I’m in the process of finalising my business model. What are the...

I’m in the process of finalising my business model. What are the most common mistakes start-ups make that I should avoid?


First, understand that start-up mistakes happen. No matter how much you plan, you will make mistakes. The key to start-up success is learning from these mistakes, making sure they don’t happen again, and constantly looking to improve yourself (and your business).

That said, there are a few common mistakes that you can avoid:

  • Not doing enough research. Start-up entrepreneurs tend to either research their field, or research general business tips, but don’t always do both. It’s as important to know your industry as it is to understand general business principles.
  • Make sure you can still cover your bills. This is for your business and your personal life. Don’t splurge your money or use your business like your personal bank account, this is a time for sacrifice, but make sure you can stand on your feet during the start-up phase. If you can’t, save some more before launching.
  • Have an action plan. You’re going to be busier than you ever thought possible. Without daily tasks and projects, this will become overwhelming – and very inefficient.
  • Evaluate your competitors. Know where the gaps in your industry lie so that you can create solutions for your clients. If you don’t know what your competitors are doing, how can you know if you’re differentiating yourself?
  • Understand the balance sheet. How can you know if you’re making a profit if you don’t know what you owe, and who owes you? Too many start-ups have no idea what their financials actually look like.
Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.