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4 Deadly Pitfalls All Start-ups Must Avoid

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Starting a new business in any field is never likely to be a walk in the park. Whatever your specific goals are there will be any number of ways in which your pursuit of success could be scuppered.

But there are also some predictable problems that all start-up operators should be looking to avoid if at all possible.

Here’s a look at 4 such pitfalls well worth having in mind if you’re embarking on a start-up journey of your own.

1. Failing to properly prepare

Quite what amounts to “properly” preparing to start a business is always going to be a matter of opinion and individual judgement but the list of companies that fail because their founders didn’t do their homework is endless.

Missing opportunities to launch can be a problem too but failing to gain a clear understanding of the market you’re entering and what your business will offer is almost a sure-fire way to leave your start-up struggling from the outset.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2Taking on too much debt

Not every start-up company can attract investment funding on a significant scale and use it to make rapid and worthwhile early progress. Therefore, taking on debt can be essential and unavoidable for start-ups looking to get their ideas off the ground.

However, taking on too much debt can leave new businesses with a burden that quickly becomes too much to bear. As a rule of thumb, it is generally a good idea for start-up operators to only borrow as much money as they really need, rather than as much money as they are able to secure access to.

 

3. Staffing up too soon, or too late

Figuring out when and on what scale to take on more staff to help grow a new business can be extremely difficult. Getting it wrong though and taking on too many recruits too quickly can again leave a start-up struggling to keep up with its increased costs and to manage its resources effectively.

On the other hand, start-up founders that are too reluctant to let go of the reins and start delegating tasks when the time is right can also find themselves heading up a business that doesn’t really work or which cannot be scaled up effectively.

So getting the balance right can be crucial in ensuring that a new company can in fact move from the start-up stage to fully-fledged and sustainable small business status.

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4. Letting inexperience show

There is nothing to say that a start-up entrepreneur needs to have a certain level of experience behind them in order to achieve their goals and become successful. However, it is often very important that anyone who is starting a new venture without much experience should seek out the advice, guidance and support of others with a history of effective business leadership.

Ultimately, the success or failure of a start-up venture will be determined by a variety of potentially indiscernible factors but certainly avoiding the above pitfalls can go a long way towards giving any new business a fighting chance of maximising its potential.

Mark Halstead is from Red Flag Alert, part of the Begbies Traynor Group, and is now in his 10th year with the business. He’s worked at companies across the financial services industry and is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.

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