What Not to Do When Starting a Business

Thomas Lanigan
Last Updated
February 18, 2021

Starting a business can be time-consuming and challenging, which is why deciding to start a business is a big step forward. Part of the reason why entrepreneurs start new businesses is that they like having the power to decide. You are the captain of your own ship.

As amazing as this sounds, starting a business comes with rookie mistakes that can lead to startup failure. Some rookie mistakes such as moving too quickly can lead to hiring the wrong people, spending too much time or too many resources in the wrong areas, or being too rigid about your roadmap.

Here’s how to avoid them and a big part of startup success is learning from others mistakes. This is why we will be discussing what NOT to do when starting a business.

Do NOT Waste Your Time Planning

Good ideas must have a good foundation, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend too much time planning everything out. Believe it or not, this could keep you from doing anything at all.

Sketch out a tangible scenario and set up the main elements of your business plan, but don’t be too concerned about the what-ifs. Having a meticulous and micro-detailed business plan is a huge waste of your time and resources, since you will likely toss it out or rework it completely as you grow and pivot your business in the early stages.

These are the most important elements to give thought too such as defining your target market and knowing what matters to them. Choosing your team and knowing who is the right fit for your business is another important aspect to consider.

Next is understanding your competition while performing market research and finding a good niche for your business; ask yourself, what problem are you trying to solve and why? Then check your financials and find solutions for the remaining problems, if any.

Do NOT Be Afraid To Start Your Business

Most people will tell you, “Oh, you shouldn’t start a business, it’s risky!” or, “This is really not the time, the market is not ready for your idea.” Ignore that. You shouldn’t wait for the perfect moment to open up your business because there is no such thing. If your intuition is telling you “go for it!” then, go for it!

Listening to other people might discourage you, and you might never end up getting started. Listening to people will create fear and doubt. Make sure you know where you stand, have a clear goal in mind, and follow your gut. Remember to be flexible and pivot as you learn. Because the push to actually start is the hardest part here are 4 Tips To Help You Overcome That First-Time Entrepreneur Fear.

Do NOT Ignore the Paperwork

Ignoring paperwork can lead to failure because of non-compliance when forming an LLC, so don’t put your company’s long-term success on the line.

Written business documents such as your operating agreement are important in case something happens within your business – and to be honest, you never know what can happen. Another example of staying compliant is to protect your personal and business assets separately by opening a businesses bank account and registered agent service.

Do NOT Ask Everyone for Funding

When you hear the word funding you often think, let’s ask everyone for money! This is a myth!

If you need some money to get started, it’s normal to ask for donations and funding from those close to you. Asking friends and family for financial support is OKAY, but involving people you don’t know in your affairs can be tricky.

Investors can be real sharks sometimes (if not all the time), so you must be cautious. Think the famous television show Shark Tank here.

Some investors will seemingly have good intentions when in fact, all they want is to take advantage of your business. Keep your eyes on alert for potential sharks and be careful about who you “take money from”. Remember you’ll have to pay back all the money you borrow so be cautious on your funding.

Do NOT Hurry the Hiring Process

Hiring the right people is essential to any business. However, you cannot ensure that you found the best matches if you’re rushing to hire. Take your time and interview each person individually and don’t settle. Get as close to your ideal candidate for the job as you can.

During the hiring keep an eye out on who would add the most value to your company in the long term. Spend time on actually getting to know the interviewees and bring your intuition to the table.

Give yourself enough time to assess whether a candidate is indeed fit for your company. Make sure that each potential new hire fits in your company’s culture. If you rush you’ll often start at square one while wasting money and resources.


I once hired a custom papers specialist to work for my startup, and it turned out that he didn’t really want to be there because he felt uncomfortable. I made a mistake and learned my lesson my employees’ values must match my company’s. Otherwise, it simply doesn’t work.

Do NOT Forget Your WHY

Ensure that you know WHY you are opening up a business and have a clear goal in mind. This will keep you going when you run into obstacles.

Do not forget the reason you wanted this in the first place. Keeping a business afloat might be challenging, but it is worth it because it is YOUR dream. So, make sure you always remember your WHY.

You can honestly answer these questions to get a better idea if you’re ready to start a business while finding your WHY.

  1. Do I currently have other obligations that will prevent me from giving the business 100 percent?
  2. Would there be a much better time for me to start a business other than now?
  3. What are my alternatives if I don’t start a business now?
  4. Can I test-run the business part-time before quitting my job?


Congrats on taking real steps into starting your own business! It’s a road that isn’t set in stone so that’s why it’s just as important to know what NOT to do in order to succeed.

Your startup journey will be different, but don’t forget to always remember your WHY and remember your DO NOTs below.

  • Do NOT Waste Too Much Time Planning
  • Do NOT Be Afraid
  • Do NOT Ignore the Paperwork
  • Do NOT Ask Everyone for Funding
  • Do NOT Hurry the Hiring Process
  • Do NOT Forget Your WHY

Now that you know what NOT to do get going and start your business. Good luck on this exciting adventure into entrepreneurship!

Are You Ready To Start A Business?

When starting a new business, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks on your to-do list. To help you with the overwhelming workload, we’ve created this ultimate business startup checklist.

This list covers the most common things that entrepreneurs need to remember when starting their new businesses and are broken down into relevant categories.
Thomas Lanigan is a professional content writer and offers assignment proofreading. He is a digital marketer and a part-time blogger from London, UK. His writing specialties are in digital marketing, online retail, business, and finance. Apart from that, Thomas is a passionate traveler and explorer of new cultures. Thomas Lanigan has 4 years of work experience as a marketing specialist, social media manager, writer, journalist, and editor.
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