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Five Most Common New Business Mistakes and How to Fix Them

By Cathy Goodwin
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2004

Q. "Some time ago, I put up a website for my new Business. And I haven't attracted a single customer! Coaches have suggested optimizing for search engines, promoting myself through live events, branding and banishing negative thoughts. I'm feeling dizzy.

A. When you're spending time, money and energy with no results, you're probably making at least one of these five common mistakes. Here's now to get back on track.

Mistake #1. Assuming a market exists for every business idea.

The Fix: Before spending more money, be sure you've identified customers with an ability and a willingness to buy. Choose a market that not only loves your idea, but also can afford to buy your service. And go for low-hanging fruit: a market that values your service and expects to pay for it.

Mistake #2: Focusing on a narrow slice of marketing.

The Fix: Consultants can resemble the fable of the ten blind men and the elephant. Web designers will encourage a website makeover. Copywriters will critique your choice of words. Think strategy first, specialists second.

Mistake #3: Tossing all your marketing budget into one basket

The Fix: Spend frugally (but professionally) while building your customer base. Want to host a catered party with live music and catered refreshments? Test your market with low-cost panel discussions, free content articles and speeches to community groups. Want a brilliant website? Start with a simple calling card, minus the flash. Spend big bucks after you've learned what works.

Mistake #4: Listening to cheerleaders and wet blankets.

The Fix: Learn to ignore advice to "just dive in" before you've learned to swim. And run from those who warn, "You'll probably go under" before you step into the pool. Create your own support team of experts who can give you a balanced, realistic perspective.

By arming yourself with information, you can not only survive but also thrive in your new venture. And confidence comes from information combined with experiences of small but significant success.

Mistake #5: Saying, "If this doesn't work, I can always get a job."

The Fix: Operate from a position of strength. Get an interim source of income before money gets tight. Your old job will be different, even after six months. And after six months of testing the business waters, your old job will seem different. You may not be able to go home again.

About the Author
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant.
"Stop pounding on closed doors and let your next career find you."
"Ten secrets of mastering a major life change"
Contact: 505-534-4294


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