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The biggest mistakes new business owners make – have you made them too?

Most businesses that start today will no longer be around five years from now. Many would have survived if the owner had thought differently about his/her company. Here are the most common mistakes:

My company = I
It should be what you'll get out of this that gets the business up and running now, but a company that will move forward must quickly change focus from a single person to the company = My clients' needs.

The company will grow if I sell the right products at the right price
Hey! This is what everyone is working with. This is no news for any of the companies that are out there and that you are going to compete with. The interest for sales and marketing in particular will sell your products. There are many companies that sell the wrong product at the wrong price and survive because they work hard with the marketing and sale of it.

I'm betting that customers will send more customers to me instead of active marketing
No matter how satisfied a customer is, he/she has other things to think about than you. You need to ask your customers about it. Sure, we talk to others about things we see and like, but the experiences have to be extremely positive. If your customers are happy, ask them nicely to tell others about your business.

I can!
Of course you can, but your business will only be as good as it can get if you listen to other smart people's ideas, educate yourself, read books and look for help when you need it.

Networking is only for large companies
Networking is simply an easy way to make contacts and build relationships with others who can help you - and that you can help in return. Meet people and understand their knowledge of what works for them, who their customers are, what alliances they have formed that you might be able to fit in with. You can help each other to better business.

You'll be fine without marketing
If you have invented a car that runs on grass - congratulations. You can stop reading here. For the rest of us, it's necessary (and lots of fun) to work with marketing. The problem with marketing for many start-up companies is that they confuse the concept with expensive advertising campaigns or huge budgets. Advertising is just about one percent of all the things you can do to promote your business. Marketing is really everything you are doing to get potential and existing customers, to discover what you can do for them on a regular basis.

You'll be fine, but keep an eye on the money
No, you don't. You must keep track of the money flow in your business, otherwise you will soon face problems. Kick out the coffee tin (or paper bag) where you store all your receipts and replace it with binders and a good management program. If you're hopeless with money, you need to let someone else do it for you. Read an article on choosing management software and get it before it's too late.

I know everything I need to know to succeed
Instead of hoping that competitors won't overtake you, find out what they do. Check their material continuously, subscribe to their newsletters. Cut out their ads and post them on the walls of your office. Think about how you can overtake them instead of vice versa. Stay updated by subscribing to trade magazines, surf the net and read books to keep you at the forefront at all times. Don't get to comfortable – there's always loads of new things to learn.

I'm not as mean as it sounds, but I mean every word. Every person who takes the risk of starting a business is worthy of all the success he/she can get and that's why is so sad that a lot of people make so many unnecessary mistakes right from the beginning. It is tough enough as it is to get a business rolling.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.