Business Mistakes to Avoid
Everyone makes business mistakes. Even the most successful entrepreneurs acknowledge this. The following are some of the most common that you may wish to bear in mind.
Using Your Own MoneyWhen you start a new business, you almost always have to put up some of your own money. Banks and other investors require this. But try to keep the amount down to the absolute minimum.
Don’t be misled by the thought that the more of your own money you put in, the more control you have. No matter who invests the money, the business is yours. If someone puts money in and demands a share of the business, whether you agree to this is up to you. But even with a small investment on your part, you should be able to retain mastery of your enterprise.
The reason you shouldn’t use too much of your own money is that it can disappear fast. And although you may recover it, you may have to wait a while before you do so.
ExpensesInevitably, entrepreneurs have to pay for expenses. The golden rule here is not to buy something for the sake of it. You should justify each expense by asking whether what you want to buy will maintain or improve your business. Don’t buy an expensive computer, for example, when a budget model will do for what you have in mind.
Your CustomersKnow exactly who your customers are. You can waste a lot of time and money trying to sell a product or service to the wrong people. Before you start your business, work out exactly who is going to buy from you.
HonestyBe open to customers about your self-employed status. If you’re a one-person operation, for instance, don’t pretend otherwise. Shrewd customers are quick to see through any pretence.
It Doesn’t Feel RightDon’t always be guided by logic and the lure of a large profit. If a deal doesn’t feel right, trust yourself and let it go.
Some of the best entrepreneurs don’t always use logic. It’s not unusual to hear them say that they follow their instincts.
Be YourselfYou may have noticed how many top entrepreneurs have distinct personalities. They don’t necessarily act in what you might regard as a business-like way.
In other words, don’t make the mistake of being somebody you’re not. If you believe that being an entrepreneur obliges you to act in a certain way, think again. It’s better to be yourself and enjoy your work.
A Business That LastsDon’t try to build a business that simply makes money. You need the cash, of course; but if you want an enterprise that’s going to last, you need to give your customers value.
This means you may have to put some effort into creating an image or brand that people respect. Don’t always assume that every decision you make and every piece of work you do has to make money immediately.
ReinventDon’t become complacent about your business even if it’s successful. Always look at ways of improving every aspect of it.
Some industries develop and change very quickly. You need to stay ahead by checking whether you could be doing things better.