Having your own business is a beautiful journey but it isn’t a very smooth flight. If you’re expecting it to be a smooth sailing flight, then you might as well give up your business now. There will many different battles to fight every day and on some days, you won’t even be ready for it. Opening up a business isn’t always fun and exciting as this will require a lot of effort, time, and money. Mistakes are inevitable in the world of business, but it’s a good idea to be aware of it so you can at least prepare.
Expectation: I can do this on my own.
Reality: There are so many things to do, I can’t do this.
While it may be true that you know your products more than anyone else, it doesn’t mean that other people can’t help you reach far. You aren’t the only passionate individual to make a business succeed. In business, it’s always a team effort. Thinking you can handle it all on your own is going to result in a burnout and will affect your success.
Expectation: Not spending too much will work well with my slow cash flow.
Reality: Being too frugal and too extravagant is bad.
As a startup owner, money might be an issue. Since you’re new to the industry, cash flow is mostly like always low. While it is understandable why you should save more and spend less, you should also take into consideration the outcome of what you spend for. It’s a good idea to invest in something that would help your business in the long run.
Expectation: For September, our sales should reach $10,000!
Reality: For September, our sales only reach $7,500.
Sometimes, we become too impatient. That’s okay because we just want to have good results, but it’s important to learn to work, wait, succeed, repeat. This means you have to set attainable goals and work hard towards it. Each month, gradually increase the goal to challenge ourselves to always to do better than before. While you’re at it, make sure to have short-term goals and long-term goals.
Expectation: My products are so awesome, I have no competitors.
Reality: There will always be a competitor.
Don’t let your excitement cloud your thinking. Your products/services might be so great that leads you to think that no one else thought of this but it’s actually rare not to have any direct competition. Unless you’ve invented a totally new and unique product or concept, there will always be a business the same or similar to yours. Do your part in finding out which these companies are and study their ways so you know how to differentiate yourselves to stand out.
Expectation: I will hire this person because his expected salary isn’t so high.
Reality: Low-cost hires are often inexperienced, unskilled, or unreliable (or all three).
When there aren’t enough funds, sometimes it’s tempting to include cutting costs with new hires. Hiring decisions based on costs is very risky because you might just be spending more in the long run. Think about it, low-cost employees are low-cost for a reason. If you think long-term, hiring someone more qualified (even if it means more money for their salary) will be worth it in the end.
Expectation: Free PR and word of mouth will be fine.
Reality: Startups need to invest in marketing.
Relying on free PR and word of mouth to save on marketing expenses won’t really get you very far unless someone else will make it go viral for you — but that would mean your business would very appealing to the people. As a startup, it is a must to invest in a lot of marketing because how else will you be known? How will you gather customers if they don’t know you? More importantly, how will you have sales if you do not have customers?
Expectation: Focusing on my products first will help me succeed.
Reality: The customers are the backbone of the business.
Always have that customer-first mentality. While other aspects of the business are also important, the customers are what takes the business far. They’re the ones with the money to buy from you, and they have the power to tell other people about you and your business.
Learn from other people’s mistakes, but don’t be afraid to make your own. These will help discover yourself and grow as a business person. With all that said, may you have a successful business journey ahead!