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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

17 Startup Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid

17 Startup Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid
Credit: ra2studio/Shutterstock

There are so many steps involved in starting a business, it's easy to get a little lost along the way. Everyone makes mistakes, but when it comes to your startup, even seemingly harmless oversights could cost you a lot in the long run.

So what are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid? Business News Daily asked business owners for their experiences and advice. Responses ranged from  taking too long to launch your business to hiring friends over more qualified candidates.

If you’re about to launch your business, make sure you avoid these key startup mistakes.

1. Don’t be afraid to fail

The biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid of failure! Failure is key to your success and jumping into your fear is very positive for your future business. How you pick up after failure and learn from your mistakes is the key to great success. — Audrey Darrow, president, Earth Source Organics

2. Don’t misinterpret your market

The biggest mistake a business owner can make when launching a startup is misinterpreting the market. Whether it is underestimating [or] overestimating costs, appealing to the wrong target demographic, or poorly gauging the demand, misinterpreting your market can end your business before it even starts. — Nabeel Mushtaq, COO and co-founder, AskforTask.com

3. Don't delay your launch

A major mistake when starting out is delaying your business launch because it's not perfect. My advice is to launch your business as quickly as possible and refine your business model as you go. You may end up catering to an entirely different target audience that you've originally intended. — Irina Jordan, founder, ARTISURN

4. Don't blindly create a product

The biggest mistake I’ve seen people make when starting a startup is making something nobody actually wants, and then focusing on building the product to the exclusion of marketing the product. The more effective approach to take, in my opinion, is to think early on about not just ‘how will I build my product?’ but ‘how will I build my sales and marketing system?’ and then start building the two in parallel. — Jason Swett, principal, Ben Franklin Labs

5. Don't forget about branding

Underestimating the value of a brand and the people that do branding is the biggest mistake I see happening over and over. Quite often startups/business owners/ entrepreneurs think a simple logo covers this. A brand is a deeper, more articulated definition of your business. It is also a guiding light and acts as a reminder as to what you want you want your business to be, to represent and more. — David Salinas, CEO, Digital Surgeons

6. Don’t think you know it all

The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make (and most do) is to believe that, just because they are an expert at what they do, they have what it takes to run their own business. — Joann Marks, CEO and founder, Cosmetic Promotions

7. Don't get materialistic

They overpay for office space or luxurious appointments that have absolutely no impact on customers. I've watched companies whose customers never see their offices waste hundreds of thousands of precious capital remodeling old warehouses and buying the latest and coolest office furniture, when they should have been developing their business in a garage someplace. — Barry Maher, consultant and author, Barry Maher & Associates

8. Don't move too slowly

Having been a first-time founder who made many mistakes, I realize in hindsight that I never made decisions fast enough. I was slow to recognize that a relationship with a business partner wasn't working out, that my customer wasn't willing to pay enough money to sustain our business, that investors weren't interested in funding my business no matter how much they liked me, etc. — Sam Rosen, CEO and founder, MakeSpace

9. Don’t give yourself the wrong salary

Paying yourself too little or too much [is a mistake]. It's often easier to determine the salary for a new hire than determining an owner or partner's pay. Consider paying yourself a percentage of revenue. Whatever you choose, make figuring out your pay and that of your partners a practice and foundation to healthy expectation of management. — Diana Santaguida, co-founder and creative director, SEOcial.com

10. Don't avoid contracts

One of the biggest mistakes a business owner/entrepreneur can make when starting a business is the failure to implement contracts. No matter how good relationships may be they can come to a screeching halt when systems and agreements are not put in place. — Michelle Colon-Johnson, founder, 2 Dream Productions

11. Don't neglect your marketing budget

The biggest mistake I see businesses make over and over is they spend all of their money on product development and overhead and they leave zero money for marketing to generate customers. They have this mindset that, 'if you build it they will come.' They do not realize that if people do not know your product exists and that it can help them, they can't buy it. — Peter Geisheker, CEO, The Geisheker Group

12. Don't make hires too soon

By far, the biggest mistake a startup can make is hiring employees too soon. Such as hiring full-timers when a part-timer might make more sense. Or hiring an employee when a sub-contractor could have done the same job/function. Nowadays it is very easy to run a small business with part-timers, sub-contractors, and the services of other professionals. — Joseph C. Kunz, Jr., CEO and president, Dickinson Keanaghan

13. Don't take negativity to heart

The single biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make when launching a startup is listening to the naysayers. Undoubtedly, you'll run across this at some point in your entrepreneurial journey. But the more forward-thinking and outside-the-box your concept is, the more likely you are to experience others telling you to quit, to pack up your bags and put your dream on the shelf. —Jessica Reinhart, co-founder, Origami Owl Custom Jewelry

14. Don't go it alone

As an entrepreneur, it's easy to get stuck in one way of doing things or to focus on one particular aspect of a project and to forget that there might be a better, smarter way to work if you vocalized your problem or idea to someone else. Having an extra set of eyes or ears on things is invaluable. — Annie Bryan, vice president of external affairs and marketing, HeroMe

15. Don't be greedy

Our big thing is to do away with greed and follow the golden rule. Employers who choose to retain all the profits and restrict their people's freedom will deeply suffer in this new wave of millennials entering the workforce. —Beau Hale, owner and founder, AdBoom

16. Don't forget about due diligence

The biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make is starting a business without actually seeing if there is a market for their concept and if that concept is sustainable or just a passing fad. By doing some preliminary due diligence into the market of their business idea they could save their life's savings and their all- important time. — Nicole Bienfang, owner, NicoleBienfang.com

17. Don't get too wrapped up in your ideas

As an entrepreneur, it's easy to fall in love with your business idea and fail to fully understand or appreciate the economics. To avoid mistakes in your planning and launch, entrepreneurs must start off with a clear P&L and cash flow plan that details what your business metrics need to be in order to survive in the short term and succeed in the long term. — Carrie McKeegan, co-founder, Greenback Expat Tax Services

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.