July 19, 2019

The frenzy of running your business could get you all worked up. One minute you are in awe of your brilliant idea, another minute you are trying to put together the pieces to pitch to a potential investor. You begin to find yourself struggling to keep up with the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

The truth is, as an entrepreneur you are bound to make a lot of mistakes and face failures along the way. That’s how most entrepreneurs learn and grow. But once you are in the game, you can’t afford to make mistakes constantly. You have to play the game in a smart way to win a competitive edge over others and for that, you must be aware of some entrepreneurial mistakes that can mar your business.

MISTAKE #1: Starting without a Business Plan
It’s normal to have dozens of things happening at once. It is for this reason, you require a lot of planning in order to keep the business running smoothly.

A number of business owners do not have a Business Plan, to begin with. A business plan is an important part of how you start and run your business. Having one will help you in evaluating your present condition and forecasting your future.

Most small businesses fail because of the lack of short-term and long-term planning. Your plan should include where your business will be in the next few months to the next few years. Your plan should have where you hope to be and what you hope to achieve in months and years. Make sure it includes measurable goals and targets.

Lastly, ensure you have a to-do list with dates and deadlines. This will help you prioritize effectively and boost your work productivity, which brings me to my next point!

MISTAKE #2: Being a jack of all trades
As much as your ideas sound awesome, your business plan looks fantastic and you are feeling energetic about fulfilling them, you need to relax. Take it one at a time, as it comes. Growth is gradual and takes a lot of process. Being a Jack of all trade means indulging in a lot of activities to sell your product or service. This will leave your customers confused and it gets hard for your customers to know what you’re good at if you dabble into several ventures with no clear focus.

The solution is to look within your business, identify the strength and weaknesses and work on them to your advantage. Start by mastering a core set of skills and ensure you create your product / service around them. With that, people know exactly what you can do for them and how you can help. Over time, that may evolve or change, but get really good at a few things than being a generalist. I’ll advise you expand your business only when you are financially stable and have a strategic plan.

MISTAKE #3: Being too hasty.
The entrepreneurial journey can be very exciting – You see yourself winning and dreaming big. I must say it is a good feeling, it only means you are passionate and determined about your business growth.

Nevertheless, at this stage, you have to be very mindful of the decisions you make. Do not be hasty in making decisions. Decisions like who you choose to work with, your choice of investor, marketing tactics, etc. Mistakes are bound to happen, but as much as possible try to avoid them.

For example, you conveniently run a small business with less than 3 employees in a rented serviced office. You happened to win a client account worth millions and decide to blow up by renting/buying a multi-story building in the hopes of expanding your business to please your client without thinking about the financial impact on the business or unprecedented occurrences. You need to learn to think deeply, evaluate properly and seek advice from experts.
MISTAKE #4: Hiring at the wrong time.
As your business grows, there will be tasks that you need to get off your plate but hiring too soon can mean you are spending money you simply shouldn’t or hiring the wrong person(s).
If you weigh your options, you may be better off outsourcing a job than hiring.
Hiring shouldn’t be a thing of pride, but something you do because you have a dire need in your business. For example, if you’re so busy developing a new product for a new market and you have a real need for support with managing your current customers that is absolutely understandable.

Nevertheless, if you are still trying to figure out what your new hire will be doing, or you’re doing it at the expense of your profit, I’d advise you think about why you need to hire and consider if the job can be done by you or any other employee available.

MISTAKE #5: Not developing your entrepreneurial skills.
Finally, yet importantly, keep striving to be better. No matter what level you attain in your business, do not ease off. There is always room for improvement. Your competition is also striving to be better at the game so you shouldn’t relent.

You could get a mentor to discuss your business challenges with, someone that has been through the journey and is likely going to understand you. Also, it is essential you take business related courses to help you manage your business operations, finance and human resources.

Running your own business can be exciting and rewarding but firstly you need to get yourself ready for it. We are always at your service to help you get more out of life including your business.
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