Small Business Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Make

Starting a business can be intimidating, and the fear of failure can be so crippling it can stop potential business owners from ever taking the big leap. Mistakes are expected when taking on a new challenge, but when accomplished, it can be twice as rewarding. 

The benefit of not being the first business owner is that we can pay attention to what other entrepreneurs did wrong, and what we can do to make it better. Instead of trying to avoid mistakes altogether, let’s learn from the errors of others for a smoother startup launch.  


Picking a Niche Too Narrow or Broad

Choosing a broad niche because there is no specific target audience. A narrow niche caters to a small portion of the population and prevents the company from growing. Find a middle ground, where it is specific enough to catch attention, but is still able to attract enough profit. 

Choosing the Wrong Business Type

A business structure can make or break a company in the beginning. Learn about the different types of business entities, and work with an attorney and an accountant to know which one best fits the company’s needs. 

Marketing Mistakes

Not Investing Enough in Marketing

Companies can no longer rely solely on word of mouth. Invest in marketing to create a stronger presence and build brand awareness. Trying to skip out on the expense will cost more in the long run. 

Not Going Digital

Less than two-thirds of small businesses have a website, and 58% of those without a website plan to build one. Digital marketing is taking over, and ignoring it is the quickest way to miss out on reach.  

Financial Mistakes

Not Buckling Down on Finances

A business owner does not have to be a mathematician, but they need to have a basic understanding of financial processes. Inadequate cash flow is the leading cause of small businesses being shut down, so make sure to hire a bookkeeper to keep everything in order. 

Filing Taxes Late or Inaccurately

Business taxes must be filed by a certain deadline, and if they are not completed properly, it can cost the company severe penalties. To avoid underpaying taxes or other issues, consult with professionals who are familiar with tax codes and guidelines.  

Common Hiring Mistakes

Waiting Too Long to Hire

Business owners delegating tasks on their own are more likely to mess up. There is nothing wrong with needing extra hands. In fact, it will save money by allowing the launch to run smoothly. 

Hiring Too Quickly

Similar to not wanting to start a business by themselves, business owners should take time to choose the right people to start the business off. Otherwise, there will be complications and hurt the team’s morale.

The Bottom Line

Mistakes are inevitable, but they can be reduced when we study the experience of other business owners. After all, victory loves preparation. 


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.