It takes a lot to start a new business. You need a promising business plan, a lot of know-how and, most of all, enough money to get your idea off the ground.
Yet, even with these assets, businesses fail. Often, a few crucial mistakes turn a promising venture into an untenable operation.
So what is an aspiring Colorado business owner to do? The first step is to build a robust network of support - a reliable mentor to guide you through those early decisions, a strong cadre of investors to provide you with the initial capital you'll need and a Denver business attorney who can protect your interests and make sure you don't run afoul of any laws.
Next, take an opportunity to learn from others' mistakes. Recently, a group of successful entrepreneurs sat down with Forbes magazine to share some valuable lessons they learned the hard way. Here's what they had to say:
Make sure you have enough money to grow: It's great when your business grows faster than you planned, but not if you don't have the capital to support your increased operations. Even if you started your company with savings or bank loans, you'll need to start courting investors early on in the process.
Don't confuse yourself with your company: It's easy to base your self-worth on how well your company is doing. Avoid this trap. You need to be able to be at your best when the waters get rough.
Think "big enough": Don't limit the scope of your business so much that you run out of room to grow. Worse, you could be leaving behind valuable markets that your competitors will seize. Although it may be harder to start off slightly bigger, it may put you on a better path to success.
Be realistic: Don't underestimate the challenges you might face or be overly optimistic about your revenue projections. It's better to plan for the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to have to rework an unsustainable operation.
Starting a business is a challenge, but it is also one of the most satisfying things you can do. Get good advice, follow it, and hopefully you will be on the path to prosperity.
Source: Forbes, "Seven Mistakes Promising Companies Make," Max Mallet, Jan. 13, 2012.