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Tips for avoiding common start-up mistakes

Starting a business is an exciting time. However, it can also be a nightmare if you don't know or fully understand the things you need to do to get your business off the ground.

The following are some tips for avoiding common start-up mistakes that will save you money and business in the long run.

Mistake: Not having a business plan.
Many people think a business plan is only necessary if you plan on seeking funding for your business. However, having a business plan is important because it not only helps you map out the structure of your business and how you plan to start and run it, but it also helps you know whether or not your idea is feasible.

Solution: Look online for examples or templates for business plans, and draft one up for your small business.

Mistake: Not finding out legal requirements.
Each state has differing laws when it comes to legal requirements for home or small businesses. Keep in mind that legally running your business includes not only complying with federal and local laws in the state in which you run your business, but you also must meet laws for every state you do business in. This also includes internet transactions if you mail your product to another state. Failing to find out legal requirements could result in heavy fines or, at worst, your business being shut down.

Solution: Find out what you need to do to make your business legal. Each state has a Small Business Administration resource office that will provide you with all of the legal requirements for starting a business.

Mistake: Not following labor laws.
If you have employees, you will have to comply with labor and minimum wage laws within the country and state. You will also need to know what you are required to provide, as well as limitations, as an employer.

Solution: Research labor laws and find out what you need to do to make your employees legal. In addition, you will also need an Employer Identification Number from the IRS, regardless of whether you have employees or not.

Mistake: Not having a niche
A niche market is crucial for your small business, whatever it may be. Don't make the mistake of thinking your product and services are for anyone and everyone. Without a niche, you waste valuable time and money.
Solution: Zero in on a specific group or demographic you can target. For example, if you have a personal training business, consider targeting a group such as business professionals you can train on their lunch hour, or make a niche of student athletes.

Mistake: Failing to research and evaluate before you market
Not researching your market is a waste of time and money. For example, you may have a business that targets senior citizens and decide to focus your marketing primarily on internet marketing and emails. However, with research you would find that only a small percentage of senior citizens use the internet and email on a regular basis.

Solution: You should research your market thoroughly before you begin your business. Once you have researched your market and determined the best marketing routes to take, it is also important to evaluate the effectiveness of that campaign. This can include determining whether your tactics are generating leads, asking customers where they heard about your company, and so forth.

With the proper research and planning, you can avoid these common business start up mistakes.

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