Start Your Business

7 Mistakes to Avoid when Starting a Business

Small business owner sitting at desk with laptop, pen and paper for 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Startin

When starting a business, there are steps you should take as well as mistakes you should avoid. With the right approach, you will find yourself in better position to achieve long-term success. Every year, thousands of businesses close down for one reason or another. Some of these closures are the direct result of making one or more costly mistakes. As you get up and running, it is important to know which mistakes have plagued others before you. This will allow you to avoid the same situation, thus improving your chance of success.

Below are seven mistakes to avoid when starting a business:

1. Overlooking the importance of a business plan. It’s all in your head, right? While you may have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, a business plan, on paper, will ensure that you see it through.

2. Lack of market research. Before you ever get started, it is essential to understand the ins and outs of your market. Here are a few questions to answer:

  • Who are your primary competitors?
  • How long have your competitors been in business?
  • How much do your competitors charge for a similar product or service?
  • How big is the market?
  • Where are your key prospects located?

By answering these types of questions, you will soon have a better grasp on your market and how you fit in.

3. Not understanding the wants and needs of your target audience. It is one thing to know who your audience is. It is another thing entirely to understand how to get in touch, what they are looking for, and how to convert them from prospect to customer. Just the same as your market, you need to know your target audience like the back of your hand.

4. Insufficient funding. Do you know how much money it will take to get your business up and running? Along with this, make sure you know how much cash your business will require every month. If you don’t have enough money in the bank to fund your business, begin to consider other options. From a bank loan to credit cards to a personal loan to alternative lenders, there are ways to obtain financing. A lack of money has killed many good business ideas over the years. Don’t let your company go down this path.

5. Skimping on marketing and advertising. You know your business has a lot to offer. But guess what? Your target audience may not even know you exist. You must have a marketing and advertising budget. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be enough to spread the word and attract interest. Your business plan can include information on marketing and advertising, as well as a breakdown of the strategies you will follow and how much it will cost. As you begin to generate revenue, you can increase your marketing and advertising budget.

6. A lack of flexibility. Early on, you think you know everything. You think your business idea is just about as solid as they come. And then you face some resistance. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who remain flexible at all times. It may be difficult to change paths. It may be challenging to give in from time to time. This may be something you fight early on. But answer this question: would you rather be flexible or out of business?

7. Ignoring advice. Regardless of your experience and knowledge, you can always learn from others. This is particularly true if you are opening your first business and/or entering a new industry. Don’t ignore the advice of outsiders. Taking this one step further, you should feel comfortable working with a mentor.

No matter how you look at it, you will make mistakes when starting a business. Even so, most mistakes are avoidable if you are organized, patient, and willing to keep an open mind.

Learn what’s right for your business

Visit SunTrust’s Small Business Best Practices Guide for a straightforward checklist of best practices in six important areas of financial management, including starting your business. 

This post originally appeared on

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.


Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.