepare the rest of your life for upheaval.

  • Set up your hours of work and stick to them.
  • Have a budget and stick to that.
  • Communicate your business hours to friends and family. Working for yourself doesn’t mean you are available for a round of golf on Thursday afternoon.
  • Prioritise your workload and do the biggest, most unappealing things first. Otherwise, you’ll spend the day messing around on emails and getting your logo right, and not do any of the actual work.
  1. Thinking a product is a business

A product is a product, if it doesn’t reach any further than that there is no need for you to build a business.  There is great money and success in designing and selling products, so please, if this is what you are strong in, follow that.  If you are happy to have a big buyer come in and purchase your app, your template, your design and sell it under their own name good on you.

If you have a hunger to make a real difference in the world, to reach out and develop relationships with your customers and provide levels where you can meet their need over and over, even as they step up and grow, do that. If you would like to keep moving and growing with the market and your customer base, then you are looking to start a small business.

Know what you have and know the long-term outcomes of what you are looking to achieve.

  1. Not having a coach or mentor

There are so, so many things you don’t know yet. Some of them you will need to learn on the road to success yourself, other times you need to ask for help and advice.

You don’t have time or the flexibility at this point to reinvent the wheel and with so many people able to offer advice and assistance, why would you shoulder the burden of running a business alone.

Having a business coach or mentor will help you uncover the blocks you have around building your own start-up and assist you in knowing when you get help and when to go it alone.

  1. Spending money too quickly

As soon as money starts coming in it’s spent. There is an understanding that start-ups are a temporary starting point to a big business, maybe even a multimillion dollar company.

When the start up is successful then you can move up to hiring staff, producing streamlined products, having an office, and high tech equipment. The issue is that most business start-ups leap too soon. They want to prove their success, be a headline success story and feel like they are living The Life before they’ve created a strong foundation.

There is nothing wrong with being a start up. It’s flexible, customisable and adaptable, so stay in start up mode as long as you can. See those first sale successes as feedback that you are doing things right and build on those, not your income just yet.

Hire your staff one by one and really be picky about who you bring in. Assess where your greatest needs are and employ THAT person.  You are still looking to expand, not retire, so take small steps and enjoy it.

If you do run out of money or find you’ve spent your profits on things that don’t count, that’s okay, that’s not a sign to quit. Use that information to learn from your mistakes and start again.

  1. Falling in love with YOUR idea

The best thing about start-ups is they are flexible, so you need to be flexible with them or they will never move anywhere. You have your initial idea and you know what you want it to do but, honestly, until you get it out there as a business you don’t know how it fits in the market.

Test the water, get as much feedback as you can from statistics and customers (or potential customers) and modify, change and develop to fit the consumer need.

The funny thing is, the market doesn’t care! The market isn’t emotional, it’s binary. Either your idea solves a problem, or it doesn’t.

  1. Failing to be a leader

You might be used to being part of the working hive in an office but now it’s time to be the Queen Bee.

It’s a bit of an adjustment to be the leader. You will be required to delegate, oversee, and trust other’s capabilities to get your work done. Now you are responsible for the big picture and the vision, while others are left alone to the details and fine points.

If you get caught up in the worker bee allocations, you will lose sight of the vision and accountability.

As we say at Live it Now, the fish stinks from the head down. If your business isn’t performing, you need to audit yourself as a leader, and work out where you’re not performing.

  1. Seeing money as a problem and solution

Your start-up should be about one thing. Passion. That’s all your focus and all your direction. Getting what you are passionate about out to the world.

If you do that correctly then the money will follow. Those who have attended Live it Now would have heard me say multiplie times; Your passion is your compass, money follows passion!

If you focus on the money, either on bringing it in, or having enough to get by, you will struggle with money issues for the rest of your business life. If you haven’t read Think Rich, this is a great way to let go of your beliefs around money and see it as an energy that flows around what you do.

No amount of money will make your business work if it’s not solid and no amount of money will make you happy if you feel incomplete.

  1. Looking for a quick fix

There is a myth that there is such a thing as an overnight success. People think, I’ll just start up my own business, it will be successful and I can be on vacation for the rest of my life.

Setting up a business start-up takes time, lots of it, not just in hours, but also in months.

Working harder won’t necessarily push things through any faster. Your brand, your products, your business model all need time to develop and grow.

Usually, the start-ups that are successful quickly solve a huge problem many people are experiencing, or they had another highly successful business model that took years to build before this one and they’ve been able to apply the same techniques.

Most people quit their business because they don’t allow enough time to develop. If you factor in gradual growth and sales into your initial budget and business plan you will be ready for long-term success, not just a flash in the pan experience.

  1. Afraid to fail/afraid to succeed

If you are afraid of either success or failure, no matter how much work you do, your unconscious mind will find ways to sabotage. Fear is our brain’s natural response to any threat, real or imagined to our person, emotion, finances or identity.

There is no way to override it. You will need to redirect it.

Reframing wherever you can to see feedback, learning, experience, busting through limiting previous experiences with my Belief Buster and talking through hesitation or resistance with your coach or mentor will make all the difference to reaching those goals without destroying those great results!

If you’re ready to build a network of like-minded people who are unlocking their passion, letting go of the past, and launching incredible businesses, join us at our next Live it Now event.

Kindest regards,

Matt Catling

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