9 Business Mistakes With Long-Term Consequences

What’s one decision you made early on in your current business and still regret, and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Not Applying for Trademarks

“During the first year of my previous company, we registered a great dot com domain name. However, we didn’t trademark the product name to save some money. We thought that we could do it later. After a few months, somebody made a hostile registry of the trademark and sued us until we had to change our name — which ended up costing us much more than the trademark would have cost.”

– Pablo Villalba8fit

2. Failing Too Slowly

Early on, the goal of a business should be to try many different approaches to product, marketing and operations as quickly as possible. We got stuck trying to make one marketing approach work. Instead, we should have tried several different approaches more quickly and isolated what worked well.”

– John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

3. Not Hiring Quickly Enough

“Because we’re 100 percent bootstrapped, my co-founder and I put off hiring employees as long as possible. In retrospect, that was a bad decision. If we had hired help sooner, we would have grown quicker and spent more time focusing on the big picture instead of spending 20-hour days obsessing over every aspect of the business.”

– Brittany HodakZinePak

4. Not Offering Health Insurance

“Find a way to implement basic affordable health insurance right away. Early on, with given budget constraints, we couldn’t afford to offer insurance. This cost us a couple key hires and potential candidates at the time.”

– George BousisRaise Marketplace Inc.

5. Not Being Competitive Enough With Pricing

“Since the beginning, we’ve always offered a luxury product. But it was easy to think we could sell more by pricing low. That was foolish because that limited our gross margin, making it increasingly difficult to invest in customer service, paid marketing and improving operations. We’ve since figured out a way to price intelligently, ensuring everyone gets the most value from the transaction.”

– Firas KittanehAmerisleep

6. Being Overly Reliant on Resumes

“It’s easy to look at a resume and get excited about someone, particularly when you need to staff up quickly. Now I understand that truly getting to know a candidate is more important than a few impressive lines on a resume. Today, I like to have longer interviews that allow me to ask behavior-based questions. I also check references to give me a clearer understanding of how people work on a team.”

– Ben Rubenstein, Yodle

7. Not Outsourcing

“There are many moving parts in outsourcing, and you really have to know which tasks are worth your time and which ones you can delegate to more capable parties.”

– Timothy Schmidt, WebsiteRescue

8. Not Building Your Network While Working on Your Idea

“As a first-time entrepreneur, I spent a lot of time by myself refining the business idea behind Priori Legal rather than focusing on making connections and building my network. Now that we are close to celebrating our first year in business, we’ve seen the benefits that have come from our connections along the way.”

– Basha RubinPriori Legal

9. Not Taking Fit Into Account

“I initially tried to get my CFOs to do business development. This experience really showed me the value of fit: matching the right people to the right jobs. My CFOs and senior accountants are gifted financial professionals; but they aren’t rainmakers.”

– David EhrenbergEarly Growth Financial Services

Photo Credits

MattysFlicks | StartupCollective

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