10 Ridiculous Ways How NOT to Start a Business
You will find tons of blogs, articles, websites, and books telling you exactly how to start a business. They will tell you what to do and who you need to be. However, it is also good to learn from other people’s mistakes. Here are 10 ridiculous ways how NOT to start a business.
If you can see yourself doing a couple of these things, starting a business may not be a good idea for you. Alternatively, it may be a good idea to change your ways prior to starting a business, so that you actually have a chance of success.
How not to start a business: you did not brainstorm ideas
Every new business starts with an idea. Anyone can have an idea, but is it a good idea? Better yet, is it a great idea? Whatever your interests are, it is almost guaranteed that there is a way to turn them into a business.
What you need to do, is a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what the current brand leaders are doing, and figure out how you can do it better. If you do not do this, you have no way of knowing how to position yourself in the market. Similarly, if you do not know how to do it better than your competitors, your potential customers will not either, and they will continue to buy products at the places they know.
However, if you think your business can deliver something other companies cannot, you have a solid business idea and you are ready to create a business plan.
How not to start a business: you did not come up with a business plan
You have your idea. It is now time to ask yourself a few important questions. What is the purpose of your business? To whom are you selling? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? In a business plan, you address these questions. A business plan helps you figure out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties, and what you need to sustain it.
If you do not write a business plan and if you do not think about these questions, you have no focus at all. You are starting something without knowing where to go and without knowing if you can make it. If you want to blow some money, this is the perfect strategy.
How not to start a business: you did not assess your finances
Starting any business has a price, so you need to decide how you are going to cover those expenses. Not thinking about this can make the lifespan of your business a very short one.
Do you have the means to fund your startup or are you going to get funding elsewhere? Is crowdfunding or crowdsourcing an option for you? Alternatively, do you need so much money that you need an investor?
In addition, as it might take a while before you start making a profit, you might want to save some money if you are planning to make your new business your full-time job.
How not to start a business: you did not think about your technology properly
You wanted to start your business, but you have not thought about what technology you need to support that business. Nowadays, every business needs at least some tech tools to operate.
Depending on your industry, some companies will be more tech-heavy than others, but you probably need a reliable laptop or smart device. Do you need a point-of-sale terminal? What software or apps do you need? Does your technology require security measures?
You need to know in advance what technology supports your business and what that technology costs; otherwise, you will not be able to run or sustain your business.
How not to start a business: you forgot to purchase an insurance policy
Did you forget to purchase the right insurance for your business or did you figure you do not need one? Wrong!
Purchasing the right insurance for your business is an important step because dealing with incidents like property damage, theft, or even a customer lawsuit can be costly.
Protect yourself, your family, and your company. Having no insurance could mean that you have to pay more than you can afford in case of an incident and that you have to file for bankruptcy.
How not to start a business: you did not choose your partners carefully
Running a business can be overwhelming. After a while, you notice that you are not able to do it all on your own. You need third-party vendors: someone to do your taxes, to take your phone calls or to build or improve your website. If you were thinking about just hiring any party, stop right there.
Make sure you invest in a sustainable relationship. B2B partners have access to vital and potentially sensitive business data, so it is critical to find the right party you can trust. Nicole Fallon Taylor advises you to ask potential vendors about their experience in your industry, their track record with existing clients, and what kind of growth they have helped other clients achieve.
How not to start a business: you did not invest time and effort in branding yourself
A great startup idea will not work if people do not know about it. Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and make people enthusiastic about it. Have you not thought about a logo, a company website, and social media profiles? Please do so before launching your business!
They are essential for any small business in today’s world. A logo helps people easily identify your brand and social media helps spread the word about your new company. You can offer your followers coupons, discounts, and relevant content about your business and industry.
Without branding, people will not know about your company and if people do not know your company, they cannot buy from it.
How not to start a business: you expected immediate success
Success (if you ever achieve it) takes time. Brian Hamilton hates how entrepreneurship is represented in popular culture: the idea that businesses either fly quickly or fail immediately. You can see these two paths represented in films like The Social Network (the spectacular success) or Startup.com (the spectacular crash and burn).
The truth is that it usually takes years to build a great business. Most entrepreneurs with successful businesses put in about three to five years of hard work to get their businesses off of the ground and to the point they are self-sustaining. If you expected a quick win, you need to realize that success requires hard work.
How not to start a business: you expected loads of me-time
If you thought that starting your own business meant setting your own hours and taking a vacation whenever you like, you were wrong.
Daniel Zeevi (source offline) says that in reality, the only breaks you get to take, are when your computer freezes. Sadly, during these times you will not be in a state of relaxation; you will probably experience an enraged anger potentially leading you to break the keyboard in two.
Once you start your business, you may not be able to take an entire day off for years or call in sick. In fact, there is not even enough time in the day for all that needs to be achieved. In addition, instead of one boss, you now have hundreds, if you are lucky. Every customer demands the best possible quality and service from you, and the customers want it now!
How not to start a business: you expected to have control
You have no boss, so you thought you could make your own decisions. No… As Susan Payton says, starting a business can actually make you feel less in control. You cannot control whether customers want to buy your product or when they pay you, and you cannot force your employees to do things to your crazy expectations. And again, it may seem as if the customers with all their demands have more control over you than you have control over them.
I hope that you now know how not to start a business and that you know how you can prepare yourself for what is coming before and after launching your new business.