3 Foolish Mistakes Startups Make

April 01, 2013

Starting a business is a serious thing don’t jeopardize your success by making these foolish mistakes.

Small business mistakes to avoid from Gene Marks, columnist for The New York Times, author and small business owner.

Hate your job?  Ready to start your own business?  Want to be one of those entrepreneurs you read about or see on TV who seem to have it all together and are raking in the bucks?  Starting a business is a serious thing and although it’s April Fool’s Day, don’t jeopardize your success by making these foolish mistakes:

#1 The mistake of resources. 

We live in a capitalist society, and businesses need capital to launch, grow and succeed.  You need capital.  You need to make sure the right amount of resources are there to see this thing through to success.  For a small business owner, capital comes in two forms:  time and money.  Do you have the time to spend nurturing your company?  Like 24/7?  Weekends?  Are you prepared to miss vacations, miss your kid’s little league game, miss your own anniversary because of these demands?  Also, do you have the money needed to launch your idea? To pay the bills?  Have you saved enough to last at least two years?  Do you have available capital from family, friends, investors or banks?  Don’t make this mistake.  Have resources.

#2 The mistake of family. 

I see too many unhappy, lonely, “successful” people running businesses.  Is that your definition of success?  If you don’t have an agreement with your spouse, your children, or your significant other, then you may also find yourself to be an unhappy, lonely, “successful” person too.  The people who will bear the biggest burden from your startup will be your family so make sure you are as prepared as you can be, but the reality is no one really ever is.

#3 The mistake of profit. 

Forget the cool stories about the cool entrepreneurs in their cool, hip startup spaces somewhere in SoHo.  They are one in ten thousand.  Businesses can be cool, change the world and represent something good, as long as they’re profitable.  Unprofitable businesses go out of business.  The smartest guys I know, who have made the most money, are the ones who start up the most unsexy, uncool, dirty and grimy little job shops, or contracting firms based in some industrial park near the airport, and they do it because there’s money to be made.  Once they’re making money, then they can change the world and create something cooler.  Don’t focus too much  on hip, trendy, neat and killer, instead follow the money and make sure you have a profitable and reasonable small business plan.

Good for you if you want to start a business, but don’t be foolish.  And most importantly, don’t make these three common mistakes.

Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner of the Marks Group PC, a ten-person firm that provides sales and marketing technology and consulting services to businesses.

Gene covers issues affecting the small business community for The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. and more.  He’s also a frequent guest on numerous television and radio talk shows. Gene speaks at industry events to help business owners understand trends that will affect their companies.

Gene has written five books on business, his most recent In God We Trust, Everyone Else Pays Cash. Visit http://genemarks.com for more information.