As humans we are bound to make mistakes. What really impacts us negatively is, when we do not learn from our mistakes, and continue to repeat them over and over again. As entrepreneurs this can be very costly, in the end this is the reason why some of us succeed, and some do not. Listed below are some of the bigger mistakes I have made in the past, thankfully I have learned from them .
Not Listening: When we are on a roll, or think we know more than almost anyone else in the room, we make our biggest mistakes. When I was very young, my grandfather would tell me we have been given thirty teeth to guard one tongue, and two ears in wisdom and for a reason. I did not fully understand what he was saying till much later. However, after making a series of mistakes that could easily have been avoided by actually listening to some of my mentors, advisors and friends, instead of saying I knew it all and better, I began to truly appreciate the wisdom of those words.
Lack of Focus: Getting distracted is something I think entrepreneurs suffer from, more than anyone else. Any new project excites us to the extent that we drop whatever else we are doing, to move onto the next big thing. This leaves a trail of semi finished products/services that could have been so much more. My advice to all new entrepreneurs is, select one project and give it all that you have. Building one company successfully is a huge challenge. Make sure it gets your undivided attention.
Incorrect Niche Selection: This mistake hurts a lot ! If you get this one wrong, a domino effect follows. I repeatedly see entrepreneurs picking niches that are too small, or saturated. Doing your market research upfront, and picking the right niche , can be the difference between success and failure.
Cash Flow Mismanagement: Spending money is easy. Spending money wisely, is a long learning curve . Countless times I have seen new startups spend way too extravagantly in the beginning, well before they have any customer. As they progress, further mistakes made in mismanagement of credit terms and sales cycles, put enormous pressure on the company as a whole. Cash flows represent your life line in the world of entrepreneurship. Once it runs out, the end becomes almost inevitable.
Giving up too early/too late: If you have not read “The Dip” by Seth Godin, I strongly recommend you do so. First things first, startups on average take a minimum of 24 months to gather traction, make sure you can commit that much time to your venture. I see too many people quitting way to early when things do not go as planned. Get used to things not going as planned….if you cannot, I recommend you choose another line of work. On the other hand, when things are obviously not working after 36+ months, it may be wise to throw in the towel, analyze what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
These are some common mistakes that end up costing entrepreneurs dearly. Which mistakes would you add to this list ? I look forward to hearing from you soon.