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Start-Ups

5 Common Mistakes Made by Young Entrepreneurs and How to Avoid Them

By Barbara Beauregard   |    July 16, 2014   |    11:34 AM

Tips on Steering Clear of Costly Inexperienced-Entrepreneur Mistakes

Like any young business professional, a green entrepreneur is bound to make some mistakes. Some mistakes, however, are more costly than others. Becoming self-employed is a good step to financial independence. The current economy is tough for many new professionals so entrepreneurship is attractive to them. These people, however, must avoid the most common green entrepreneur mistakes to become and stay successful. Here are five that are frequently made.

  1. Not Doing the Homework: Many young entrepreneurs want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but they don’t do the homework to figure out how to get there. Entrepreneurs should research the niche that they want to enter to see if there is even opportunity. Use Internet or library resources to find information on competitors, target audiences, opportunity, demand, etc. before ever launching the product or service.
  2. Not Creating Business Goals: Creating business goals forces someone to think about where they want to be in 1, 5 or 10 years. Young entrepreneurs should consider where they want their business to go long before they ever launch it. Create a plan that includes the target audience, organizational structure and long/short-term goals. There are many online and off-line resources that can help an entrepreneur create a business plan, including the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  3. Hiring the Wrong People – or College Friends: Many entrepreneurs want to hire their friends, especially their college buddies if they’re just out of school. This can be dangerous since these friends might not have the same level of professionalism or the needed skills. Hire people for their skill set, not because you enjoyed hanging out with them. If friends do have the necessary skill sets, then hire them. Just be sure that they also are willing to do the hard work and to grow with the business.
  4. Not Asking for Help: An entrepreneur can’t do it alone, especially if you plan on quickly scaling up a startup. Get advice from other entrepreneurs or professionals in the business. Talk to trusted individuals and seek their advice on how to grow. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for funding to get the business off the ground.
  5. Arrogance and Impatience: Entrepreneurs generally have aggressive personalities, but green ones can take it too far. Certain young entrepreneurs can come across as arrogant because they don’t want to admit to a mistake or even correct it. Others may be too impatient to get to the top, and they won’t take the time to do all the legwork to get the business off of the ground. They may also want to be a success overnight, which rarely happens in even the best scenario. The final major personality flaw is just being greedy. If a person has simply become an entrepreneur to become wealthy, then they’re not only missing the point, their business is probably also going to fail.

Learning from other people’s failures is a powerful lesson. Young entrepreneurs should take these mistakes to heart and try to avoid them if possible.