10 common mistakes for small startups

Starting your own business is filled with excitement and opportunities. However, it's no secret that there are many factors to consider and challenges to overcome. In this article, we will show you some startup mistakes and some tips on how you can avoid them.


Starting your own business is filled with excitement and opportunities. However, it’s no secret that there are many factors to consider and challenges to overcome. In this article, we will show you some startup mistakes and some tips on how you can avoid them.

According to Investopedia, about 45 percent of new businesses fail within their first five years. The first years can be tough because finding customers, suppliers and finding capital can be challenging. How can you start and run your new business successfully, you may ask. Here are some common mistakes that you should think about.

1. Lack of business plan

If you’re not creating a business plan and sticking to it, it can be difficult to reach your goals. By making a business plan, you can map out your operating costs, how much you are expecting to earn from sales, who your customers are and why they should purchase your product or service.

Your business plan should include:

  • Your strategies like sales and marketing strategy
  • Analysis of industry, competition and customer
  • Funding requirement of your business
  • Company overview
  • Structure and management information
  • Your financial plan for the next three to five years

Business plans are also a way to attract investors, understand your competition in the market and minimize risks. It is essentially a basic plan to manage your business better. 

Related: 10 reasons why you need a business plan

2. Insufficient market research

Another mistake among startup mistakes is not doing detailed market research. You should see whether there’s a market for your business idea or not. You’re probably excited about the idea you came up with, but it’s important to investigate if others are also interested in it.

This is what you will understand when you do market research:

  • What customers are looking for
  • How to reach your customer

It may also be a good idea to test your products or services before you decide to make it a business. If you do this, you will see if people are going to buy what you are offering or not.

3. Not getting paid on time

When starting a business, it’s easy to become engrossed in developing your products or services. The excitement and focus on perfecting your product or service can sometimes lead to startup mistakes, such as neglecting to send and follow up on invoices.

This oversight can result in delayed payments, which can strain your business’s cash flow. Ensuring timely payments is crucial for the survival and growth of your new business. To streamline this process, consider using free invoicing software to efficiently manage and send invoices. This will help you get paid promptly and maintain a healthy cash flow.

Conta is a completely free and simple way to send invoices. Running a business can be hard enough as it is. Therefore we have made our invoicing software completely free of charge.

Create free invoices

4. Being impatient

Getting noticed by customers can take some time. Even though you’re eager to sell your products and get paid, you might have to be patient. It can also be helpful to test your products on the market to see if you’re on the right track.

Success rarely happens overnight, and expecting immediate results can lead to frustration and startup mistakes. Impatience can also make you abandon strategies that take time and make impulsive changes.

Understanding that growth and success are gradual processes will help you make more thoughtful, long-term decisions, ultimately leading to a more stable and successful business.

5. Inadequate online presence

Having a strong online presence is essential for business success. If you’re not online it will limit your reach and visibility. Potential customers often turn to the internet to find products, services, and information about businesses. If your online presence is weak or nonexistent, you miss out on valuable opportunities to attract new customers.

Your business should at least have

  • a well-designed website
  • active social media profiles
  • positive online reviews

Investing in a robust online strategy can help you build credibility, connect with a broader audience, and drive growth for your new business.

6. Wasting money

One of the most common startup mistakes when starting a business is wasting money. When starting a business, you are most likely to be very enthusiastic and want to make sure everything runs smoothly. You may spend a lot on software, packaging, marketing or other things. By developing a budget that outlines all of your expected expenses and how to prioritize them, it can help you decide what is worth spending on and what’s not. 

It’s easy to be lured by the latest gadgets or software solutions. But they may not be essential for your business. You should start with basic, cost-effective tools. One of the basic softwares you need is invoicing software. Conta knows that running a business can be costly enough as it is. Therefore, we have made our invoicing software completely free of charge.

Create invoices for free

7. Forgetting about the customer

Among the many challenges of launching a new business, one critical error stands out: forgetting about the customer. This can destroy everything you have planned. Some ways to keep your focus on the customer is understanding your customer needs and engaging with your customers. 

You should invest time in market research to understand your target audience before starting a business. Identify pain points, behaviors and preferences. This makes it easier to provide products and services that are actually meeting their needs, and make them satisfied. For connecting and communicating with your customers, you can use social media, surveys and direct feedback to understand their experiences and gather suggestions for improvement.

8. Underestimating cash flow

Another important but commonly underestimated factor of starting a new business is managing cash flow. If you are overlooking this, it may lead to financial stress and your entire business is at high risk.

Monitoring your cash flow is estimating realistic revenues and expenses, which will be important for your new business. It can also be helpful to estimate higher than expected costs to create a buffer for unexpected expenses. Cash flow require that you are constantly reviewing your cash flow statements to look for potential cash shortages in advance. Another thing you can do to prevent cash flow problems is getting prompt payment from clients, and you may also consider offering discounts for early payments. You can also negotiate favorable payment terms with suppliers to retain cash for longer. 

Related: The ultimate guide to liquidity and cash flow

9. Not investing in marketing

Something that can hinder growth and success of a new business is overlooking the importance of marketing. You can look at marketing as not just an expense, but an important investment that connects you product or service to potential customers. It is likely that customers are browsing through products on web sites or social media. Spending some time and money on marketing can help your customers to discover your brand.

A great way to start may be to create some social media channels, setting up a nice web page, start to get emails for newsletters and schedule some helpful or informative posts. When spending time and money on marketing, you will understand your market and customers more. It’s important for gathering valuable insights about customers preferences, trends and needs, and it can help you make business decisions.

10. Ignoring competition

One of the most damaging mistakes you can make as a new business is ignoring your competition. Overlooking the trends and activities in your industry can lead to lost opportunities and ineffective strategies.

Analyze your competitors strengths and weaknesses. Carve out a unique niche that sets you apart. You may discover unmet customers’ needs or underserved demographics that you can target with tailored offerings.

Read also: 7 tips to succeed as an entrepreneur

Your path to business success – how to avoid startup mistakes

We’ve never encountered anyone who sets out to start a business with the intention of failing. If launching a business is on your thoughts, it’s important to recognize that it’s a journey, not just a single event. By dedicating time to thorough planning and research, and steering clear of the common pitfalls mentioned above, you can significantly enhance your chances of building a successful business.

Ready to get started?

Running a business can be challenging enough as it is, so why not make invoicing easier? At Conta, we’ve made our invoicing software completely free of charge. Join over 60,000 satisfied businesses and simplify your financial management today.

Create invoices for free