top mistakes when starting a business

How to avoid top mistakes when starting a business in 2021?

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 9 Min Read

Starting a business is like jumping out of an aeroplane without a parachute. But if you do it right, you can reach the stars. You’re the skydiver, and your business is the parachute. If you’re going to jump, at least know what you’re doing wrong so you can avoid them all! Here’s how to avoid top mistakes when starting a business in 2021.


Be flexible and willing to change.

In general, if you’re going to build a business, you’ll have to constantly change and adapt to changes in your market. That requires a lot of flexibility and adaptability. 

Avoid burnout by keeping a flexible schedule. If you’re burned out, it’s hard to deliver a high-quality product or service. 

You’re unlikely to work as long or hard as you need to to achieve your goals. Thus, don’t try to get too far ahead of yourself. If you look too far ahead, you risk getting lost in the fog. 

Too much focus and work on the future can prevent you from getting things done now. 

Don’t be afraid to find new talent if you need to. I’ve always had to be willing to let go of employees when we needed to make changes to our business.

Don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none.

Being too mobile is a nightmare, especially in the early days. No one can give you an extra edge or even give you a hand at the start of your business. In fact, most experienced entrepreneurs advise you to think seriously about getting a support team in place before starting your company, or even in the middle of it.

Build a team around your skills, not the other way round. 

Don’t choose to launch without having a vision for your business. Don’t launch your company without having a vision for it and your positioning. There’s no point in launching if you don’t know what you’re trying to do.

Don’t underestimate the need for planning and take only calculated risk.

Know what you want, and make sure you’ve done your homework. Study your target market to find their unmet needs, and invest the time, money and emotional energy to create a product or service that satisfies those needs. 

Success is no accident, so make sure you set yourself up for success by doing your research. Now, how will we do that in 2021? The simple answer is identify target markets and grow your brand presence. Do you know your local coffee shop audience? Do you know your telecom sector or automotive industry? Think about what your customers are interested in and start producing unique products or services for them. 

Don’t just create a product, test it and learn from your customer. Listen to what they tell you, test it and learn.

Make sure you know the caliber of the people you hire.

For many businesses, it’s not just about how much money they make, it’s about who they make it with. Finding like-minded entrepreneurs in your area is an important step to taking your business to the next level. And finding people who share your passion is an even more important step. It’s about finding people who will make your vision come true. It is still the biggest business decision, and it’s important to do it right. Before hiring a graphic designer or business owner, make sure you know the caliber of the person. 

Learn from other people’s mistakes.

I find it incredibly valuable to observe other people’s mistakes. Find those that haven’t worked out, and figure out what went wrong. Usually the ones that didn’t work out can be attributed to one of a few things: 

No clear end-point (i.e. is it growing or dying?) (i.e. is the business a hobby or a business?

Lacking financial clarity (is the company profitable or not? And if not, when do you expect to be?) 

No actual product or service (is it just a logo on a website?)

Miscommunication (did you communicate the value of the business well enough with your potential customers?

Always have a backup plan.

Your business is your baby and you’re the parent. You can make it better than anyone else. You don’t always have to come up with the perfect idea, just a decent one that can bring in money and be profitable. When you’re starting your business, there is no hurry. In 2021, you’ll have time to grow and make mistakes. But if you want to get really good, and start growing into a well-known company, you have to take action now. You have to push forward. Only invest in businesses that are real. We spend so much time looking at data about how other businesses are performing and how other companies around the world are performing. In the future, you won’t need to compare your business to anyone else. You’ll only need to do it against your own goals and capabilities.

Don’t be afraid to trust people with your money.

More often than not, if you’re trusting people with money you don’t have yourself, it’s because you haven’t taken the time to train or hone your skills enough to lead a successful business. This is a big mistake. Sure, you may need help from an expert, but your business will be stronger if you learn to make these major life decisions on your own first. When you’re trying to launch, you’ll be spending a lot of money and there are always plenty of folks ready to ‘save’ you, but there’s no one person who will get you to where you need to be faster. So focus on honing your skill set and making sure you’re covered if things don’t work out. Have the right business structure in place.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.

You never know where the next idea will come from or what new niche your business could fill. The bigger the risk the greater the reward. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn something and find a different angle. Balance the money and profits. Running your own business is a full-time job. So it’s essential you find the balance between money and profit. You’ll want your business to grow and reach its potential, but you don’t want to spend all your time worrying about your bills or where your next meal is coming from. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. You’ll face your share of challenges, but at the end of the day, you can always rely on your own gut instinct.

Not investing in your company’s future before you start. 

One mistake I see a lot of people make is that they jump out of the plane without preparing properly. That’s like cutting the cord with your parachute too soon and losing it. When you’re first starting your business, it can be easy to get caught up in things like building an infrastructure for your business (i.e. sales and marketing strategy, ecommerce site, etc.) but without a long-term strategy, you might not be able to do that without getting yourself into more trouble. So, invest in your future by setting yourself up to reach the heights you want to.

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Posted by Elena Hudgens
Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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