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Every entrepreneur will make mistakes. No one is perfect, and most business owners are constantly navigating uncharted waters, learning as they go.
While it’s impossible to avoid all mistakes completely, there are some that I see entrepreneurs making over and over again – mistakes that shouldn’t be as common as they are. In no particular order, here are 10 entrepreneurial landmines to avoid.
1. Be cheap in marketing.
You could have the best product or service and provide the most value, but if no one sees it, how do you plan to stay above the water and grow? Everyone is “wired” these days – a strong online presence is essential and you have to be prepared to spend money to make money. Rather than looking for the cheapest SEO and online marketing solution, look for a marketing partner who can deliver the kind of results that will lead to explosive growth.
Related: The Valuable Lessons These CEOs Learned About Leadership
2. Pay huge salaries up front.
You need to focus on cutting personal expenses early and not worrying about earning a big salary. Many startups receive funding and operate without paying close attention to their burn rate and the next thing they know the funds are running out. Current investors prefer to cut their losses and go rather than put more money in a failure and very few venture capitalists want to throw money on a sinking ship.
If you are starting your own business, try to live off your savings, or if you have to earn a salary, take the bare minimum necessary to survive.
3. Don’t have a solid monetization plan in place.
A business must generate income. There are cases where huge valuations are published in the media, such as Tinder valued at more than $ 5 billion after 20 months and not generating a single penny of revenue. For each Tinder, tens of thousands of businesses fail because they do not generate enough revenue to keep their doors open. You have the best chance of surviving if you have a monetization plan in place from day one.
4. Selection of the incorrect co-founder (s).
A co-founder relationship is very much like a marriage. You have to be on the same page and be prepared to overcome differences and difficult times. You don’t meet someone and you head straight to the wedding chapel, right? (Crazy Vegas weekend stories do not apply.) You need to make sure that you and your potential co-founder (s) are on the same page and that you can stay on the same path, whatever whatever the difficulty of the journey.
5. Try to do everything yourself and not delegate.
One of the biggest mistakes I made at the start was that I could do anything. It was not a game of ego – it was rather a lack of confidence. I didn’t think anyone could do something with the same level of commitment as me. It has put too much responsibility on my shoulders. Don’t be afraid to trust your team members entirely – learn to delegate and let them do the job you hired them to do.
6. Don’t focus enough on your customers.
You may think you know what your customers want, but you will never be 100% certain unless you ask them. Ignoring your customers is the quickest way to lose momentum and slow your growth. Interact with them through online surveys and face-to-face communications. Ask them what they like, what they don’t like and what is the thing they would change if they were you. Your best comments will always come directly from the people who actually use your product or service.
Related: 4 Intensive Marketing Lessons From 4 Small Business Owners
7. Don’t pay for proper legal advice.
Do not suddenly become thrifty when it comes to legal advice. While the cost may seem like a lot at first, it could potentially save you thousands of dollars and avoid future headaches.
8. Spend money on unnecessary things.
While a nice modern office in the booming part of the city can be attractive, is it really necessary? Someone sent me an eBay list some time ago that included half a dozen vintage arcade machines. They were among the assets being liquidated that once belonged to a startup.
Allocate your money to the areas of your business that will help you grow, thereby ensuring the sustainability of your business. Want to add a ping pong table to your desk? Set a goal for yourself and use the ping pong table as a reward. Careless spending will sink your ship quickly.
9. Wait for the launch until everything is perfect.
Flash info: perfection does not exist. If you spend too much time trying to perfect everything, you could miss your window of opportunity. The faster you get started, the faster you can get the user and market feedback you need to adjust, scale, and grow your business. In fact, several software as a service startups have been launched before their products were even ready. The companies wanted to assess interest and see if their target markets were going to match their prices.
10. Be afraid to seek advice and help.
Never be afraid to ask for help, no matter what type of obstacle stands in your way. Chances are that another entrepreneur faced the same challenge in some way. I learned that the entrepreneur community is a very tight circle, and almost everyone is ready to help each other with advice and suggestions. All you have to do is ask. I have greatly improved my business by simply asking for advice when I need it from the circle of entrepreneurs with whom I communicate regularly.
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