7 common business mistakes to avoid

Published On: Feb 19 2013 07:06:52 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 19 2013 07:45:00 AM EST

According to the global entrepreneurship monitor, just 47 percent of women believe they are capable of starting and running a business, but about 62 percent of men feel they can do it.

Many women are afraid of failure, and with good reason. About half of all new businesses fail within their first five years. But avoiding seven common mistakes can put any woman on the road to business-starting success.

For many the dream starts young.

“I do want to start a business and be successful,” said 14-year-old Addison.

But being a successful business owner takes hard work and smarts. One big mistake women make when trying to start a business: not being prepared when confronting clients.

“Don’t walk up and say, ‘what does your company do? What can I do for you?” advised Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of WBENC.

Visit websites, learn about their products or services, and have a clear plan for how you can benefit the clients before meeting with them.

Mistake number two: not having a dedicated sales professional. Another mistake: not enough networking.

“People do business with people who they like. Period,” said Tara Abraham, chairwoman and co-CEO of Accel Inc.

Not following up with your contacts is mistake number four.

“You always have to make sure that you set yourself apart, so it’s about the follow-up after the conference,” explained Abraham.

Another no-no: not taking advantage of professional organizations. Groups like WBENC offer education, networking, and support opportunities for women in business. Mistake number six: starting your business in a saturated market.

Abraham suggested you, “Look at other areas that have really been underdeveloped or not even tapped yet.”

The last mistake: not enough cash. Many experts recommend having about three-times what you think you’ll need to start your business.

Those are some mistakes to avoid for a successful start-up.

Another common mistake is spending too much on business cards and brochures right away. Experts say most start-up businesses change too quickly for these materials to be effective. A good rule of thumb: wait until you can keep your typical sales presentation the same for at least six months before you invest in them.