What is the most common mistake entrepreneurs make that I should avoid?
I know there are a lot of entrepreneurs and business people here and I am sure many have great advice. I am fairly new to being a business owner and have already made a bunch of mistakes. I think the biggest challenge I have faced is trying to do too much and not staying focused on my core business. I would like to avoid making other mistakes and am curious what people have learned from some of the mistakes they have made or see others making. Thank you.
You need to stick to your core business until you are well established. Build a realistic budget including every expense you can think of, add a line for savings to cover surprises; check out shared service resources before hiring; get feedback regularly from your customers and prospects to understand what they really need, not what you think you want to sell. Good luck.
This is really the essential question, for what I have found is you eventually come to a fork in the road…..do you do everything by yourself, or do you invest in outside expertise. I am at a place where I know my limits…however, how does one find that perfect person or team that you can trust will take your business to the highest level possible? This is where I am stuck, after already have had a business many years ago. I actually have done my research, made samples, revised, etc. and have a business plan. I know I do not nor am I the best to sell this product which is realistically, fills a need in an industry that is huge. I just don't know how to market and sell it myself, and who to trust will do that. Many people have wanted to get involved, because the numbers are staggering, but how do I know who will actually perform. Because there is so much money to be made, I am willing to give a very fair part of my profits to that person/team…how does one know how to find that person is the challenge, as marketing requires sales performance on all platforms.
Finding the RIGHT people to help to grow is the hardest part for me.
Zoe - Best of luck with the art gallery. I'm not going to say much else here because all my mosaicHUB colleagues covered your question very well. My answer would have been relatively similar to David Reimherr or Wayne Bidelman. But all comments appear relevant and helpful. So, best of luck and let us know when you are open. I'm in the NYC area and would love to see what you do. Rich Veltre CPA
I would say that the most common mistake of entrepreneurs, especially in early stages, is to focus too much on the product, and not enough on the customer. Entrepreneurs usually start a business out of a passion or experience; therefore they do something they know. The product they develop is a result of their knowledge. However, a product should be what people want to buy. The Lean Startup is good tool to have handy in order to continually assess the relevance of the product/market fit.
As a good friend of mine commented recently on one of my LinkedIn posts, if your product is not market fit, you don't have a business.
My advice is to know the business well. I have an MBA and have worked for nearly 50 years. The worse thing a new business owner can do is start a business they know nothing about. If this is the case, you need to get help fast and learn, learn, learn. You may need a consultant if you are over your head. I hope this helps and I wish you well.
Develop your plan and your vision and stay true to it. As you go forward, you may need to tweak it here and there, but don't be easily swayed by ideas or others that will pull you away from your goal.
Indigestion ! I think you already are on to it with not getting distracted from your core business.....we all tend to get driven by starvation (the notion that if you don't get your start up off the ground quickly and make it profitable - you'll starve to death :-)) and that can make us over consume, chase shiny things in all directions when focus and finding a niche is the key to success.
In my experience (ie in hindsight from many start ups) you do need to let your mind wander vs be disciplined though. I'd argue more for being agile - quickly iterate through all these so called opportunities and good ideas and throw out the one's that don't hunt as early and often as possible. Let's face it - if its simply an exercise in focus and execution - then its a known problem - solution set that other people are already doing. You have to believe you are envisioning something that doesn't yet exist or the market doesn't understand will solve their compelling problem to be a successful start up.
That means having a general idea of your business roadmap - but like fishing - you weave your way down the river, throw out all kinds of line, change the lures and bait often and see when you start catching something...then its time to stick to the program and focus.
The other metaphor I liken a start up to is the 2 minute drill in football. With time being the essence the temptation is rush all the plays or to go for it all on a Hail Mary pass when its best to stick to plays that have been working for you in the game and keep moving the chains ......that usually gets you to a spot in the red zone with plenty of time, options and opportunity to score.
I guess a sales person would argue the same but in a more succinct bottom line manner :-) (Something like - spend as little time as possible getting a quick 'yes' or 'no' answer from as many clients as you can....the 'maybes' will kill you...when you start getting repeat yes answers - rinse, wash and repeat that question and answer process ! )
All excellent responses.
I would reinforce the response about obtaining ideas from professionals and/or other business owners.
Don't make all your decisions yourself without ideas of these others.
I have seen small businesses fail because of this.
As a business and marketing strategist who coaches business owners, it is predictable as to what I would say. However, I do what I do because of the reality of business ownership.
There are 2 statistically proven mistakes business owners make. The first is the lack of a plan This does not have to be big and formal, and not what would be required for outside investors. This would be a one page (spreadsheet) strategic road map just for internal purposes. If done correctly, it aligns longer term personal goals with the needed short term business goals and required activities to reach them. You state struggling with doing too much and not staying focused. Only with a correctly determine strategic road map will you have what you need to define the right things to do at the right time.
The second biggest mistake is that the business owner does not realize that they have weaknesses or they know they do but they fail to do the right things about them. You wrote this question, so the former is not reality in your case. Getting mentor-type advice, which is what you are doing, can be extremely valuable. But only with the regular, consistent interaction with a coach (to be a type of business "partner") will you truly stay on course and be highly successful. And I say this not because I am a coach but because I have experienced it from the other side. There is nothing more powerful.
Most common mistake: No marketing or misguided/ineffective marketing (same as no marketing).
Before you can expect customers to come and pay you money you need to tell your available market (1) who/where you are, (2) what product/service you provide, and (3) what makes you DIFFERENT than all the others who do what you do.
Al Shultz alshultz.com/