9 Big Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
It is not easy being an entrepreneur, however for those who do succeed, it is the journey of a lifetime and incredibly rewarding. If you have started your own business or are thinking of starting your own business, here 9 big mistakes entrepreneurs make you should avoid.
They Underestimate the Power of a Vision
A new entrepreneur often overestimates their abilities and underestimate the power of a vision.
Entrepreneurs often begin with a dream they are excited about, thinking they will do whatever it takes to succeed. While every successful business starts with a dream, it takes more than that to succeed. They underestimate the power of a vision that goes beyond the dream. The vision needs to be inspirational, motivational, and compelling for when things get rough, and they will; the vision is what gets you through a bumpy ride.
Your vision also needs to be written down and put in a place where it inspires you daily. It could be your mirror, desktop, refrigerator, or someplace else again, as long as you can see it every single day. It’s your vision, not your goals, that will keep your entrepreneurial dreams on track.
If you are not committed to your vision, your dreams will fall by the wayside, and you will get distracted by unimportant stuff. Stuff that you find easy, like calling friends instead of clients, talking to family members instead of mentors or coaches about your struggles in business.
They Buy Into the Next Entrepreneur Shiny New Object
Struggling entrepreneurs often look for a quick fix to their entrepreneurial problems. They buy into the next “entrepreneurial genius’ that will make them an instant success if you buy their program. It’s called the next entrepreneur shiny object syndrome.
They sell you what worked for them – but you are not them. If their style of presenting themselves is outgoing and extroverted, and you are an introvert, you can’t force yourself to take on someone else’s personality and style. Potential customers will see through the charade. They will see that you are not genuine, and as a result, you fall flat on your face. Don’t be someone you are not.
Do an inventory of your skill sets. You don’t need to be an expert in everything business. You need to be an expert in what you do best. A smart entrepreneur realizes they can hire others’ expertise to do what they are not good at concentrate on what they are good at.
They Underestimate the Importance of Sales Skills
Most entrepreneurs, when they first start out, focus on customer service or their product. Not focussing on sales is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur. Unless you get a handle on your sales, you might be offering a product or a service the market doesn’t want? You need to find this out as soon as possible. Unless you have huge capital resources behind you, trying to change the mindset of the market could be your downfall.
To become a successful entrepreneur you need sales training even if you aren’t the designated salesperson. You might say, “I don’t want to be a salesperson!” Really? You are already in the sales and marketing business because you sell yourself all the time.
When you left school and interviewed for your first job, you had to sell yourself to get the job. Once you were on the job, you had to sell your thoughts and ideas to your colleagues, boss, and those in other departments where you needed cooperation. Unless you were a self-funded entrepreneur, you had to sell yourself to investors or the bank to get a loan. You sell yourself and your company to attract the best employees, and you need to sell your products and services to potential customers.
Never underestimate the importance of learning sales skills.
4.They Underestimate the Importance of Communication Skills
You’ve heard of location, location, location! What about connection, connection, connection? It doesn’t matter what products or services you offer; you have to communicate value.
Your website is a communication and sales tool. Your social media platforms are a communication and sales tool. Every email you send out is a communication and sales tool. Every contact you have both in and out of the business environment is an opportunity to communicate the value of your product or services.
Before people will buy your products or services; they first must buy you, your company, and your people.
How do you know how you come across. Are you personable, likable, trustworthy, genuine, and an expert in your field of business? People don’t buy from people they don’t like.
Never underestimate the importance of learning advanced communication skills. They are the secret to your success as an entrepreneur. This doesn’t mean you need to have a charismatic personality, be extrovert and outgoing; sometimes the opposite is what resonates with others. A great sales course will teach you the advanced communication skills you need to connect with potential customers.
5. They Don’t Have a Plan to Succeed
You’ve heard of a strategic plan, business plan, marketing plans, and financial plans. Without plans, your chances of success as an entrepreneur will dramatically decline. If you don’t have a plan, how do you know where you are going? If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?
A successful entrepreneur will start with a vision for the future. A vision is the equivalent of a strategic plan, where you see yourself and your business in 5-10 years’ time. Without a vision or strategic plan, how do you know what goals to set that will move you in the direction of where you want to be? How will you know where to put your time and allocate precious resources? How do you know what skill sets you need to develop or who to hire?
If you only develop an annual business plan, where you highlight your goals and objectives, what happens at the end of the year. Unless you have a vision for the future, you could be setting the same goals as last year or the year before without a greater purpose. Goals in isolation don’t work.
6. They Fall Into the Procrastination Trap
Creating a vision, defining your values, and crafting SMARTER goals is critical to success. A big mistake many entrepreneurs make is they fall into the procrastination trap. They are great at coming up with their vision, values, and goals; however, implementation is another story. They fail to follow through, and all their efforts end up on a heap of unrealized dreams.
A key component of succeeding as an entrepreneur is self-management. This is a core competency all successful entrepreneurs have in common; they don’t procrastinate. They make good choices, take action daily and execute their plans.
There are many reasons for procrastination. Fear is a big one. Fear of Failure. Fear of rejection and fear of success. Yes, fear of success. This is why a business coach, life coach, or mentor is worth their weight in gold because they know how to keep your entrepreneurial dreams alive by keeping you accountable.
7. They Try to do Everything Themselves
Successful entrepreneurs don’t do everything themselves. They hire others to do the tasks they either don’t want to do or don’t have the skill sets to do. By trying to be everything to everyone and do everything yourself, you risk burnout before you even get started. No one entrepreneur is so skilled that they are a financial genius, planning guru, marketing wizard, human resources mastermind and sell their products and services with a 120% success rate. It takes a team to succeed.
If you are underfunded and lack the capital to get your business off the ground, yes, in the beginning, you might need to do a lot yourself to save money. If you want to fast-track your entrepreneurial success, outsource whatever you can in the beginning to experts in their field except for one thing, do not initially outsource your sales.
8. The Aren’t Proud To Sell Themselves or Their Services
No one you hire will be as passionate about your business as you. No matter how uncomfortable you might feel about the thought of selling, no one can network or sell your products or services better than you. This is the one skill you need to step outside your comfort zone and learn. While this might not be what you want to do long term, unless you are prepared to pay megabucks to a top-notched salesperson, you are it. You are the designated salesperson when first starting out.
The risk of hiring a dedicated salesperson is that they are the ones who form the relationship with customers, not you. When they leave, chances are they take your customers with them.
Fear is what stops you from wanting to learn how to sell your products or services. The second thing that stops you is the perception that all salespeople are sleazy. As harsh as this sounds, get over yourself. Without sales, you have no business!
If you aren’t proud to sell your products or services, why should you expect anyone else to!
9. They Don’t Think Like a Customer
Yes, you need to have a passion for becoming an entrepreneur and have to be in love with your product, service, or idea, but what about the poor customer? You pay megabucks for a fancy website your customers don’t respond to because the website content is written from your perspective and not the customer’s point of view.
Your product or services only account for 10% of your success, 90% of your success as an entrepreneur comes down to sales and marketing. Apart from learning sales skills yourself, if you aren’t a marketing expert, employ someone who is. It doesn’t matter how wonderful you think your product or services are if your potential customers don’t hear about you. If they don’t hear about you, how can they buy from you.
It’s critical you get inside your customer’s heads and understand their path to purchase. Find out what their hopes, fears, desires, and problems they have and how your products or services take away those fears, resolve those problems and fulfill their needs, hopes and desires. Learn how to transmit your love and passion for your business into the heart, soul, and mind of your customers.
On a Final Note
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Learning to lead, learning to run a business is no easy task. It takes time and education to transform yourself into the leader you want to be. It all starts with learning how to hire and manage people. It is your communication and people skills that separate the wheat from the chaff.
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