September 12, 2019

Seven of the Most Common Pitfalls of Startup Entrepreneurs

Launching a new business? Putting in long hours?

Congratulations.

Now for the not so good news: You’re likely going to have a few bumps and hurdles along the way.

As an entrepreneur the possibilities for errors are endless: Like failing to file important compliance documents. Or overlooking an important tax filing deadline. How about blowing through all of your startup funding.

When these and other mishaps occur, it’s so easy to write them off as simply another case of “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

But here’s the good news:

Every mistake you make is a learning moment

Below are seven of the most common pitfalls startup entrepreneurs make when launching a new business.

Regardless of whether you’re a newly minted entrepreneur or have been into your business for the past 2–3 years, we invite you to capture some notes and heed the call to action on what you read below.

Pitfall #1: Too Much, Too Fast

You’ve started your business and the adrenaline is flowing. Things have reached a fever pitch. You’re feeling ambitious and on top of the world. And yes, of course, you’re expecting immediate results.

“Next week we’ll be profitable,” you tell yourself. And then you have a Chinese Bamboo Tree moment.

When you find yourself in this trap, it’s important to keep in mind that we often OVERESTIMATE what we can achieve in “Year One” while UNDERESTIMATING what we can do in say Year Five.

The lesson here:

Mistakes are going to occur. So you may as well learn from them.

Pitfall #2: Putting off Setting Up a Corporate Entity:

If you have a highly conservative accountant they will likely tell you that you can get away with simply registering with your Secretary of State as a sole proprietor. But there’s more to this story so listen up: Setting up a business entity ( LLC, S Corporation, or C Corporation) right out of the gate may be an important step for you to consider for one major reason, namely, it can serve as a form of liability and personal asset protection in the event that you’re sued.

Pitfall #3: Not Having a Good Bookkeeping System

Here’s an often overlooked fact: Having a great bookkeeping system (i.e. keeping those receipts) will not only allow you to maximize your tax writeoffs but save you a ton of headaches and extra CPA costs at tax time.

Back in the day, the modus operandi was to toss all of your lose receipts in a bag and hand them off to your bookkeeper monthly for reconciliation. Today we have great online sites and apps that can assist with digital downloads of bank statements and receipts. So there are no excuses for not having a good system in place.

Pitfall #4: A Lack of Startup Funding

It’s well documented that the number one cause of business failure is a lack of funding and working capital. Therefore it is an important piece to get a handle early on in terms of what will it take to keep your business running on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise, this disconnect could lead to funding shortfalls that might quickly put your business in peril.

Your Secret Sauce for better funding outcomes: Learn about the importance of Cap Tables.

Pitfall #5: Poor Sales Execution and Growth Mindset: As a startup, building a sales funnel can often lose importance in our list of priorities even though we are well aware of its importance. It goes without saying that this can lead to disastrous consequences.

Grant Cardone in his bestselling book entitled The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure admonishes us to take massive action in the work that we do, saying that it is vital for the success of our business.

Here is a brief video of Grant discussing his 10X Growth Mindset!

Pitfall #6: Taking Shortcuts With Your Product or Service

The late inspirational speaker and thought leader Jim Rohn noted in one of his early seminars, “You get paid for bringing value to the marketplace, and if you’re not very valuable you don’t make much money.

The same is true for your business: The MARKETPLACE VALUE of your product or service is what will ultimately determine your business success. In other words, if you focus on all of the other details of your business versus working on the quality of your product or service, your business will likely see an early demise.

Pitfall #7: Lack of Strategic Direction

Here’s the key: Find your business sweet spot and then stay in your lane. Because if you disperse your energy in too scattered of a fashion, you will experience the Law of Diminishing Returns and your business will crumble.

Here’s a great book to read on this point: Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne