As an entrepreneur, your journey will absolutely be filled with trials and error. Some mistakes can be ignored and treated as life lessons. Others are so damaging that it’s best to learn about them before it’s too late. Entrepreneurs are so focused on making enough for the company startup that they forget the small details and costly mistakes. You might learn something from them, but often it will be too costly to be worth any sort of inner growth.
Here are 5 such mistakes you should avoid from the start:
1. Not Thinking Long-Term
One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make at the start is to focus entirely on the short-term. It might seem like a smart move, because if you can’t make it through the next month, why bother thinking about the next year? However, that kind of thinking isn’t going to get you anywhere.
It might feel presumptuous to think long-term when you haven’t even filled the office roster yet, but it’s something that should be done from the very start. Every decision you make, from how you construct the startup systems to the people you hire, will have a direct impact on how the company functions as it grows. Keep an eye on the horizon, or you may go in circles.
2. Putting the Company on Your Shoulders
There’s no doubt – you will often be the most important person in the company. As the founder and entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. How the company moves and innovates is affected by your decisions. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re the only valuable person.
You might feel unstoppable when you’re first starting out, but after a while, the daily grind will get to you. You’ll also realize that you can’t be everywhere at once and that you can only do so much, even with a wide skill set. Don’t put the startup on your shoulders alone. Distribute responsibilities and delegate tasks. Focus on the big picture, and let smaller responsibilities and tasks fall on other people.
Here is an article to help you pick the right startup team. 7 Essential Qualities to Look For in Your Startup Team
3. Ignoring Your Social Media Presence
Most entrepreneurs know how valuable social media is. What most don’t know is that it’s not limited to their business’s presence. Your company’s pages are important, but so is your own presence.
Personal branding is of critical importance in today’s marketing environment, especially for entrepreneurs. Since your startup is new, it has nothing to offer in terms of history or experience. People will flock towards what they trust, and you and your company haven’t earned that yet. However, a strongly developed personal brand can substitute for your startup’s lack of history, which can give you a foot in the door. Your personal brand is important because it gives your startup a face. It makes it more relatable, even likable, which helps in getting those critical initial customers.
4. Not Networking
Many entrepreneurs put their focus towards the internal workings of the company at the start. While that’s OK, that shouldn’t be where all the focus is. Who you know is often just as important as what you know. Without the right network, you’ll have trouble getting good deals or even just getting the attention of important partners, influencers, and manufacturers.
Go out to conventions. Reply to messages from industry personalities and authorities. Don’t let your relentless focus lock-on to your startup. Take the time to build your network and it’ll pay off when that same network opens doors for you.
5. Not Valuing Your Time
Time is figuratively money, because the time you put into your startup is presumably going to make you money one way or another. Time is also the resource most undervalued by many entrepreneurs. Some give away their time by offering free consultation in an effort to promote their company and expertise. Others listen to clients who obviously can’t afford what their offering. Your time, when spent professionally, has value attached to it. Put a number on it.
Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, you will make mistakes. Mistakes are learning points, but fortunately, you don’t have to make the error yourself to learn. As an entrepreneur, you can look at what has come before you and learn from your predecessors. Let any errors you make lead to brand new practices. Don’t make mistakes people have already made.
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