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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Top 7 start-up mistakes to avoid

Top 7 start-up mistakes to avoid

May 27, 2014 12:17 IST

Image: You may easily expect a number of things to fall out of place in your first venture.
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com Murray Newlands, Courtesy Yourstory.com

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you scale your business.

Start-ups need to be extra careful, even with the most minute things, because in this phase of the business, the process and the systems in place aren't as optimised as they should be.

Although there are a number of things that can go wrong in a start-up business, we'll talk about the seven most common mistakes that new business owners make that are detrimental to a start-up's success.

1. Accepting too much responsibility

If you have tons of responsibilities and are doing too much manual work, then chances are that you probably aren't running your business.

You're just doing manual work.

You need to remember that more than anything else, your key role as a business owner is to delegate and capitalise on the strengths of your workers.

Doing everything by yourself won't just burn you out fast, it'll also lower your business's overall productivity. 

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2. Not having an online presence

Image: In the age of internet, it would be silly not to have an online presence.
Photographs: Reuters

If you think that having a brick and mortar store and advertising your business via traditional means is enough (TV, radios, etc.), then you’re in for a huge surprise.

Considering how technology and the Internet age is on the rise, having an online presence can be the sole difference between success and failure.

There are several website builder services on the web like Wix or IM Creator that allow you to make a professional looking website for free.

It's because of this that business owners and regular people are able to have their own online real estate.

If your company doesn't have an online presence, then you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.

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Tags: Wix

3. Not collecting feedback from customers

Image: Customer feedback plays an important role for young businesses.
Photographs: Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

A good way to determine whether you're making the right business decisions is to ask for your customers' feedback.

It’s a good reflection of how your business is viewed by your customers and can be used as an invaluable tool when it comes to upgrading/improving your products. 

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4. Being unresponsive to your employee's needs

Image: Devaluing your customers' needs will generate negative publicity for your start-up.
Photographs: David Silverman/Getty Images

If you have your employees' backs, there's no reason why they won't have yours.

Making sure that your employees' needs are met is critical if you want to make sure that they give you 100 per cent attention.

The more they are bothered by a lot of things, the more mistakes they're likely to make, which can end up costing you your company. 

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5. Give up vacation

Image: A stressed out work life will directly impact your performance.
Photographs: Reuters

Being burned out is an all too familiar problem for CEOs and business owners.

And because they are burned out, they tend to make the wrong decisions and are easily frustrated and angered.

When the people at the management level are burned out, they usually become a source of negative energy in the office, making the environment very hostile.

It's important to take a break, relax, and come back to work refreshed and energised than to wear yourself out but working non-stop. 

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6. Making decisions without enough data

Image: Decisions based on incomplete or incorrect data is just as harmful for your start-up.
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Data is what helps you make well informed decisions, whether in your business or your personal life.

The more data you have, the higher are your chances of succeeding and attaining the goal that you set out when you made that business decision.

Making an important decision without the appropriate use of data is pretty much like gambling.

It can be likened to you doing a toss coin to determine whether it's a yes or no for your business.

This clearly isn't the way to go. Because if it was that easy, then everyone can venture into business since everyone can toss a coin. 

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7. Selling your product's features and not the benefits

Image: Explaining how the product would benefit customers would be a great way to earn new users.
Photographs: Stephen Lam/Reuters

What makes your customers want your product isn't the features of the product, it's the benefit that they'll get from having or using your product.

It's very important to emphasise this matter to your employees, as well as your sales team, if you want to increase your sales.

An effective piece of advice that you can follow when selling is to paint a mental picture to your customer where they're already experiencing the benefit of having your product.

Every entrepreneur makes their fair share of mistakes when running a new business.

Some of these mistakes have led to businesses closing, while others can be simply brushed off.

If you've made some costly mistakes of your own, I urge you to share them in the comments section below so we can all learn from each others' experiences.

 

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