Interview Question How Much Do You Enjoy Accounting And Finance 10 Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

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10 Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

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What are some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting out? Here is a list of ten of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when starting their business. While mistakes made can be our greatest teachers, they can be time consuming and expensive. So here I want to share with you my hard earned experience and the insights I gained from my own mistakes in business judgment.

Mistake #1. Getting Started Without a Business Plan

If you are serious about making your new business a success, you need to have a written plan. It can be as simple as one page to get started. Writing it will force you to think about how you plan to make your business come alive as well as be profitable. Force yourself to answer questions like “Who will my customer be”; “Why did they buy from me?”; “What price will I charge for my products and services?”; “How will I spread the word about my new business?”. Be realistic about the costs of running your business. Your business plan will act as an ever-changing and evolving guide for you to follow.

Error #2. No Management Experience

As a small business founder, you will be directly responsible for all aspects of management – finances, marketing, sales, employee relations, dealing with subcontractors, and cleaning bathrooms, etc. But if you’re starting a business because you are good at your particular skill or service, and want to devote all of your time and energy to doing this, perhaps a family member or partner can handle most of the company’s management. This person should share your vision and goals for the business.

Error #3. Hiring Help Too Quickly

Don’t hire employees until absolutely necessary. The cost of hiring help can sink your small business financially very quickly. When you hire someone, make sure they are hardworking and honest. Only hire the people you really need, who will have a positive impact on your business. At our small home business, we try to use as many subcontractors as possible.

Error #4. Not Hiring Professional Help

Don’t skimp on hiring professional advisors such as accountants and lawyers. Interview a few people and find a counselor you are comfortable talking to. Do they understand what you want to achieve? Are they quick to share their experience and knowledge with you? These professionals can save you a lot of headache and a lot of money.

Error #5. Not Using the Cash Accounting Method

Under the “cash method,” you record business revenue as it arrives in your bank account. And you record expenses when they are paid from your bank account. Most of us use this cash method for personal finance because it is much simpler and less time consuming. It is also an ideal method for small and home businesses. Under the “accrual method,” you’ll record business revenue as it’s earned, regardless of when you’ll receive payment for the products or services you sell. And you record expenses as they are incurred, regardless of when you write a check to pay them. This accrual method is too difficult for small, home businesses to follow.

Error #6. Not Tracking Your Money

You should track your income and expenses each month so you know where your money is going. You can do it yourself with inexpensive accounting software, or simply download your monthly statement from your bank and credit card. Cash flow is the lifeblood of a young small business.

Error #7. Not Enough to Do Market Research

This is a very common problem with start-up businesses. Market research can take months and a lot of research to get it right. You have to know who your competitors are, and who your customers will be. You must understand all aspects of your industry – inside and out. Read all the books and articles you can find about your particular type of business. Talk to other people in the industry.

Error #8. Not Doing Proper Marketing

Every business should have an online presence. Whatever your business, you need to be online. It is now possible to do extensive and sophisticated marketing at no cost – for free. Whether it’s a simple website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or an online phone book listing, you need to be online.

Error #9. Spending Too Much Too Soon

If your budget is tight, don’t start by spending thousands of dollars on business cards and letterhead. Don’t spend thousands paying companies to build your website when you can quickly build a great website yourself. Keep using the old computer until you have cash flow and an actual need for a new computer. Before making very large purchases, such as a new truck or engine, seek advice from your accountant.

Error #10. Give Up Too Quickly

A major part of being an entrepreneur is having the stamina, drive, and determination. Not giving up your dream due to some hurdles in the way is an important part of entrepreneurship. Developing the gut fortitude to weather tough times is essential if you are to achieve any sort of success. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that starting and managing a business is easy or simple. It also takes time, effort, faith, and vision.

Conclusion

Feel free to completely ignore this advice, or listen to it and keep it in mind when you start a new business. But don’t let the fear of making a mistake, costly or not, keep you from starting your new business. Making mistakes, and understanding why you made them, and learning how to correct them or avoid them in the future, will truly be your greatest teachers. And it doesn’t hurt to strike up a relationship with experienced accountants and attorneys you can turn to for help.

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