10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
When you're starting out in business there are some pitfalls you need to avoid. Some of these can be you being your worst enemy. We take a look at 10 tips that will help you avoid these mistakes and help your business be the best that it can be.
1. Start-Ups don't spend time on the foundation work
Have you ever thought about putting your policies and procedures in place, or even know which ones you need to have? Do you have a business plan?
This is the foundation work you need to be spending time on. It's not glamorous but will lead to you having a better understanding of your business and how it should be run.
2. Expecting results from minimal effort
There are "experts" out there that promise success in 6 weeks if you follow certain steps within your business.
The truth is, schemes like these never work. In order to grow and maintain your business it takes hard work and dedication. If it was really so easy, everyone would own their own business.
3. It's hard to see the long term goals when there are so many short term ones
Short term goals may seem like a way to get to the end result. But only if they lead you there. It's the old analogy of
Not being able to see the wood for the trees. You could get so wrapped up in your short term goals that you end up not actually working towards where you want the business to be.
The lesson here is not to clutter your day with things that don't lead to your end goals.
4. You may have loved your hobby, but is it really a good business venture?
You may have loved doing web design or painting. But a business needs more than that. Your business needs someone who can sell, who can lead and who can produce the goods or services. You may find yourself getting so swamped with the rest of it that you have no time to be the one creating.
Know where your strengths lie and where you need help.
5. You don't have a consistent voice (or your voice is too consistent)
When you're talking to your potential clients, you need to talk to them in terms they understand and a "voice" they like. For example, you may have a client that works in a professional environment, such as a CEO, and a different client that works in a nursery. You wouldn't talk to both of your clients in the same way. The CEO may find that you're not professional enough, and the nursery worker may find you're too professional.
So how can you manage with this? You can either adapt to who you're talking to, or you can find your niche. If you're working in a niche environment you only get one kind of customer and they will only expect you to be one way.
6. You don't ask the right questions
Imagine you're in a room with your business guru, someone who's been there and done it a thousand times over. Now imagine you can ask them one question and only one question. Will you opt for "How do you do it?" or "Why did you start out?" or even "Do you like kittens?" will the answers to these questions help you on your own journey? You should be thinking of the questions such as "Who was your business mentor?" (you can then go and seek out this person for advice) or "When you were starting out did you feel the need to have an office or did you work from home for a year?", this may seem irrelevant but if your ideal businessman/woman felt they could wait for an office, then perhaps you could too.
This may seem a little far fetched, but now think of all the questions you're asking in everyday situations. Are the answers you're getting going to lead to results for you or are they full of hot air?
7. Wasting time on the wrong things
A good test you can do is the "so what?" test. Yes, you may have 1000 new followers on Twitter or Facebook, so what? Are they bringing you money? Is there a way of converting them to clients without having their email addresses? No. So why are you wasting time trying to get new followers?
The time you're spending on the wrong things, could be better used elsewhere on the right things.
8. Avoiding criticism
The only way you'll avoid criticism is to never do anything. Is your business on social media? You're posting the wrong things. Are you bringing out a new product? Your competitor has one very similar, so you're wrong in doing that.
Do you want to know a secret? Criticism is the only way to learn what works and what doesn't. In fact, you should be more afraid if people ignore your business rather than criticise it.
9. Listening to the wrong people
There are many many "Experts" out there, but not many people who can actually help you. Imagine it this way, your neighbour is out there tinkering on his car, new wheels, new brakes an odd bit or two on the engine, would you take your car to him if you needed a new gearbox? Perhaps not. A garage may be a better option; you need the right expert for your needs. Experts in business work in the same way. You need to find the right help for you.
10. Hiring fast, Firing slow
You've found the perfect candidate for the jo (according to their CV anyway). The only way you'll know what they're like to work with is by actually hiring them. Then after a few months you notice them getting passive aggressive and find they haven't blended in to the team. But you keep them. Why? There's no need for you to keep one worker that will make the whole team feel as though they're not good at what they're doing. You're only delaying the fact that one day you will have to let them go.
You should always be hiring slow and firing fast (if they're not right for your business that is). Of course, you should always respect their contract and consider your own policies. You could even talk to a HR specialist regarding this to ensure you do it in the correct way.
These tips should help you grow and maintain your business. There are more out there and these shouldn't be taken as the only way to get things done. Your business is your own and only you know what will work for you.