Starting a business stems majorly from having a plan first of all and then having a strong will to follow through with that plan. Truth be told, spearheading a start-up isn’t glamorous especially at the birth stage. Just as unrefined gold passing through the furnace, you will have to subject yourself to the rigorous processes involved. Enjoying success as an entrepreneur is not a product of luck, it is a consequence of following the right processes which can be learned.
As an entrepreneur, it is better to learn from the failures and successes of others who have gone ahead of you, instead of taking the trial and error route. I rather learn from the mistakes of others than wait to experience the go-rounds that can be associated with being an entrepreneur.
Here are some mistakes derived from top entrepreneurs around the world who shared these lessons, so you and I won’t have to make those same mistakes anymore. These tips have helped me in my business-sphere, and they can help you too.
So, here we go!
- Over-spending or not spending enough money:
Yeah! I know, the subheading sounds funny and conflicting but new entrepreneurs tend to have two mindsets – ‘spend more money to make more money’ or ‘spend the barest minimum possible until your business cash flow improves’. Both of these mindsets can be dangerous to your business lifespan when taken to the extreme.
Inasmuch as it is important to spend wisely, you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in good products, services, information, or people that can benefit your business in the long run. One of the top secrets of successful entrepreneurs is that they master the art of balancing both mindsets in their unique context.
There are some opportunities you may have to take advantage of; at that point in time, it may be hard pressing on your finances but in the long term, it ends up paying off while on the other hand, there are tempting stuff you don’t just need for your business even though they are seemingly in vogue. It’s all about the right decision-making prowess on your part.
- Ignoring your direct competitors:
That initial excitement and enthusiasm you get as a new entrepreneur who just launched a new product or business idea can easily mislead you into under-rating your direct competitors or living as though they do not exist in the first place.
As an entrepreneur, you are immune from direct competition only if you created a completely new product. Having no direct competitors is a rarity in the business sphere. This is why it is very crucial that you carry out your due diligence on those who already have a market share in your niche in order to differentiate your business and thrive in that industry.
- Setting unrealistic goals
That big idea’ of yours cannot work without a solid plan. However, you must be realistic in your planning process in order to succeed.
Set specific short and long-term goals within an attainable time frame. Do not be vague about your goal. Don’t just say, “I want to make 10 million this year”. Set a realistic goal and outline the specific steps you need to take to get there.
- Not investing in Marketing:
As an entrepreneur, do not make the mistake of thinking your business can thrive solely on word of mouth to/from friends, family members, etc. No matter how revolutionary your product or service is, you cannot afford to depend on free PR.
A huge number of start-ups die as a result of their inability to invest in marketing at their own level. Marketing is key for your business; be it SEO, Content Marketing, and all other forms of Digital Marketing.
You need to compete and differentiate your business by developing a unique marketing strategy that suits you.
- Thinking you can do it all by yourself:
Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!
This was one of my major mistakes at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. I was the Accountant, the Content Creator, the Marketer, etc. Taking up all these daunting tasks at once can burn you out even before you get a chance to get started.
I couldn’t afford to pay any full-time staff, so I engaged the services of freelancers especially for skills I was not 100% good at (e.g Voice-Overs). Moreso, I shared my knowledge and skills with others who were eager to learn for free. The good thing is some of these guys were able to improve on what they’ve learned and I can now delegate and engage them on tasks especially when there’s a bulk job.
Having done this, I am now able to focus on my key areas of competence while boosting the overall workings of the business.
You should try this too. It works.
You can’t do it all. Delegate! Delegate Delegate!
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