Entrepreneurship is full of trial and error. Most entrepreneurs must brainstorm and experiment constantly with every aspect of their business in order to find what works best. Many owners have type-A personalities, meaning they plan out every move they want to make and expect nothing short of perfection. Although it is painful to admit when we make mistakes, we must admit when we run into a few bumps in the road and learn from the experience. Here are a few common mistakes even experienced entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them:
1. Expect a Learning Curve
When you enter a new industry, you need a new set of skills to be successful. You will need to learn the intricacies of your field like seasonal business changes and how to accommodate a new type of customer. For example: say you are the long-time owner of a popular coffee shop. After many successful years, you decide to open an ice-cream shop down the street. You are used to a steady stream of foot traffic at your coffee shop because customers can request their drinks hot or iced any time of the year. Your ice cream business will likely slow down in the colder months when people’s preferences change. Since ice cream shops typically attract a younger customer, you will need to adjust your store atmosphere to accommodate children and their parents. Understanding that there is a learning curve for industry-specific knowledge can help you from becoming frustrated with the start-up process.
2. Let Underperforming Employees Go
An entrepreneur’s vision is not always uniformly shared with their team. Occasionally this translates into a team member who does not meet the expectations laid during the hiring process. It may be time to let them go if their performance consistently restricts your business from moving forward. The longer you hold on to an underperforming employee, the longer you hold back your own progress. If your employee consistently misses the mark, don’t be afraid to make an executive decision.
3. Hire An Expert If You Need Tech Assistance
Business owners know how important it is to keep overhead costs as low as possible during the start-up stage because resources are in limited supply. A social media presence and a company website are cheap ways to advertise your new business. If you are not a marketing or graphic design expert, you may want to consider hiring someone to create a polished online appearance. Additionally, if your business requires tech equipment you do not know how to operate or repair, you may need to hire someone to help. Don’t be afraid to allow room in your budget for such a huge staple of your business.
4. Seek a Second Opinion
Customer feedback is priceless. Seek your customer’s opinion frequently in the startup phase and periodically when you are fully operational. When you give your customers a voice, they feel engaged in the product so it gives them a reason to remain loyal. Asking for their thoughts shows them you care about how they feel and not just how much money they spend on your products.
5. Don’t Overdo It
One big mistake entrepreneurs make is trying to create a product or service that accomplishes everything. The idea is that if you can take care of all of your customer’s needs, they won’t need to shop anywhere else. Although this is a great idea on paper, actually perfecting an all-inclusive product is nearly impossible and can be highly expensive. Would you rather give your customer a mediocre product to meet most of their needs, or the perfect product for one very important need? Don’t be the jack of all trades and the master of none.
The take away: human beings are naturally inclined to make mistakes. While it is honorable to chase perfection in your life and in your business, it is only human to experience a few bumps in the road. Take a moment to reflect on your errors and find a way to transform them into learning experiences. You will only grow wiser and more successful with each lesson.
Jon Sanchez is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG), a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. OSJ Branch: 12671 High Bluff Drive Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92130. Sanchez Wealth Management, LLC and IFG are not affiliated entities. CA Insurance Lic. #0772626.
Jon G. Sanchez is the CEO of Sanchez Wealth Management, LLC, located in Reno, Nevada. He is the host of the Jon Sanchez Radio Show heard each day on Newstalk 780 KOH as well as an author of The 3 Pillars of Life, a speaker, cattle rancher, volunteer firefighter, a husband and father of three beautiful children. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775)-800-1801.
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