Everything we read these days seems to be about what 'to do' to become a successful entrepreneur, which seems rational when starting our business. However, there are some things that entrepreneurs should NOT do when first starting out, that I think are just as important.
Here's a list of what NOT to do in the first few baby steps of starting your business.
Don't rush into designing a logo
Do you want to represent your own company or do you want to hide behind this logo because you think that it might attract more customers. Perhaps it's best to spend time on more important business fundamentals like your service/product/cost rather than spending time and money thinking and designing a logo. These minor details can come after the name you make for yourself become more established.
Don't spend too much on marketing
Marketing should start free. The best form of marketing is word-of-mouth. If your product or service is great and gives customers a compelling proposition to meet their needs, your product can easily market itself. Only when you intent to bring your business to the next stage, then perhaps you should consider spending more money on marketing.
Don't quit your day job (just yet)
This is so important. Day job gives you the steady income to fuel your dreams. Do not quit your job just because you have such "strong feelings" about your product that it will do well. Similar to puppy love during high school, many have fallen in love and became so infatuated only to be heart broken later. This infatuation could shadow your judgment skills and you may live to regret it later. Only after researching feasibility and testing your business plan that it works, quitting your job to get more hours to work on your dream would be reasonable.
Don't break any laws
Don't break any laws at any time, but especially in the start, you would want to ensure a stable and legal foundation. You wouldn't want to be building a business and get litigated for something you did years ago and could potentially destroy your reputation and business altogether.
Don't spend too much time planning
Don't fall into the trap of 'all talk, no walk'. Many spend time planning and dreaming about how they want a business but it never eventuates. By the time they actually step out of their comfort zone and do things, it might be too late and that area of the market has already been exploited and highly competitive.
Don't rent an office (just yet)
Use your house as your office. Working from home saves money from traveling and renting a place which can be expensive for a start-up. In addition, you can claim deductions from using your house as an office. Working from home however requires more discipline as you can be easily distracted.
Don't wait to start selling
Start talking to potential customers from day one. Start selling yourself. Make it known that you are doing something that is of value to the people around you. Give out free trials for prospects to experience what you offer.
Don't hire employees (just yet)
You are your brand. Chances are no one understands your business as much as you. Bringing employees on board too early might be counter-productive. Only when you get a stable revenue and more things rolling, hiring employees and sharing your vision can help expand your business.
Don't choose the wrong partner for the sake of having a larger capital
Finding someone who is willing to invest and work with you just for the money isn't necessarily the best decision. When forming partnerships, it is more important to share the same visions.
Starting a business takes time. Many gave up too early, and never saw the fruits of their labour. Don't give up too easily.
So there you go, just a few points for considerations on what NOT to do when starting a business. What has been your experience?
Stay tuned this week for some more business "NOT to do's"