Take things in your stride and avoid these newbie entrepreneur mistakes.
By Tabitha Jean Naylor (Founder, Successful Startup 101)
As an entrepreneur, there’s one thing you can count on: You will make mistakes.
The good news is that these mistakes don’t have to stop your business growth and development dead in its tracks. The even better news is, hundreds of people have already made these mistakes, so taking a cue from these individuals will help you avoid some issues altogether. Here are four to hurdle:
1. Hiding from Problems
When mistakes happen, don’t pretend they don’t exist. Only when you face an issue head-on will you even have a small chance of finding a solution.
This also means that you can’t put on an “all-is-well” face with your staff and investors. In many situations, they may be able to help. So why not let them in on the situation?
2. Trying to be Everything to Everyone
As the founder of a new business, you’ll have to wear many hats. That’s just the reality.
But taking on all responsibility is never a good idea. It’s impossible for you to do everything. So get used to delegating. It’s also impossible to create a product or service that will meet the needs of everyone or every single industry on the planet.
Determine what you do best, then assign other jobs and duties to your staff. Also, find out what niche your product or service appeals most to. This is who you need to target and focus on.
Keep reminding yourself, you have a team for a reason – you cannot do it all!
3. Ignoring the Answers to Your Questions
As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to interact and talk with people on a regular basis. This includes your staff, customers, vendors and investors. These individuals can provide you with invaluable insight and advice that can help you improve and grow your business.
But this can only happen when you actually pay attention to what they have to say, rather than dismissing it with the misconception that you know better. While you don’t have to do what everyone says automatically, if you dismiss something just because you think you know better, chances are your business is not going to make it very far.
4. Thinking You Have No Competition
No matter what you may believe, you have competitors. While they may not be direct competitors or offer the exact same solution, there is someone who provides, at the minimum, a substitute. For example, a substitute for your spoon is your fingers. An email is a substitute for a handwritten letter.
A competitor is any business that is going after the same customer dollars.
If you make the assumption that you have no competition, then investors will likely come to the conclusion that you do not have a complete understanding of the market you are in.
There are a lot of reasons startups fail, but making a few mistakes isn’t one of them: failing to learn from those mistakes and correcting your course is. Take heed… and good luck.
What have you learned from past mistakes?
Photo credit: mezzotint via Shutterstock.