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  • Don’t Make The Same Small Business Mistakes I Made

    If you’re thinking about starting your own business, or even if you’re already knee-deep in entrepreneurship, I want to share a cautionary tale (or two) with you.

    I’m coming up on my three-year anniversary as a small business owner. The fact that my partners and I are still standing after launching in the middle of the Great Recession must mean that we’ve at least done some things right. But we’ve also made a ton of mistakes.

    So in the spirit of do as I say and not as I did, here are some startup don’ts you should be careful to avoid:

    1. Don’t price your services too low.

    It’s easier to set prices when you’re selling products, since there are clear-cut costs, and often industry pricing formulas. But determining pricing for a service business is a lot harder. We made so many mistakes bidding on our first job. Since we didn’t know how much to charge, we tried to come up with an hourly rate, taking into account our overhead and experience. But we didn’t really know how many hours the project would take, and we were in such a rush to put in our bid, we forgot to take into account all the possible costs. We got the job, but after having to pay several unexpected expenses (like a graphic artist), we barely broke even.

    LESSON LEARNED: Now we try to act more deliberately, and account for every contingency

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    Upstart Business and Management for 20-40 Year Olds www.upstartnation.biz

    Filed Under: Startup/Entrepreneur

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    About the Author: Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a communications company offering custom content and expert insight designed to help entrepreneurs build their businesses and achieve success. Ms. Lesonsky is the author of Get Smart and the best-selling Start Your Own Business, and co-author of the books Young Millionaires, Ultimate Book of Franchising and 303 Marketing Tips. She served on the Small Business Administration's National Advisory Council for six years. The SBA also honored her as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate. She is a nationally recognized speaker and expert on entrepreneurship and small business ownership, and is a regular on MSNBC's “Your Business” program.

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