8 pitfalls for new business owners to avoid
I transitioned from a full-time C-level marketing job to my own coaching business. Even though I had 20 years of experience under my belt, I felt lost and anxious and had no idea where to start. I was consuming both paid and free online business advice and I found myself exhausted, overwhelmed, and with no idea where to start. I was (and still am) really passionate about my business, but I didn’t know how I was going to match my financial dreams with my purpose of service.
I was impatient and a bit arrogant with my marketing background at the start of the process, and this resulted in wasting a lot of money that I could’ve saved if I’d had a bit more patience and more of the right foundations in place.
In this article, I outline the business pitfalls that you can avoid to become successful quicker and with less stress.
Eight ways to avoid business pitfalls
1. Start with why
Being crystal clear in your purpose for creating your business is like a compass that you can use whenever you are lost or need to make a decision. While making money is important, most of the entrepreneurs that I’ve seen succeed are the ones that have, and follow, a clear purpose.
2. Know who you are serving
Before you spend any money, find out who you are serving. If you are a coach or other practitioner offering services, experiment - work with different people of different ages, different mindsets, and with different issues to solve. This will help you decide who you love working with the most and what problems you want to help them solve. Create an avatar/persona and keep it in a visible place - this will be the cornerstone of your business efforts.
3. Decide on a business structure
Decide what makes the most sense tax and structure-wise at this point. You can operate as a sole proprietor, or incorporate your business. No model is right for everyone, and you should talk to an accountant who can give you advice.
4. Set up a rough financial plan
Start with the minimum income you need and work backwards to see how many clients, services, or packages you need to sell. Even if you are just starting out and may still have other sources of income, it’s always good to know where you are going.
5. Don’t set up a website
Until you’ve successfully acquired and worked with at least two clients offline. You need to make sure that your positioning, packages, and prices are realistic, and work with the people you are trying to serve. I ended up changing my positioning three times, which incurred a lot of website costs - both in terms of development and time. I’ve also seen a lot of clients who have set up fancy websites at the very start, only to have to scrap them completely and change providers or re-write all their content once they found what they love.
6. Don’t copy other people
It is so tempting at the start of the process to copy what other people are doing because it has made them successful. However, they may be serving different clients, may be at a different stage of their business, or maybe what they are doing is not working for them. You can look for ideas, but always adapt them to what may work for you.
7. Don’t get distracted by the last shining object
There is no such thing as an overnight success, and what you need to find is a system that works for you, can be repeatable and can bring the right clients, providing you with the right income.
8. Finally, be yourself
One of the most important things I learned in my marketing career and working with business owners is that people buy from people, not from brands or companies. The more you can show yourself in a genuine and authentic manner, the more you will stand out from the crowds, and the quicker you will set up and reach your business goals.
Are you feeling lost and overwhelmed setting up and planning the strategy for your business? A coach may be able to help.