5 Big Missteps Most Entrepreneurs Make

Monday, January 6, 2020
man covering eyes while looking at laptop

by Mark Barton 

Entrepreneurship has become a trending topic. Any day, on any social media platform the newest entrepreneur can be found showcasing their seemingly instant wealth, success and leisure lifestyle.

Entrepreneurs are often times self-motivated go-getters, the dreamers and the doers. Although they have the passion to drive their business dreams ahead, there are some mistakes that are common in the world of free enterprise.

These are the biggest missteps that many beginning business owners make. Sidestepping these mistakes, can set any business up for success.

1. Failure to spend time organizing and planning

There is an old cliché that goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”

This is the biggest mistake most entrepreneurs make. They get so caught up in the “doing” of the business by focusing on doing the thing they love. They get caught up in cutting the hair or baking the bread, and forget to do the foundational pieces of business management.

It is vital to plan and organize to ensure that the business’s affairs are in order like having proper insurance, maintaining records and ensuring business milestones are being made. One must be proactive rather than reactive by properly planning which is a prevention of poor performance.

2. Trying to do everything themselves

It is really easy to get burned out running a business. Most businesses begin with one person and there is a huge temptation for them to try and do it all because it is their creation, they understand how it all works.However, they can quickly become someone who does everything halfway rather than someone who does one thing to the point of excellence.

This is often a byproduct of a lack of confidence and trust in others. We must be rational, understanding there is only so much one person can manage and trust that others are capable of operating the ship. In making this mistake, one will ultimately sacrifice family, clients and themselves because they are simply too busy. Every entrepreneur must learn to delegate tasks and accept help.

3. Not calculating a realistic break-even point

This is a huge problem in the small business world because many do not look at how much money is needed to cover the realistic cost of starting and running their particular business. They do not know how many sales they need to make to produce a profit or how much money they have made because they have not calculated those costs. For example, a friend purchased a well-known ice cream franchise, but the company never explained to him the cost of its monthly expenses to cover things like rent and utilities. Sometimes people invest in a business and can’t possibly make the number of sales necessary to cover the expense of operation. It is necessary to calculate a break-even point in the beginning stages of planning the business and decide the best business model for success.

4. Disregarding the importance of marketing

This is the simplest mistake made. The best product in the world can’t be sold if no one knows that it exists.

5. Pushing forward without specific goals

A great number of people get into business because they have a passion. For instance, a love for restoring bikes develops into someone opening a bike shop. Many set out simply doing what they love and have no specific goals for profit, sales, or time management. A lot of entrepreneurs begin without doing the research and they go in underprepared. No one can can hit a goal that they don’t make. Setting goals is essential.

Consciously taking steps to avoid these 5 mistakes and sometimes reorganizing is a part of the entrepreneurial journey, but with dedication to both management and the passion, anyone can be a success. 

Scottsdale Community College Business School Program Director and faculty member Mark Barton offers sage advice for entrepreneurs in avoiding common setbacks in the entrepreneurial journey. 

The Entrepreneurial Studies program at SCC is comprised of a set of interdisciplinary classes designed to teach one how to transform an idea into a business entity and beyond. The program’s courses include topics in raising capital, building financial security, business plan writing, new venture legal issue management, financial projection, in addition to marketing and market research.

For more information, visit the SCC School of Business.