4 Common Mistakes People Make When Starting a Small Business

Taking time for yourself should be part of the job.

Building a business from the ground up means that small business owners often find themselves wearing many different hats. Whether you're a first-time entrepreneur or a start-up veteran, juggling the positions of CEO, accountant, and marketing team means that making a mistake can often feel inevitable. The good thing is, you can always learn from the experiences of others.

To help navigate the ins and outs of growing a small business, we reached out to Janna Meyrowitz Turner, business strategist and founder of Style House, and Trinity Mouzon Wofford, founder of wellness brand GOLDE. Keep reading for their advice on the common mistakes small business owners should avoid.

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Mistake 1: Undervaluing Your Worth

When running a small business, it can be easy to fall into a mentality of wanting to prove yourself. Sacrificing income for future growth seems worth it. However, Meyrowitz Turner cautions small business owners against taking less than they are worth—even if it is for what feels like a lucrative opportunity. "At the beginning of my career, I wasn't charging enough," she recounts. "It's important to know your value. I realized [throughout my career] that I've never regretted not getting a client who couldn't afford me—and that became my mantra. Your price reflects the value of your work."

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Mistake 2: Not Prioritizing Self-Care

When your own mission, brand, or dream is at stake, it can feel difficult to take time off to rest. But according to Mouzon Wofford, leading a grind-centered lifestyle can often come at the detriment of your business. "Don't overwork yourself to the point of being unproductive," she warns. "As a founder, you need to leave space in your days to ideate and strategize for the future. You can't do that if you're already running on empty."

Beyond carving out space for big-sky thinking, Meyrowitz emphasizes the importance of spending time on activities that are restorative. "A big mistake is not spending the time you need on yourself because you are your biggest asset," she says. "That includes spending time getting to know yourself, getting to know your story. It also means sleeping and exercising."

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Mistake 3: Sacrificing Authenticity

A strong community can be the difference between make or break for a small business. As the co-founder of GOLDE, Mouzon Wofford has fostered a community of like-minded consumers—who are also invested in wellness, accessibility, and sustainability—that have bolstered the scaling of her company. Building a successful community takes intentional time and effort—dedicating resources to understanding your customers and identifying ways to facilitate genuine relationships across your platform. While the word "community" is currently the business world's hottest buzzword, this work can often fall to the wayside, with small business owners falling flat at building genuine connection in efforts to fast-track the process. "Just being authentic is really the key thing," Mouzon Wofford says. "Don't say or do something just because you see another brand doing it. Form your own voice, and those early adopters who resonate with it will follow along naturally."

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Mistake 4: Not Investing in Infrastructure

Being a small business owner requires a certain level of scrappiness. Resourcefulness, however, can only get you so far. "At the beginning of my business, I didn't file something properly," Meyrowitz Turner recalls, explaining that it wasn't until a year into having an employee that she was alerted of the mistake. She fixed the issue, but now uses this experience as an example of why it's so important to "invest in your infrastructure" early on. "The type of investment you make in your infrastructure has to be commensurate with your business," she says. "Especially if those areas are not your expertise, hire someone else to do it."

Setting yourself up for future success can mean relinquishing the title of jack-of-all-trades. Recognizing when it's time to call in help, or invest in the necessary software or staff can help every small business owner avoid future consequences.

RELATED: For Small Business Owners, Hiring a Staff Member Can Save You Money Long Term—Here's How

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