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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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5 Women Who Revolutionized Tech and Made Millions

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There are many female entrepreneurs in today’s world revolutionizing the tech industry and owning their own unique craft. Before, technology and business was seen as a more male-dominanted industry that women rarely crossed into. That’s no longer the case. (more…)

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The Truth About Marketing Every First Time Founder Should Know

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While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge. (more…)

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Lessons I Have Learned About Scaling a Business as a Startup Founder

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When I set out to start my own business three years ago, I never imagined bright lights and private jets to New York or Shanghai for business meetings. Good thing I didn’t because it is nothing like that at all. It was a struggle from day one and I had to embrace the grind to grow. (more…)

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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.

 

Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.

 

Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.

 

Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.

 

Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.

 

Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!

 

Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!

 

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