So you want to start your own business? You’re not alone. With the e-commerce sector going from strength to strength, there are more people than ever looking to get selling, creating and making some cash. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed – just make sure you don’t fall into any of these common traps.

Neglecting your business plan

If this is your first business, it might be tempting to think that you can wing it. After all, you’ve got a great idea – what else can there be to it? Unfortunately, running a successful business is a lot more complicated than many people realize. And if you don’t plan everything properly at the start, you’re doomed to failure before you’ve even begun.

Not researching your market

Remember, just because you think your idea is the next big thing, not everyone will agree. Which is why it is essential to perform a proper assessment of your business plan. Do people really want this product? How much will they pay? Who is your competition – and what do they charge? All these questions and more will need to be answered before you can move on to the next stage.

Spreading yourself too thin

Sometimes, it’s important to remember that less is more. A common pitfall that new businesses experience is going overboard on the products and services that they offer, leaving them unable to deliver what they have promised. At the end of the day, it is better to have a small, curated selection at a high standard than a wide range of sub-par products. Don’t dilute your brand: keep focused and stay true to your identity.

Not having a marketing strategy

With so many businesses seemingly taking off by word of mouth and viral popularity alone, it can be tempting to believe that traditional marketing techniques have had their day. But there’s still much to be said for planning and executing a proper marketing campaign. In fact, research suggests that those with proper strategies in place enjoy more than three times the success of rivals that leave things to chance.

Getting your finances wrong

Of course, you already know that a certain amount of number-crunching skills are involved in running your own business – but did you know that many successful entrepreneurs nominate maths as the most useful ability of all? It sounds obvious, but proper bookkeeping really can make or break your business – so make sure you know how to break down things like profits, cash flow and expenses. Or, alternatively, make sure you hire someone who does.