Tennis fans Ernabel Demillo and Meredith Kasun thought they had a great idea for a new business: a neoprene belt that could hold all your tennis balls.By March, BodyStyle Athletics was up and running, 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 way surpassed that. Right now, we're reworking the budget." They're not alone. Experts say this is just one of several common mistakes first-time small business owners make. Here are the top 12 pitfalls and how to avoid them:
"Although I never used S.P.A.N.K. to build the brand, SPANX is trying to close me down," says Lampson. "It's really hard because, I made this business out of nothing, and I'm tiny compared to them. I advise, get a second legal opinion. You have to plan for the long term."