My life as an entrepreneur hasn’t always been as enjoyable as it is today. Back when I was a first-time, sole proprietor, I did not know how a balance sheet actually worked or how vital an effective business plan was. And because I didn’t, I could not understand why my vision of success was not enough to ensure success. Of course, I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t well-versed in the fundamentals of running a successful business. In reality, I spent many years learning more of the don’ts of entrepreneurship than the dos. At some point I realized that a change was needed. That if my business was to truly be successful, I had to change the way I conducted basic business operations. (Sound familiar?)
The business of being in business has taught me a lot. Thankfully, your journey doesn’t have to be as difficult as mine. Everything I’ve learned I share candidly. In fact, here are ten quick pitfalls I believe entrepreneurs fall victim to unless they take time to understand them.
Business Plans: The business plan is a road map that covers all aspects of running your business and needs to be continually updated as market trends change.
Legality: Make sure your business is correctly formed, licensed, insured, etc.
Contracts: Be sure to secure payment for your work or products as well as setting payment terms in writing (as insurance to you and your client/customer).
Marketing: Having a credible product or service is great, but if you don’t have an effective and visible presence; the business will suffer. Without market presence you have no revenue.
Insecurities: Don’t let your fear or doubt control your actions; prepare for the worst but strive for the best.
People you work with: Choose a business partner or investor by evaluating their skills; your skillsets should balance out. Employees, contractors and interns should meet the company’s culture and customer service standards.
Assumptions: Don’t make assumptions without tested logic or knowledge from a credible source.
Accounting: The most important part of running a business is to bring in revenue that sustains and grows your business. Keep financial records and incorporate an accounting system for all costs, assets, and transactions.
Not Adapting: It is important to avoid a fixed mindset that prevents you from truly understanding your market or reaching out and accepting feedback.
Emotions: Don’t make important business decisions with your emotions. Use professional judgment and strive to never offend anyone.