Successful entrepreneurs know all too well how hard it is to create a thriving business. Many small businesses tend to fail. Even those who managed to grow and last beyond the first three years are probably still facing a couple of problems in establishing a strong business.
It’s also easy to read up on entrepreneur success stories and find a resource guide for small business owners. It will help inspire you when times get tough. This will also help you pick up some pointers of what to do. However, the steps you take are still based on circumstances that are unique to your own.
To succeed as a first-time entrepreneur, we’ve listed 7 of the most important steps you should avoid at all costs:
Thinking it will be too easy
Ideas tend to be easy inside the mind. However, once ideas hit the real world, things usually go haywire.
While it’s true that doing what you’re passionate about will make the job feel much like a hobby, being an entrepreneur means you might have to do things you didn’t even imagine you’ll have to do. Also, being a business owner means almost all of your time will eventually get dedicated to setting up your business. Making sure it’s growing at a healthy pace.
A study has shown that about 19% of new business owners spend more than 60 hours per week working, with only about 1 in 5 entrepreneurs working the standard 40-hour workweek. The same study also found that an astonishing 97% of business owners work during weekends – talk about dedication and hard work!
Getting your own business up and running requires you to invest as much time and energy as you can. After all, when your business fails, it’s you who will end up jobless.
Spending no time in researching
One of the most common pitfalls starting entrepreneurs make is failing to spend time to research enough to learn the ins and outs of establishing a business.
As you might have noticed, being a business owner means you’ll be the captain of the ship. And wherever it goes is totally up to you.
Your research should dictate whether or not you’re ready to set-up your business.
You see, most people have a hyper-focused area of expertise. However, when running a business, having a birds-eye view of every situation will play to your advantage.
With research, you’re essentially taking a step back to analyze what other factors – aside from your area of expertise – are going to be at play when you start your business.
Setting unrealistic goals
One of the most popular inspirational quotes that entrepreneurs love to go by goes something like this:
“Fail often. Fail Fast. Fail Forward”
Though this will truly be helpful for you, living by this alone might be risky and unhealthy. You see, we’re only humans. Constant failure will eventually wear us out, not to mention business failures also come with financial repercussions.
But you see, failure can be made subjective. By setting attainable goals, you can keep yourself, and your staff motivated. Having a sense of fulfillment is crucial to keep morale high, especially when running a business.
Break major goals down to smaller project chunks that are easier to attain.
Being too stringent (or too generous) with the budget
Aside from what’s already been mentioned above, entrepreneurs starting their businesses shall strike a good balance in managing their business’ finances. However, this could be harder than it seems.
When setting up a business, every expense matters. This is why every purchase decision should lead to the growth of your business.
Will additional workforce multiply productivity, and by how much? Is a website hosting service more cost-efficient than building your website?
On the other hand, being too generous with your spending without being too careful is more dangerous for your business. This is especially true for businesses in the first year of operation.
Make sure that you create a sound and balanced budget where your expenses are smaller than your income, or where investments are meant to provide more than double returns.
Focusing more on sales
After talking about budget and expenses, it’s only proper to speak of getting more sales. However, putting too much focus on getting new sales might also be detrimental for your venture.
While there was a time when hard-selling is the key to make better revenue, this might not be the best case for businesses today. More and more customers get turned off by pushy sales tactics.
It’s more important to create strong business relationships with potential and existing customers first before striking for a sale. This is why marketing and social media plays a big role in getting sales.
As customers get acquainted with your business, you are more likely to reach your key target audiences. Additionally, they are more likely to voice out their interests and concerns. Either through comments or a private message on social media channels. This will help you divert them into making a purchase.
Not working on yourself as an entrepreneur
When entrepreneurs set out to build a business, there’s a high chance that they’ll get swamped with work related to setting up and running the business.
If this happens and persists for a couple of more years, they’ll eventually have no time to rise above and evolve as a business owner. They might even be too busy to take a break, create ideas, and look at the business outlook.
As a business owner, you must be able to run the company and have time to grow. This means you’ll have to learn new things on-the-go, take care of your growing team, as well as maintain a sharp body and mind to be at your best.
Thinking you can do it all by yourself
Entrepreneurs who believe they can succeed on their own are already set for failure. When you start your business journey, guidance will have to come both from above you and beneath you.
To arrive at better business decisions, it’s important to have a trusted mentor that’s ready to help you find the best approach for your business. Make sure to keep building good acquaintances with like-minded entrepreneurs and industry experts. These relationships might someday be the key to your success as an entrepreneur.
On the other hand, keeping yourself busy with tasks that can easily be delegated to employees is not something you should be doing.
As the business owner, your time is worth more in securing new business or tweaking your products rather than getting too involved in the production. Make sure to hire trainable and skilled employees that will grow with your business.
Creating a business out of thin air is surely isn’t easy. It takes very strong motivation, a couple of skill sets, and help from experts and acquaintances alike. Having mentioned all these pitfalls, it should be easier for you to avoid making these mistakes and help you achieve success faster.