If you haven’t noticed, assumptions almost always lead us down the wrong path. That’s because the very act of assuming means overlooking the reality and then not being prepared to deal with things when they happen. If you have watched very many episodes of Shark Tank, you know the Sharks ask quite a few questions before they even consider a deal. They do not make assumptions—ever.
When a new business is starting, there is no room for assuming anything, but I have seen far too many new entrepreneurs make a certain series of assumptions even without knowing that they are doing it. These assumptions can mean that a business never has a chance to succeed. That’s not a chance you will want to take, so here are the most common things new business owners assume, why they are a mistake, and why you need to avoid them.
EXPECTING A PREDICTABLE FUTURE
So often, new entrepreneurs start a business and assume that everything is going to go exactly as they expect. They have this plan laid out before them about the revenue, the scale of the business, and the changes in the future, and they assume this plan will work to the letter.
If you expect this, and you are surprised over and over again when things don’t go as predicted, then, well you are just being absolutely unrealistic. Nothing will ever happen as you expect. If you know that, you will be better prepared for dealing with issues as they come up.
START-UPS ARE NOT EXISTING BUSINESS
When a company has been running successfully for years, things are very different than they will be in a start-up. You cannot assume you can handle a start-up just like an existing business and go the same path. It won’t work and will very likely doom your new company from the beginning.
For example, an existing business already knows the customer, knows what they want and what they need, and understands how to resolve issues with those customers. As a start-up, you know virtually nothing. You have no idea yet what the customers expect from your company or how they will go about doing business with you.
You have to prepare for anything and everything that could happen and change things as needed.
EXPECTING A REVENUE PLAN TO STAY THE SAME
Part of starting a small business is putting together a revenue plan. It is actually quite important. However, it isn’t something that will stay the same. In that revenue plan, you will have to include answers to questions like:
- Who is the customer?
- What does the customer want?
- What prices will you charge?
- What channels will you take?
- What product features should you offer?
While it may seem easy to write down all of this information, it isn’t. That’s because it will change. If you assume it won’t and try to rigidly stick to the revenue plan you wrote right at start-up, you are going to run into serious problems. Until you know your customer and your product thoroughly, you can’t set anything in stone.
When you start a business, and in fact at any point while you are an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to make assumptions. I have seen the wrong assumptions lead to failure over and over again for other new business owners. You don’t want to make the same mistakes. When you start your new business, make sure you are prepared for anything and you are willing to be flexible. Avoiding assumptions will help you lead a successful start-up.