Without a doubt, the most common question I am always asked is, “What mistakes have you made and what should I avoid when starting a company?” While there may be many different ways to look at starting companies, there are a few things you can do that will make your life easier and increase your chances of success.

1. Don’t Write a Business Plan

You take a trip and enter your destination on your tech device for directions. Why would you put your lively hood and the financial stability of yourself and those you love in jeopardy without the same road map?

Travel has progressed to the point where the voice of direction is necessary to navigate the most simple of trips. Should your new business venture start without the same courtesy? Business plans are crucial to understand what is to be expected, but furthermore help to anticipate the unexpected which may ultimately be the bigger benefit.

2. Listen to the Naysayers

Everyone is an expert in the field in which they know nothing about. No matter the industry, there will always be that person who did not chose to enter your particular product space or see the opportunity you saw for a new company.

According to Dan Simons, the founder of Founding Farmers, chances are they will throw shade on your idea. “In fact, I’d venture to say it is certain they will throw shade on your idea,” he explained.

My advice? Ignore. The world is made up of naysayers. Entrepreneurship requires confidence and it starts with you.

3. Move Slow or Move Fast?

Opportunities come and go and the winner in the business world is the one that sees an opportunity and takes it.

Real estate tycoon and Shark Tank entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran puts it this way, “Procrastination is the enemy of success and the guilt of not doing something always steals your energy.”

4. Keep the Learning Curve to a Minimum

Best case scenario for first time business success is doing what you know and surrounding yourself with great people who can help you with what you don’t know.

Sounds simple but is sometimes easy to forget. According to serial entrepreneur Michael Gastauer, “recognizing an opportunity is different from successfully shaping that concept into a profitable company.” “Be smart and stay in your lane of knowledge,” he said.

5. Keep Costs Low

Nothing pushes a company over a cliff faster than living beyond its means. Lean and mean, especially at the start, leads to longevity. As American businessman Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, puts, “Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage.”

Ask yourself if the extra square footage is necessary in the early stages of the company. Coffee delivered or brewed in office? First class or coach business travel? I could go on and on with choices that need to made early on that while they seem trivial in the scheme of things, actually wind up affecting the success of the bottom line and long term success of a company.

uses the backs of empty, used envelopes stapled together for notepads at employee’s desks. Extreme? Maybe. But the underlying message is it worked to get them to the top and while their offices may no longer reflect their humble beginnings, they do not forget what got them there. In the case of the envelope notepads, it is a simple reminder for management and employees to watch that bottom line.

6. Don’t Be Cheap

Keeping lean is not the same as being cheap. Do not be cheap. Need accounting or legal expertise? Need a website or your office designed? Hire qualified assistance instead of letting your in laws help out because they won’t charge you full price.

What might take you as a newbie hours to put together will more than likely take someone with experience a fraction of the allotted time and done with accuracy and industry experience. Recognize your limitations. Know when to hire help and pay accordingly. What was that saying old Ben Franklin used to say about being penny wise?

7. Stay Realistic

Remember that at the end of the day it’s about making money. A lot of good effort and cold hard cash have gone the way of the dodo bird in the name of a dream.

Too many people chasing their passion can lead to a lot of out of work people if they do not look at both the upside and the downside of a prospect. Hollywood aside, “keeping it real” is more than a potential reality television show and all about the key to success of any first time business owner.

8. Don’t Dwell on Your Mistakes

Sure, there will be some stumbles along the path of a new business venture, especially the path of the first time entrepreneur. The difference between entrepreneurs is who choses to learn and move on quickly and who choses to dwell.

One of the classic songs of the Depression era, “Pick Yourself Up” written in 1936 by Kerns and Fields for the movie Swing Time featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. These words are still relevant over 70 years later whether speaking about life or business.

Pick yourself up, take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and start all over again. Or, as the British say, “Keep calm and carry on.”