As a start-up, you’ll face risk and unknown variables.  One thing you can count on is that you’ll make mistakes.  Every pioneer does.  The good news is… making mistakes doesn’t have to sabotage your chance for success.

Start-ups fail for numerous reasons, but making a few mistakes isn’t one of them: failure to learn from those mistakes and refusing to change course is. Here are three common pitfalls to avoid on your entrepreneurial journey:

1. Try to Offer “Everything”

It’s tempting when starting a new business to accept any potential sales opportunity or client.   In reality,  you can’t provide a product or service that meets the needs of everyone. It’s better to say no to projects or clients that are outside your scope.  This allows you to  focus on opportunities where you can leverage your strengths and produce better results.

Most start-ups form from a creative spark and grow into a brilliant product or service. Maintaining a simpler focus ensures that you are able to develop your great single idea into something truly extraordinary. Doing too much too soon risks spreading your resources too thin, plunging your start-up into mediocrity or worse.

2. Fail To Delegate

When launching a start-up, it’s easy to try to do everything yourself. Instead, invest your time in what you do best, and assign other responsibilities to your staff. Effective delegation can be one of the best ways for start-up entrepreneurs to build their businesses, free up time for tasks that require their unique expertise, and build a team that is positioned for future success. Running a business requires a variety of skills and experience, and you need to build a team with strengths that balance your own weaknesses. Whether it’s a team of core service providers, virtual helpers or employed staff – you need help because you can’t do it all!

3. Neglect or Delay Marketing

A solid marketing strategy should be part of your start-up plan from day one. Don’t make the assumption that business will automatically come to you. Make sure you understand who your ideal customer is.  The best form of marketing for you will depend on your industry and your target audience. Do market research to identify who you are trying to reach, where to find them, and how they will react to your marketing efforts.

Entrepreneurial types are usually optimistic. After all, who else would put their heart, soul, energy, and hard-earned cash into something that has a 50% chance of failure within the first five years? Those who succeed realize that it takes more than optimism and hard work – it takes learning from your own mistakes and those of others.  This knowledge helps you adapt and make course corrections to maximize your chances of business success.


Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Marketing. She's passionate about helping businesses reach their goals and impact their communities.