An entrepreneur who’s just starting up is easily intimidated by watching Jack Ma or Mark Cuban. Guys like that seem to be born to succeed and haven’t made any common entrepreneurial mistakes. But, that’s only an illusion.
The truth is there’s no such thing as “the success gene”.
The only reason why successful entrepreneurs make their efforts look effortless is that by the time they make in on the front page and headlines, they’ve had years of practice, stumbling, falling and honing their skills.
Here are some of the common entrepreneurial mistakes, and how you can avoid them. Don't forget to share on Facebook.
The truth is there’s no such thing as “the success gene”. Results of successful entrepreneurs may look effortless. But by the time they make the headlines, they’ve had years of practice, stumbling, falling and honing their skills.
1. Not Doing Your Homework
If you fancy yourself to be an entrepreneur, then chances are, you’ve already done some homework. Not the type you did at school. What I mean is learning the necessary skills for the task to undertake when starting a business.
Take Mark Stephens, a former businessman and currently behind bars. Stephens was lucky enough to inherit the family business. Long story short, in 2016, he failed miserably and ended up killing his 67-year old mother when she questioned him about ruining the family business.
This is an extremely dark example of a person getting into something he didn’t have the proper qualifications for. There are many people who tried their hand at business without doing their homework and it ended in financial ruin.
It is extremely important to prepare well for an entrepreneurial journey. Don’t make the mistake to think you can ‘wing’ it. That’s why the entrepreneurial graveyard is full of fly-by-nights who mainly wanted to serve themselves. Being an entrepreneur is a long term game and you have to play it as such.
Read A Lot
Read as much as you can about other entrepreneurs who have found success in a similar niche. Reading about your market niche and the competitors will provide you with useful insights on what to expect, something that many entrepreneurs fail to understand. It’s well known that businessmen, like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, are keen readers. Mark Zuckerberg even had a book-reading challenge.
Who are your competitors? What do they offer? How can you offer something better? These are just a few questions to keep in mind when carrying out market research. Use your skills to provide a better product or service keeping in mind your financial strength.
It doesn’t matter if you think a particular product or service is awesome if your customers think otherwise. This is why every entrepreneur should practice primary introspection to gain a better understanding of the purpose of their business. Why are you in business? If you do not have a deep interest in your customers and putting them first, then you might find it difficult to survive in the long term in the entrepreneurial world.
- Prepare well for your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t make the mistake to think you can ‘wing’ it.
- Reading is powerful to provide you with useful insights and skills.
- You can't succeed without doing proper research.
- Understand why you're in business and what your purpose is.
- Being an entrepreneur is a long term game and you have to play it as such.
2. Failing To Share Your Vision
As an entrepreneur, you may have a team, or maybe not. When you first start up, you will probably be the only one working in your business. But, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking forward to expanding your business in the future. This will involve hiring talent that will help you along your journey.
Another one of the deadly entrepreneur mistakes is the failure to share their vision. Whether you’ve hired lots of people, have a single employee, or plan on hiring, you are the leader. As a leader, you need to make sure your employees know how their work contributes to the end goal. If people don’t contribute to the end goal, they shouldn’t work in your business.
For them to contribute, you need to share your vision.
Take Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks as an example. Schultz has grown an empire of more than 28,000 coffee shops all across the globe. Starbucks Coffee’s corporate vision is “to establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
This vision is effectively communicated to its entire, 238,000-strong workforce, who know that their coffee shop must sell the finest coffee in the world, stick to uncompromising principles, and grow the business. Everything they do must focus on and lead to this outcome.
Don’t Wait Until You’ve Figured It All Out
Many entrepreneurs who are just starting up prefer to keep their employees (or business partner) in the dark until they’ve figured out every little bit of detail. That’s not a smart move. Once you have a good idea of what will work and why, share it with your employees and get feedback. Others may have ideas more brilliant than yours.
Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About What Excites You
Another way you can help others see the rationale behind the product or service is by simply talking about what excites you most about it. By sharing your vision, you can get useful insights into new ideas which will help in the launch of your product or service. Remember, if you’re the most brilliant person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
Don’t Claim Sole Ownership Of Your Vision
Sure, it’s your vision. Your brilliant mind came up with it. But don’t make the brilliance of that idea outshine others in your team. If you really want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need others to participate in shaping that vision. While you should care deeply about it, let go of any feelings of ownership of your vision. If your focus is on what’s best for the customer, your ego will get out of the way.
- Share your vision with employees, customers and suppliers.
- Others may have ideas more brilliant than yours so include them early on.
- Talk about what excites you so others can participate.
- Don't claim sole ownership of your vision. You need others to shape the vision.
- Shift your focus to the customer to get your ego out of the way.
3. Mistaking A Goal For A Strategy
One thing that many start-up entrepreneurs fail to understand is that having a goal, and having a strategy are two very different things. Having a goal might be wanting to deliver a personalized shopping experience, but that doesn’t tell you how you’re going to achieve that. A goal is only the ‘what’ part. A strategy tells you what the goal is you want to achieve and shows you how to get there. A strategy is the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.
Focus on Marketing
You might have the best product since sliced bread, but if nobody has heard about it, you’re going to achieve little success. Along with being innovative, you need good marketing that will help the customers understand the true benefits of your product or service.
It doesn’t matter what you sell, understand that you are in the marketing business. It’s one of the primary skills. If you don’t know how to do marketing and you don’t want to learn, then you must hire someone who does know how.
Find What Differentiates Your Product
Before you think about entering a specific market niche, look closely at what’s already available. What makes your product better than the other guys’ across the street? How can you add your personal insights, skills, and expertise to differentiate your product to stand out? You are unique and use your uniqueness to differentiate your product.
Meet the Market’s Needs
To be successful as an entrepreneur, you will need to speak the market’s language. You must have your finger on the pulse of what’s the problems, pains, needs, and desires in your market. When the product and language you use in your marketing campaign is in sync with the people in that market niche, you will have a better chance of attracting people.
When you speak ‘their language’ people will feel that you understand them and their problems. There is a connection between you. The successful entrepreneur is adaptable and can respond to change, even if it's unexpected.
- A goal and a strategy are two different things.
- It doesn’t matter what you sell, understand that you are in the marketing business. You are a marketer.
- Add your unique personal insights, skills, and expertise to differentiate your product.
- Speak the 'language' of your market and understand their needs.
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So, there you have it, the business mistakes to avoid as you make your way towards entrepreneurship greatness. Please share your experience in the comments below.
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