start-up mistakes
Image Credit: Supplied

Setting up a business can be complicated, so it helps to get some advice to avoid those common mistakes. Here experienced business owners highlight the five mistakes that every start-up should avoid to ace the entrepreneurial game.

Don’t rush that business plan

“One of the first things to ensure is that you get that business plan in shape,” says Nicki Wilson, Owner and Managing Director at Genie Recruitment.

“My biggest tip for starting a business in the UAE would be to ensure you write a detailed business plan. It is a fantastic opportunity to research, understand the resources needed, and scope out if your business will work. My business plan is 50 pages long, and even after five years, I still refer to it to bring me back to the original plan. Having a business plan gives you some structure. It may even uncover opportunities.”

Don’t try and do the finances yourself

An accountant is worth every penny. Wilson says, “I hired an accountant, part-time initially. It’s so important you have someone looking at the numbers. I also really appreciate having someone to bounce ideas off, as having someone looking from a financial perspective when it comes to scaling, is helpful.”

Don’t neglect your target audience

Ben Carter, Owner, Foxi Box, which caters to pampered pooches, says that it’s essential to look after your customers if you want to succeed.

“We found it extremely important to keep the customer at the heart of everything we do. We very quickly realised how important it was to customise every single piece of interaction we have with them, whether that was remembering the customer’s favourite treat from a previous box, putting their photo on the inside of our boxes, hand writing messages or sending a complimentary toy as their dog destroyed their favourite one.”

Don’t be afraid of failure

Sometimes things go wrong, but that’s okay. Carter says, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Our monthly subscription box was our prime product, and we eventually launched new products such as birthday boxes for dogs, your pet on socks and your pet on a doormat. However, we had to test the market to get to that phase, and some boxes didn’t sell. At the time, we felt embarrassed. However, we decided to go directly to our customers and get feedback. This changed how we approached the problem, and eventually, we landed on new products.”

Don’t neglect your personal finances

Greg Stockton, CEO of Prosperity, reminds entrepreneurs that managing their own wealth and having insurance cover is imperative.

Stockton says, “Secure your personal wealth — businesses fail, so don’t go all-in until you have secured your personal finances. This includes life insurance. Make sure the family has an adequate payout if something happens to you.

“Additionally, obtain critical illness cover. Make sure you have at least two or three years’ worth of expenses covered in the event of a heart attack, cancer or any critical illness that could pull you away from your new business. Also, keep some wealth invested outside of the business and consistently add to it to retain non-business assets.” ■