The appeal of owning your own business is understandable. You get to be your own boss, make your own hours, and enjoy the ultimate profit of all your hard work. In fact, small businesses are the backbone of Australia’s economy, making up around 96% of all businesses. However, before you take the entrepreneurial plunge, let’s take a look at six very important don’ts of starting your own business. Neglecting to establish a business plan I know this seems obvious enough, but you would be surprised by how many people forget about the importance of having a well-planned business strategy when starting out on their investment journey. Your business plan is the blueprint of your business. Just like you wouldn’t start building your home without creating intricate and highly detailed plans, you can’t expect to launch a promising business without your essential strategy in place. Yes, it’s time consuming and demands a lot of research, but investing time now will save you so much time and money later. Letting your heart rule your head In the early stages of starting your business, it’s understandable to be emotional and excited about beginning a new adventure in your life. After all, you’ve probably been planning this for quite some time. It’s important, however, to rein in those emotions when it comes to choosing a business partner. This is the perfect time to let your head overrule your heart. Obviously, there are instances of spouses, best friends, and family members being able to work together and create a thriving business. However, this is usually the exception and not the rule. Just because certain relationships flourish in other areas of your life does not mean those same relationships will stand the test of starting and maintaining a business together. It’s easy to get excited about the idea of starting a business together. The true challenges arise when the excitement fades and the gritty day-to-day responsibilities kick in. Often, the best partner is someone whose skills and approach are the polar opposite of yours. Although you may deal with some initial conflict as you hash out ideas and best practices, it will ultimately force you both to defend your business instincts and help empower you to delegate according to your strengths and weaknesses. Trying to do everything yourself When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to want to be as cost effective as possible. In doing so, however, you can quickly succumb to the mindset of having to do everything yourself. There is no quicker way to burn out and risk failing all together than if you fall into this cycle. Running a successful business requires a plethora of skill sets and knowledge, and it’s highly doubtful that you possess them all! The same is true for your partner as well. Although hiring part-time help or contracting out certain tasks such as website design or marketing will initially add to your expenses, it will also allow you to focus your energy where you can be most effective and devote valuable time to business development. Saving financial resources is important, but don’t let your unending task list cause you to lose sight of your ultimate goals. Becoming stagnant It’s easy to fall into a routine of what you’ve found to be successful and stick with it. However, the world of business is highly competitive, which requires you to not only be open to new ways of doing things but to proactively look for new ways of doing things. Whether it’s your overall business plan, marketing strategy, or even your initial goals, nothing is set in stone. Especially with the constant evolution of technology, you will be required to be open to innovative ideas and change in order to maintain a thriving, growing business. The most effective way to remain relevant in your industry is to stay abreast of changing trends and consumer expectations. And remember, as a smaller business, you have a distinct advantage over larger corporations in your ability to embrace and integrate change at a much faster and more efficient pace. Setting unrealistic expectations Running a business is not a sprint. It’s a very intense and unpredictable marathon. Every day will present itself with varying degrees of ups and downs, successes and failures. It’s all part of owning your own business. It’s important to have realistic expectations and not try to achieve too much, too soon. You’ll quickly burn out mentally, emotionally, and physically, not to mention you’re likely to deplete your resources too quickly. Remember, this is a journey that you’ve committed to for the long haul, so pace yourself! For most of us, it’s human nature to want a well-planned and predictable future. However, some of the most amazing achievements are born out of the unknown. Letting fear and stress overwhelm you You will have setbacks. They are unavoidable. Failure, disappointment, and doubt are all part of owning your own business. It’s important to not get discouraged during these times but to embrace them as opportunities to learn, grow, and innovate. Take these moments to focus on becoming more resilient and learning how to handle stress more productively. By changing your outlook on mistakes and failures, maintaining your confidence, and embracing all the exciting possibilities that the future holds for you, you will surely achieve the success you are reaching for. Most of all, don’t lose sight of the big picture. Remember why you started your business to begin with! It’s easy to get carried away by the daily stresses and forget what it was you wanted from your own business in the first place. Take time to refuel your initial passion and focus your energies on new creative ideas that can help you achieve both your short and long-term goals.