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Starting a business is like starting high school. You are the little fish in a huge, intimidating pond, and all you want is to be let in. New business ventures are similar: they are packed with promise. But beginners who are ill-equipped to respond to their vulnerabilities can end up making unfortunate mistakes.
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When Julia Louis-Dreyfus joined Saturday Night Live in 1982, as the youngest actress, she compared her 21 years to Cinderella. But midnight came too early for Louis-Dreyfus. Unable to withstand the demands of a harsh environment, she cut it off SNL short career and has evolved.
Even if you are a beginner, you do not have to fall prey to the same beginner syndrome. Opportunities are not created, they are discovered. Julia Louis-Dreyfus really met her future Seinfeld producer on the set of Saturday Night Live Before his departure.
She would have given anything for being a little less terrified by the guys on this next project, which was a resounding success. But she took the time to shake one more hand. And the rest is a comedy legend.
Here are some unmistakable signs that you are headed for a novice snafus and how you can undermine your authority as a business owner even when you start.
1. You are caught with your pay pants.
You spent too much. Or you have not replaced your cash flow. The money is low and you can’t afford to keep working.
Interior tip: Know when to rotate. Take your payroll pulse often and watch for warning signs of decreased cash flow. Whether the funding challenge is an emergency fund, a secondary income or even a temporary job, always respond with a backup plan to cover your expenses. Be proactive about your income and you will increase your profits in a sustainable way.
2. Even high school students have more followers on social media than you.
Your flatness memes and RSS feeds don’t gain any social traction. Even the people at your weekend networking brunch keep asking for your name. It’s a noisy world, and no one is listening to you.
Interior tip: Build your social proof. Partner to help other entrepreneurs. Connect with those who are ahead of you. They are the guardians of the world of influence. Developing valuable exchanges with the authorities of your space expands your influence, even as a beginner.
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3. Your to-do list rivals an encyclopedia.
You confuse the objectives of the project with the action plans. You are drowning in a submerged sea. Productivity has become stagnant and you are filling your busy work time.
Interior tip: Set achievable goals. Imagine your end result, set your milestones, then develop concrete steps to reach each benchmark. Take the time to plan each day of your week with two to three actions. Realistic planning sets you on the path to achieving your results from the start.
4. You are all about your product, not your people.
You let your concept come before your customers. Building your ideas has taken precedence over building your relationships. People don’t visit your website and you don’t give them any reason to buy from you.
Interior tip: Make people your priority. The key to your success is loyal customers. If you can’t get people to know, love and trust you, none of your products will compensate. Build real friendships with your audience and you will build your clientele from day one.
Starting a business is difficult, especially if it’s the first one. And the reality is that sometimes we make mistakes. The mistakes of beginners can sting the worst. But they don’t have to stop you from realizing your potential. Take the time to notice the opportunities in front of you. Take the time to define your goals.
Significantly connect with those you can help and with those who can help you. And once you’ve accomplished all of this, take the time to shake one more hand.
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