Tennis fans Ernabel Demillo and Meredith Kasun thought they had a greatidea for a new business: a neoprene belt that could hold all your tennisballs.By March, BodyStyle Athletics was up andrunning, but it has been slower going than the owners expected. Why?They underestimated how much they had to spend to educate customers. "We assumed people would know what the TennisRAQ was," explains Demillo."We budgeted $1,000 a month on marketing and advertising, but we've waysurpassed that. Right now, we're reworking the budget." They're not alone. Experts say this is just one of several commonmistakes first-time small business owners make. Here are the top 12pitfalls and how to avoid them:
"Although I never used S.P.A.N.K. to build the brand, SPANX is tryingto close me down," says Lampson. "It's really hard because, I made thisbusiness out of nothing, and I'm tiny compared to them. I advise, get asecond legal opinion. You have to plan for the long term."