If you are thinking about (or in the middle of) launching your own business, congratulations!
Launching a business is one of the bravest and scariest things you will ever do.
Now that you’re in the thick of it all, watch out for some major “land mines” that you can easily stumble upon; mistakes that will blow up your business — not in a good way.
1. Mistake: Spending time in over-learning academy
Please don’t get it confused when I say this but you can learn yourself right out of a business.
Always learning and not taking action is dangerous to your business and your future. While learning is good, a lot of times subconsciously you maybe going to event after event, webinar, after webinar because you are afraid to actually do the work.
Learning about your business, the industry, and different systems and strategies that will help your business be successful is important and helpful only if you implement them. Whatever you do, make sure that while you are learning, you are also implementing.
2. Mistake: Being buddies with the hype
Here’s the thing about fluff and business, they don’t mix. There is no way that you are going to be able to build a strong foundation for your business off of fluff, but you can (and most likely will) spend a lot of money trying.
Fluff has no substance—no meat and potatoes—for your business. It only gives you what you want to hear without the actionable steps to achieve a goal. It is what can bait you in and sell you on a dream, but fails to deliver.
Fluff will make you very frustrated, can leave you jaded, and can make you throw in the towel. Make sure that whoever you decided to learn from (i.e., mentor, business coach, etc.) is giving you more than they are willing to take.
3. Mistake: Getting a business loan
With all due respect, there are businesses that will most likely require a loan in order to start a business unless you or your family is rich or you have secured investors. If you don’t fit this description there are ways to start your company without incurring debt.
For example, consider crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Also you can ask people that already know, like and trust you to share your startup and with others within their network. Their referrals can bring in customers that are more confident to do business with you. Remember: this business is your baby and you are going to have to get creative to nurture and grow it.
4. Mistake: Unintentional learning habits
Over learning and not implementing is one way to kill your business, but unintentional learning is just as bad.
At least once a year, you need to take a look at what is missing and where growth needs to happen in your business and within yourself. Seek out what is right for your business and choose consultants, coaches, and programs wisely.
Make sure they are not about the hype, have exactly what you are looking for, and are within your price range for where you are in your business. There are plenty of people who will tell you what your missing, why you’re failing, and why they are the answer to all of your problems. They are looking for emotional and impulsive buyers.
It may feel good right at the moment, but the aftermath will hurt your confidence and might even kill your business.
5. Mistake: Failing to validate your idea
If you haven’t done your homework with market research and reaching out to your ideal clients, then you’re in trouble.
By doing this you can gauge whether your product or service is something that they need or want (i.e. product-market fit). If you fail to validate your customer base you’ll be out of business before you even start.
This can be accomplished with informal surveys, sampling, free trials or giveaways, and even a discounted beta test. The goal is to test the market and make sure your idea is viable (i.e. will make money and grow your business).
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but following your passion does not always lead you to a pot of gold. It could, instead, become an expensive habit.
Starting a business is an exciting time and it helps to avoid some of the bumps in the road that many entrepreneurs face.
This article has been edited.
Denise Damijo is the Momapreneur’s Business and Lifestyle Strategist and the founder and CEO of Denise Damijo International. Denise specializes in helping businesses strengthen and excel in their content, marketing, and sales planning. You can find her pen in places like the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington’s- Thrive Global, Elite Daily, Addicted2Success, She Owns It, and Women On Business. Connect with @DeniseDamijo on Twitter.