The great Steve Jobs once said that starting a business entails persevering through an inevitable process of trials and errors. All of the most successful entrepreneurs today had their own shares of mistakes and mishaps. They are not perfect.
Steve Jobs almost lost Apple in the 80s while Bill Gates faced a major stumble when Microsoft computers failed to give the leading brands a tough competition in the late 2000s. Similarly, media mogul Oprah Winfrey lost millions in Harpo after a series of failed ventures. Presidential candidate Donald Trump also went down in bankruptcy then bounced back to billionaire status.
They all committed near “fatal” mistakes in their careers as entrepreneurs, but what sets them apart is their tenacity and resilience to pick up the broken pieces, bounce back, and learn from their mistakes.
While the nature of cutthroat business consists of cyclical successes and failures, it does not mean that you cannot learn how to reduce, if not totally avoid, the chances of committing mistakes. Becoming an entrepreneur automatically enrolls you to a lifetime of education from your own and others’ mistakes, starting by learning these top 10 mistakes of entrepreneurs:
1. Lack of patience and missing out on the long-term vision
It is easy to hope for the best from your business with all the success stories you read. Entrepreneurs can tend to focus on the results and not on the process it took to achieve the results. It usually becomes frustrating and sometimes depressing when it takes longer than expected to actually see results. Patience is important and it’s very important to build a strong base that can take your business to greater heights. This might require patience and time.
It is good to remember that Apple took two decades to secure the top spot, while the owner of Home Depot had to be fired from a business he helped build before achieving success on his own. Even cloud-based businesses take an average of two years before they start earning decently.
Success requires time, so adjust and adapt to it before you lose patience and lose on the long term vision.
2. Grabbing every opportunity that knocks on the door
Loyalty and dedication can mean everything when running a business. Grabbing a seemingly more attractive opportunity might mean having to turn your back on a promising venture, a trustworthy partner, an expanding vendor, a promising employee, or a marketing strategy that produces slow but long-term results. Weigh the pro and cons of the opportunity coming your way, and if it seems too expensive then it’s prudent to let it go. Not all the time the light at the end of a tunnel is a way, sometimes it can be a train running at you!
Learn to wait if necessary. As aforementioned, success requires time.
3. Under-spending and overspending
Starting a business is a win-all-lose-all gamble. The risks are there to stay, but you can manage and control them by taking calculated risks and launching strategic plans. Under-spending is as good as wasting money on something that is bound to fall short and produces no results. Meanwhile, overspending is as good as gambling more money than the pot prize.
4. Hoarding the major tasks
The greatest political and business leaders are masters of delegation. They know what tasks to prioritize and execute hands-on, and they know how to handpick people they can entrust their other tasks to even better. Eventually, it is also about trusting delegating and producing a great team.
5. Choosing money over passion
It is a universal truth that if we do what we love we will excel and only excel. We will get paid for living our passion. Success follows those who truly enjoy what they do. Failure is bound to happen when a person cannot wholeheartedly devote his time and energy to something he cannot learn to love.
Starting a business for your passion instantly rewards you with emotional fulfillment and it continues to happen even if you lose money. On the other hand, starting a business for money only gives reward while things are happening in your favor. IF you are already into one it is now important to find a way to which you add value to others and your contribution which can bring in a great feeling!
6. Taking the competition for granted
Coming up with an innovative product or service does not save you from competition even if you are the first and only business to offer such thing. Remember that competition involves present and future competitors. Opportunists will always try to copy what you have. History would tell you that many of these “copycats” have succeeded better than the originals.
7. Hiring employees for the cost, not for quality
Employees are one of the best investments. Hiring for the price and not for competitiveness and potential is nothing but under-spending, which, as mentioned, is just wasting money. Remember, the greatest business leaders are masters of the delegation, so choose the best employees that you can trust regardless of their price. The risk of hiring an expensive but quality employee will produce positive results sooner or later.
8. Setting goals too lofty to realize
Learning that Google started in a garage does not give an entrepreneur the license to set goals based on their growth and achievements. All entrepreneurs are different. Your business and situation are different from the others. Learn to set goals based on what is achievable within a realistic timeframe. Aspiring so much will only lead to bigger and more painful disappointments.
9. Focusing too much on operations and less on marketing
Conceiving a business idea takes time. Starting and growing a business take even longer. It is easy for business operations to take all of an entrepreneur’s time. However, having good organizational structure, seamless branding and business development strategies, and tried-and-tested procedures do not guarantee sales. If you are not creative enough, better leave the marketing part to someone else. What is needed is a well-balanced approach as all aspects are important.
10. Sticking to tried-and-tested plans and procedures without heeding the call of the present
A procedure or strategy that works today might no longer work tomorrow. The business landscape is constantly changing and growing. Failure to adapt is a failure to thrive.
These top 10 mistakes of entrepreneurs do not enumerate all the possible mistakes that have caused many heartbreaks and disappointments in the past. You might have different experiences of your own. What is important is that you learn from your mistakes and those of others too; and persist in your entrepreneurial spirit. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn, not only to learn but to rise like never before!!!!
A Transformational Life and Performance Coach, Harrish Sairaman is one of the most recognized sought-after inspirational speakers in the country. Harrish energetically encourages Peak Performance training programs, Fire Walk, Sales training programs, Motivational training programs, Leadership training programs, Entrepreneur Coaching and Individual Coaching to give some examples.
His ability to deliver life changing, scientifically sound, relevant and metaphysical messages in a powerful, humorous and insightful manner integrated with high energy has earned him a reputation of bringing about a difference with a difference!
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