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Five mistakes entrepreneurs can't afford to make

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Failure. Perfection. Persistence. The recipe to success in business is a mixture of challenges and triumphs.

For first-time entrepreneurs in particular, building a business does not come without a number of mistakes, learning experiences and, ultimately, growth opportunities.

Start-up and small business owners are often faced with a lack of experience in running their own venture, which may manifest as confusion and doubt. Being aware of the most common pitfalls encountered by fellow entrepreneurs can make the difference between your business sinking or swimming.

Here are my tips for five entrepreneurial blunders to avoid when striving to gain a competitive edge:

small business owner mistakes

1. Pretending you have all the answers

For those who have just stepped into the business world, don't expect that you will know everything immediately. Running a business is about sharing knowledge and growing towards goals, so take every opportunity to absorb advice from other successful small business owners.

Opening yourself up to research and professional help will allow you to grow closer to the needs of your market and understand your industry across multiple levels.

2. Obsess over competition

Comparison can be a great motivator, but too much fixation on the competition can lead to tunnel vision and a lack of differentiation. Acquiring success as an entrepreneur is about more than just getting to the level of your competitors.

To channel your energy into working towards the most creative and strategic version of your business, direct your main focus on self-evaluation and get inside the mindset of your customers.

3. Waiting for the 'right time'

Viable opportunities can be missed by waiting for the 'right time' to invest or change directions in the business game. Making decisions that push you outside of your comfort zone and striving for improvement are part and parcel of being a successful entrepreneur.

In order to grow, you must feel uncomfortable until what was once unknown and frightening becomes your new normal. Don't miss important gaps in the market and investment opportunities by waiting for a time when you feel 'ready'.

five mistakes entrepreneurs can

4. Financial mismanagement

Your business will fall like a house of cards if you are not mindful to manage your finances and spend wisely.

Turning to a financial adviser can be useful in avoiding fatal financial blunders and sufficient funds should be put aside as a back-up plan for emergencies.

5. Failing to plan and planning to fail

While being agile will allow you to efficiently capitalise on underserved markets and first-mover advantage, planning and infrastructure are essential to setting your own business up to thrive in the long-term.

Organisation and prioritisation are simple yet productive ways to becoming the ringmaster in the circus that is running a small business.

Setting out the process of starting up your own venture on paper can seem foolproof; however you should avoid being a victim of circumstance or being too optimistic by also creating a backup plan to keep the company afloat if anything was to go wrong.

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