It’s no surprise that most business owners often feel overwhelmed. Entrepreneurs know what they need to accomplish, but sometimes a lack of time, money, or motivation prevents them from getting it done. Others are unsure about how to achieve their goals. These obstacles can prevent entrepreneurs from taking the necessary actions to meet their goals.
Many people who start businesses also believe it will be simple, only to discover after a few years that they have made costly mistakes.
This is a feeling that we’ve all experienced. When you wake up in the morning and look at your huge to-do list, you wonder, “How am I going to get everything done today?”. Then you remember how much easier life was before you and your closest friend began that business (or even worse – by yourself).
No matter how overwhelmed you are, there are several costly mistakes you must never make. When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, finding the clarity and direction you need to get your company back on track can be challenging. People who have these thoughts, in my opinion, do not have a strong understanding of how their values and surroundings influence them. You may easily navigate through your overwhelming feelings once everything is clear in your thoughts and on track with what’s going on right now.
You deserve your business to elevate you above the competition and outperform everyone. I believe you understand deep down what you should do, but you aren’t doing it – or at least not enough of it.
If your business reflects you, what do you want to see in the reflection? If you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, that will undeniably reflect your business. And you don’t want that.
When you’re stressed out, you become desperate. Desperate to meet the sales quota, desperate to please the client, and desperate enough to make abrupt calls and will eventually cost you more than you expected.
What are common mistakes that an entrepreneur should avoid?
Running a business may be a rollercoaster ride, and you’ll inevitably make mistakes. These could be anything from employing the wrong people to buying poor items and services to being unsure of your purpose of running the business in the first place.
Fortunately, your company can grow stronger by learning from mistakes. The second time around, you’ll know to do things differently. Here are the 19 biggest mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid from the start…and advice on how to avoid them.
1. Keeping Sloppy Financial Records
One of the most common mistakes of proprietors of small, one-person enterprises is neglecting to keep proper records. There’s a good chance your income and expense tracking are a mess.
Sure, keeping proper data on your business is a time-consuming task, but it’s one that you must complete faithfully.
What are the benefits of keeping business records? It’s by far the most common reason that business owners lose tax deductions when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits them!
Here’s the thing: if your tax returns are ever audited, you’ll have to establish that you’ve accurately disclosed both your income and expenses. An IRS auditor isn’t going to accept your word for it; you’ll need to confirm your returns’ accuracy with precise records.
What’s the big deal if you don’t get your deductions? You stand to lose a lot of money! Depending on your income, every dollar you lose in deductions might cost you an extra 25 to 50 cents in taxes. It all adds up.
2. Inadequately Safeguarding Your Intellectual Property
Every company has intellectual property of some kind, and neglecting to secure it legally may be pretty costly.
What is intellectual property, and how does it differ from other types of property?
If you use a name, logo, slogan, or similar object to identify and sell your products or services, that is your intellectual property. By properly registering your intellectual property as a trademark, you ensure that no one else can use it without your permission.
Your trademarks should be registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
As a result, your trademarks will have the best legal protection available. However, if you fail to do so, competitors may be able to register the same or similar trademarks, preventing you from using them.
The federal copyright law protects authorship works like written work, artwork, photography, film, and video. Computer software is another type of intellectual property.
3. Trying to Juggle Everything
Small business owners are a hardy breed who consider themselves Jacks (or Jills) of all trades. Like everyone else, though, entrepreneurs have strengths and limitations, as well as a limited number of hours each day.
Your best buddy is delegation. Your business will only start producing money once you transfer some of your obligations onto other capable shoulders. That could mean employing your first staff or investing in tools that reduce busywork.
Why is this a costly mistake? It can waste precious time and effort. Not delegating could mean not doing it correctly or missing out on a detail, worse, not accomplishing the task when you needed it.
4. Ignoring Employees
One of the most challenging problems you have as an entrepreneur today is motivating, coaching, and managing your employees. Your problems can soon increase if you don’t have the patience, determination, and people skills to deal with them. Morale, productivity, and revenues can all be shattered in an instant!
5. You Believe You Don’t Have Any Direct Competitors
The euphoria surrounding a new product or business might lead new entrepreneurs to believe that they have no direct competitors. Either that or they may think their product is so far ahead of the competition that it belongs in its category.
In actuality, having no direct competition is incredibly rare. Unless you’ve produced an entirely new product, someone in your sector will already have a significant market share. Do your homework to figure out who these companies are and how you can set yourself apart.
6. You Don’t Know Your Customers
Unless you get to know your customers or clients well, changes in customer preferences and competitors’ products and services can leave you behind.
- What do they want now and will likely want in the future?
- What are their buying patterns?
- How can you be a resource for them?
These are all questions you should ask yourself to get to know your clients better.
7. Goals That Are Spongy and Ambiguous
The vague and meaningless gibberish of business terms (such as “becoming the best”) should be avoided because it is just hype.
Keep in mind that the goal of a strategy is to achieve results, which necessitates tracking and follow-up. Specific dates, management roles, budgets, and milestones are all required. Then you’ll be able to follow up. It doesn’t matter how well thought out or presented something is until it achieves results. Be entirely objective with your goals; make sure it is specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic.
8. Administrative Tasks Are Underestimated
Perhaps you anticipated happy customers, clever marketing, and, of course, plenty of cash while you were developing your business. Most likely, you didn’t expect spreadsheet after spreadsheet. However, administrative responsibilities make up a substantial part of running a business.
Administrative chores can easily consume up your entire day. From inventory management to personnel management to administration and accounting, admin tasks eat up a lot of hours. However, these tasks are vital to the never-ending quest to reach your financing targets and turn a profit.
So, be ready. Many of your rote duties can be automated if you hire appropriately or outsource them to technology. This type of shortcut saves you time, and time is money.
9. Not Knowing What You Don’t Know
The most dangerous traps to avoid are those you aren’t aware of. The cliche “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” is not true when it comes to running a business. What you don’t know as an entrepreneur might not only injure you but can also put you out of business.
There is a lot to learn regarding properly recording agreements, purchasing the appropriate insurance, and understanding which tax rules to follow when establishing a business. Partner with a company attorney who will work with you to proactively prevent costly mistakes – especially those you aren’t even aware you are doing.
10. Not Having the Right Insurance
Liability insurance protects you from business-related litigation, while commercial property insurance protects you if your equipment is destroyed, lost, or stolen.
What kind of coverage should you get? This is dependent on the type of your business.
Let’s reassure you: there is a policy for every business. You might be unsure which type of insurance is ideal for your company. In that case, you can contact an insurance broker who works with companies like yours to obtain the answers, information, and assistance you need to make the best decision.
11. Enrolling or Attending to EVERY Training Course You See
When you’re starting a business, getting caught up with the things you see online is easy, especially if they promise you an increase in sales or productivity.
Remember that these training sessions are not one size fits all. They might be a bad fit for your business and your professional identity. You don’t want to end up spending hard-earned cash and time on something you really won’t use and feel guilty afterward.
12. Prioritizing Your Product Over People
It’s vital to have a customer-first mindset when developing your product and deciding on your business plan. However, many new entrepreneurs are so focused on making money (understandably) that they overlook the most critical aspect of running a successful business: having satisfied, loyal consumers who will buy in the long run.
Being a new entrepreneur is complex, and mistakes are an unavoidable part of the process. That doesn’t mean you have to copy and paste everyone else’s!
13. Cash Flow Is Too Important to Be Overlooked
You’d be shocked at how many businesses fail due to a lack of funds. You jeopardize your company’s financial health if you don’t have enough cash to keep operating. To continue in business for the long run, you should focus on bringing in more money than you spend.
14. Making Use of a Single, Static Plan
Don’t get married to a single concept. Keep in mind that ideas are the backbone of a business.
Stop thinking of the business plan as just a plan for now. That’s more important than ever, as we cope with the crisis of 2020 and 2021. Failing to plan for the future prevents you from reaping the great benefits of planning as a process that includes regular evaluation and adjustment.
Things can change in an instant. Assumptions vanish with the breeze. In your business planning, you maintain track of all the relationships between tasks, spending, goals, shifting beliefs, and changing markets.
A good business plan is a work in progress, and it should resonate with your values. When your plan is complete, your business is complete. Make a lean plan and maintain it up to date.
15. Only Using Verbal Agreements
A 50-page contract produced by a high-powered law firm is theoretically as valid as an oral agreement. However, using verbal agreements in the real world is similar to driving without a seatbelt—everything will work out OK as long as you don’t get into an accident.
A verbal agreement can work, provided you and your client agree on all terms and abide by them.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out, which is why courts are flooded with cases filed by people who make oral agreements but later dispute about what was said.
It means that every time you get into a deal, you should consider establishing a written client agreement. This could be your only legal hope! If a disagreement arises, your agreement specifies how to resolve it. Additionally, if you and your client end up in court, that formal agreement spells out your legal obligations to each other.
16. Being a Lone Ranger
You may be the key to everything, but you can’t do everything. Small successes might be overwhelming if you don’t hire the right people and delegate responsibilities.
No one is an island, and that includes entrepreneurs. No business owner understands everything. So, whenever you require assistance, don’t hesitate to get it from a professional.
You may be hesitant, if not ashamed, to seek assistance. Don’t be that way! Hiring professionals will have a significant impact on your company’s growth.
And the money you invest in good expertise could be rewarded many times over if you avoid making costly mistakes.
17. Denying Your Weaknesses
You can’t accomplish everything yourself, particularly if you’re not very good at it. That is why you must be willing to invest in experts in the sector. You can overcome any difficulty with the correct amount of instruction and emerge successfully. There is where mentors come in handy, pick a business mentor with proven years of experience and someone who can guide you on how you want to run your business.
18. Being Paralyzed by the Anxiety of “What Ifs.”
Starting a new business is nerve-wracking and not for the faint of heart. It’s reasonable to be afraid of failure and rejection, but allowing yourself to be paralyzed by this fear will hamper your growth.
Recognizing everyday worries is an excellent first step because it reassures you that you are not alone. Using a tried-and-true method, we challenge the beliefs. You are deserving, and you will recognize it. The source of these will be discovered through the 7-year life block exercise. You’ll learn how to challenge and let go of the beliefs and emotions limiting you from playing big.
19. Losing Focus
Never lose sight of why you established your business in the first place. Business suffers when you focus on too many changes at once. To help your business scale quickly, you should always devote your time and energy to the areas that matter most.
Above all, don’t be afraid to seek honest feedback from others. You avoid costly mistakes by forcing yourself to see your areas of weakness.
Define your process. When you understand how it should work, this will assist you in engaging with what you are internally compelled to do toward the best results. So you don’t just get disconnected from tasks. And everything you do will lead to a predetermined, compelling outcome.
How to Overcome Your Mistakes?
One of the most common causes of overwhelming feelings about your business is a lack of clarity in your self-knowledge, vision, and environment. You’ve probably lost track of time, experienced little to no change in your life or business, wasted resources, and struggled with delegation. You’re confused by your choices, frustrated, and maybe resentful of the time you’ve wasted. When everything is on a clear track, activities lead to a better, more aligned result and a better business and personal life.
It’s okay if any of this resonates with you. Why? Because everything is about to change. All you need to know is where to begin. We need to know your exact position. We’ll organize your stressors, and I’ll show you what to do if you ever feel overwhelmed again. Call Bill Foss at (978) 225-0398 if you have any questions.