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The Most Common Financial Mistakes Made By Startups


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As an entrepreneur, your day is full of finding your way, building and refining your services or products, growing your business and achieving your overall goals.

This can make it hard to keep up to date with all of the daily accounting tasks and the bigger picture finances. This is a problem because some important financial decisions and information can fall to the side.

If you are a financial whiz, you might still have a problem creating a financial plan and managing all of the finances. However, this is something that you need to stay on top of because it will affect the stability of the company and your ability to work towards your definition of success.

You will also need the financials to convince and assure your investors of the viability of the business.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of financial mistakes that a startup can make. Fortunately, when you know what these common mistakes are, you can take some steps to avoid them. Many of them are mistakes that you can easily sidestep.

So if you’ve got your financial startup ready to launch, here’s the mistakes you have to avoid.

Mistake #1 – Miscalculating Or Not Calculating Your Cash Burn

Not taking the time to do this will be a major issue. First, you need to know what cash burn is. The burn rate will be the amount of capital your business will go through each month to ensure it operates. If you do not have a clear understanding of this rate, you will have problems achieving your goals before you run out of capital.

A recent survey of new business owners has should that around one-third of them have underestimated their monthly expenses. Almost 20% of those surveyed also realized that they did not have enough financing for their business. It is very easy to miscalculate your costs and this results in your assumptions for initial capital being off. A good step to take will be to keep track of all the expenses you have.

To calculate your burn rate, you need to create a bottom-up projection that uses real-world variables. If you try top-down forecasting, you could be overly optimistic in your sales predictions and this will lead to an unrealistic expectation of revenue. Bottom-up projections are considered more realistic and will show you how much money you need to keep your business going month after month.

Reforecasting is also important and you need to do this. You will have to take into account variable and fixed costs to continually determine the real state of your business. If you are new to burn rates, it is recommended that more research be done on this topic.

Mistake #2 – Not Understanding Your Marketplace Completely

When you do not completely understand your marketplace, you are more likely to misprice your services and products. You should not calculate your costs and then add the margin that you would like to make. You have to consider your market position as well as the value of what you offer. It is better to start with price and work backwards.

When you calculate this, you need to come back to the marketplace and how it affects the price. You need to know who your clients are, what needs your offering fulfils and what you have to offer. Take a look at your competition and what differentiates you as well as the trends which affect your market. All of this will need to be combined to understand your market and how it affects your business.

Mistake #3 – Hiring And Expanding Too Quickly

The people in a company are one of the largest expenses they have. If you want to keep your costs low, your staff expenses should be the first place you look. A mistake that a lot of startups make is hiring too many people too quickly. Too many employees will drain your funds and affect your ability to keep the doors open.

It is not only the recruitment and salary costs that you need to consider. Max Funding’s business loan team explain, “you also need to consider whether you need a larger office with more equipment and supplies for the new staff. There are also some psychological costs that you need to consider such as what will happen to these new people if your business does not grow as it should and you have to let them go. How your investors will take you needing to disassemble your team will also need to be considered. To overcome all of these issues, you need to hire slow.”

Mistake #4 – Hiring The Wrong People

Finance startup Credit Capital state, “a way to save on staffing costs is to hire for potential and not experience. You should not waste your money hiring experience for the sake of having experience. When possible, you should outsource your non-core tasks such as marketing, accounting and development”.

Mistake #5 – Handling Your Finances Yourself

If you have ended the seed round of funding, have many expenses or are earning real revenue, you need someone to manage your finances on a strategic level. A CFO will generally be the best person for this job. If you do not have much financial activity, a CFO might not be the best solution, but you will still need some help with the daily bookkeeping and accounting.

According to Robinson Accounting’s experts, “while you might have the accounting skills needed for block and tackle accounting, it will not be the best use of your time. It is better to hire a professional to help with this so you can focus on the core business. Administrative tasks can take your focus from where it really needs to be. So it’s vital to weigh up whether you’re actually getting value from saving money but losing time trying to do everything yourself.”

This does not mean that you need to hire a full-time accountant or CFO. If your startup is still small, you should outsource these functions and get the support you need on an as-needed basis.

Do you know of any startup mistakes we missed?

Let us know in the comments!



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