Starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur can sometimes seem like a bit of a lottery. Will you get the key deal you need? Will you be able to hang on through years one, two, three and five? There are many things you can do to mitigate any problems and to do your best to ensure success and perhaps the key is to be aware of the classic mistakes that almost all entrepreneurs make when they first start out.
1. Ignore Your Detractors
We all have nay-sayers amongst us, those that say ‘you should do this not that’ or ‘you should do that not this’ – the classic line being ‘if you wanted to get to there I wouldn’t have started from here’. Having the courage of your convictions as well as confidence in your abilities and skills is important because if you don’t believe in YOU, who else will. You have no track record to demonstrate your integrity or your delivery.
Of course, you don’t want (or need) to be arrogant and stubborn, there is a lot of useful stuff out there too and sometimes a little well-timed advice can have a huge impact; which is where the power of mentoring can really come into its own.
2. Check the world wants your offering
There are so many things sitting on stockroom shelves that have never sold. They’ve not sold for one of two reasons. The first is that there wasn’t enough marketing done to let a waiting world know that they were available; the second is that the world never wanted it in the first place. Yes, it’s your idea and yes, almost certainly there will be a number of people who have the same needs you did or else you wouldn’t have created it; but don’t assume that it’s going to make a million.
Do your homework first with clear market research and test out the competition, it’s there for a reason and there could be a very good reason why that product or service sells well.
3. Don’t do it all yourself – delegate
It’s easy to assume that we are the only people in the world that can make this idea work because it’s our ‘baby’. However, that is surely the fastest way to burn out and develop stress. Know what you are good at and where you could do with help then delegate those tasks that don’t need your input. For instance, a bookkeeper could be a great investment and would work alongside your accountant; a PA can handle many of the diary setting activities and organise tickets and travel. Playing to your strengths is often undervalued.
Personally, I’m not the world’s best salesperson so it suits me to have a company that can do the work on my behalf. Working together to determine the strategy we are setting ensures it works well and with the minimum amount of disruption.
4. Set BIG goals that are still achievable
It’s a sad fact that too few of us set ourselves goals that are actually achievable. It would be great if we could all expect to turn over a million in the first six months, but without an enormous amount of investment behind us at the outset, that’s unlikely to happen. Having said that, without a large goal to aim for, we won’t strive hard enough to achieve our full potential. Being realistic doesn’t mean we have to accept second best, it’s simply a recognition of what the resources we have to hand can deliver for us.
5. Celebrate your successes regularly
Success as an entrepreneur is often hard-won, but someone who has an entrepreneurial nature is often never satisfied with what is achieved. If we ignore the things that happen and the successes we create then we miss the point of being an entrepreneur to some extent. Celebrating success helps to embed the milestones as they occur so that we can look back in the future and say ‘I did that’ with a great deal of satisfaction.
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