Being an entrepreneur is easy — said no one ever.
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs are likely to fail within the first 18 months in business.
However, if you have the tenacity to make it big, you might turn out to be a successful entrepreneur.
That said, is tenacity enough? Not nearly!
You will commit a lot of mistakes and have to deal with a lot of problems on your path to success.
The key is to identify these mistakes and avoid them in the future.
Here are the top 3 mistakes entrepreneurs make:
1. Working too hard
This is not a typo! The heading really deems working too hard a mistake entrepreneurs make.
Here’s the deal: working hard is productive. On the other hand, working too hard can prove to be disastrous.
When we think of being successful many of us have been conditioned by society to believe that the only way to go that is to work hard. We translate this into long hours, working weekends and overextending our availability. Never saying no. in fact saying yes to just about anything – lest we miss out! When I started out with my business this was me. Working hard – spinning wheels – working through weekends. The result – two burnout episodes in one year!
This “just buckle down and do it” mentality is actually missing a very crucial piece of the puzzle – take care of the golden goose.
As a result we tend to make ourselves “busy” versus being “productive”. Being productive entails working smart. Focusing on the 20% of things that bring 80% of the results and delegating the rest. Learning to say no. learning to focus on one big thing at a time.
Decide how much work is productive, learn to focus on those things that bring results, and take the time out to refresh your mind, connect with nature and the people that matter. Enjoy your life NOW – don’t put it on hold to enjoy at some point in the future when you have achieved “success”.
Since that disastrous episode, I treat weekends as sacrosanct. I use them to relax, deepen my connections, read, laugh and connect to myself.
2. Focus on selling the product, not solving the problem
Most buyers are looking for solutions to their problems, not the product. It just so happens that the solution is packaged oh so beautifully as a product. If you are unable to help them see that, and focus all your marketing on the features of your product, it’s a long road ahead of you!
Highlight the benefits of your product to your client or market – don’t tell them you sell everything to everyone – its understood as nothing to no-one! Highlight the benefits of your product or service. By working with you (or buying from you) – what problems of theirs are solved?
Every feature that you have in your product – has a clear benefit. So speak about the benefits. For example while buying a phone – the fact that it has a feature called call waiting– why does your customer need that? Instead focus on how this allows them to ensure that they don’t miss a call anymore. For each target market that your product or service can be sold to – think of at least five benefits. Speak to these benefits and use them in your marketing – and see the difference.
3. Not tracking Sales and Finance numbers right from the start
More often than not, entrepreneurs and business owners focus too much on marketing and delivering the work. They don’t track the numbers. Irregular sales cycles, cash flow, payment of large amounts such as TAX and company license renewals can cause a lot of stress.
Track the numbers daily – yes daily. Know what your revenue targets are and how much you’ve achieved. Keep your business books separate from your personal finances. Create a business dashboard that can help you track all your important metrics from one simple dashboard.
You can easily avoid these 3 mistakes but being proactive and consistent in tracking business numbers, focusing on providing value first, and taking the time out to relax, refresh and access your creativity. Do you agree? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experiences with us.