Being an entrepreneur is not easy. You once were a nobody with a big dream. And then the next minute, you’re the CEO of your own company. It can be a bit scary. Most business owners who are presidents of their own companies have often never been CEOs of other companies, thus, creating a gap between general practices and behavior in business.
I was surrounded by many interesting people with good ideas. Some of them have succeeded, but many others have failed. As an entrepreneur, I believe failure is as important as success because it teaches you what to do or not to do next time.
However, there is nothing wrong with seeking advice, especially when you are new to the game. If you are a novice player or are toying with the idea of bringing a new product to market, here are seven big & common mistakes that startups usually make. Avoid these vagabonds and get rid of the need to absorb everything in a complicated way!
I understand it’s 2020. However, a good old-fashioned business plan is as important now as ever.
That doesn’t mean it has to be a three-ring bundle, but it does take time to run the numbers, create your identity (even if you do social media company logos), and develop your sales and marketing plans. If you don’t know where you’re going, it will be hard for you to get there.
A business plan will help keep you on track. Plus, if you’re hoping to get funding, you’ll need it.
New entrepreneurs like to plan sales that have not yet been achieved. First, think about short-term goals; scale up to the first 10-100 clients. Dreams are great but be focused on current business events. If you haven’t reached one customer yet, focus on achieving that goal first. This will help you to focus on your daily tasks and keep yourself in control.
Before you launch the product on the market, just hoping for the best, you will need to run through a few numbers and create an accurate projection of how well the product will work. Your first step in this journey is to identify your exact target market. Without a clear picture of the “WHO” you are marketing your product to and what they are interested in, it will be difficult for you to imagine and promote your product. Trust me, it’s hard to sell to an audience when they aren’t even sure if they want it.
These days, in 2020, we need online advertising to succeed. The truth is there are only so many things you can do with physical reach and mouth-to-mouth conversations. After all, if you want to grow significantly, you have to play the game and invest in a Facebook, Instagram, or Google advertising campaign. Fortunately, advertising has come a long way in recent years, and today it’s easy to create a campaign that will focus exclusively on the result, which dramatically increases the number of responses. This is another reason it is important to know your audience. If you don’t know them, you won’t be able to reach them very well.
“I have no rivalries. I’m in my own league.” I often hear it. Don’t fool yourself. You have competition like everyone else. The secret of victory over them is not to pretend they don’t exist but to find the gap in their armor. What is missing from your competition? How can you offer more value? Most importantly, is it a value that really concerns your customers?
If you have the final answer, then certainly continue to run your business. But if you are basically the same as most business owners, then I would act cautiously.
Everybody wants the best of the best to work for them. The problem is, however, the inability to support such talented people.
Without the leadership experience necessary to manage people with strong basic skills, the new CEO cannot always meet the desires and needs of these top leaders. These employees are also expensive, and in the early stages of the business, where there is no infrastructure, this can create a loss rather than growth.
The best way is to learn how to nurture and create talents rather than buying them.
At the beginning of a business, drawing attention to and tracking what others are doing may seem like a good idea. Obviously, this has worked for others and should work for you as well, right? The problem with tracking competitors is that your customers will perceive you as a copycat, not as a company with a unique identity and purpose.
Don’t fall victim to trends. Stay true to your message, to your management, and find ways to attract attention to it. No big business was big from the very beginning. In fact, many of today’s biggest companies started as niche products or services, which then turned into larger and more widely accepted services.
A customer engagement channel is just an audience you have access to and can motivate to do something (i.e., convert). It doesn’t have to be your product right away. It could be entertainment content (e.g., people who create newsletters and blogs before creating a product). Once you have a channel, you can play with it, experiment, see what works and what doesn’t, and go from there. You don’t always need sales, and you don’t always need marketing, or you may need both, depending on what you do. Focus on attracting customers, whatever is best in your case.
You know what is best. If you’re a founder, you need to learn how to sell. You will be the number one passionate person about your product, and at some point, you will have to offer it to an investor or sell it to a buyer. This is your job. Don’t think you can just be the guy who sells the product. Let someone else sell it.
Also, don’t forget to be the person in front of the customers. If you introduce yourself by offering something to someone, they will close you down because they have already appointed you as a seller, and no “noodle on the ears” strategy will help you at this stage.
Treat potential customers as though you are someone who wants to hear their concerns. Ask questions and find out what the person has to deal with every day. This helps to solve the problem.. Make sure you understand their needs.
If nobody listens to you, nobody cares about the product you offer. Seriously… Think about it. If you have created the most amazing hangover juicer in the world for college students, so they can take better tests, and you don’t know any college students, then you are not going to sell it. A coincidental fact: salty juice is a great cure for hangovers.
However, you have to develop your product in parallel with the availability of an audience for it. This will not only help you to make the product better (because you are in contact with potential customers) but will also pave the way for those who are just beginning to show interest in it.
Nowadays, you can Google your way through anything, but you will never get all the answers. Ask a successful entrepreneur how he has achieved success.
Ask them if they can meet potential clients. Ask them to invest if they can offer it. People usually want to help others succeed until you start to seem like a self-confident jerk.
Your job as a founder is to get to know everything you can know and find in this niche. If you’re in the landscape design business, for example, contact the leading landscaping companies in the area. Read customer reviews about these companies to see what they are doing right or wrong. Why are they the best landscape design business? What can you do better? This applies to all industries.
We live in a business era unlike any other for commercial enterprises. Small changes in the industry can make you a multimillionaire in seconds. I would advise you to know the industry from the inside out in order to be prepared for change, new developments in your niche, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.
Let these four warnings prevent you from making the same mistakes most novice entrepreneurs make. Invest time to develop your business and make plans for the future.
In general, the messages written above are guidelines that I find useful or that could have been useful if I had read them earlier.
For the first time in my family, I had to fall flat on my face to learn how to build a business (and I still fail). But one thing is for sure; every day I try to be better than I was yesterday. In business, in life, and in finding out why the hell we are here at all.
Entrepreneurship is a rocky road, but filling the right shoes, you’ll be fine and have the adventure of your life. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!