Want to start a business in today’s world? There are many articles and books written about successful entrepreneurs. These roadmaps can help define the steps we should take as we strive for success in the businesses we start today.
But for every successful entrepreneur who we celebrate in today’s business world, there are untold numbers who have tried and failed to bring to market the idea of their dreams.
What is the difference? What makes some successful while others fade away?
While there isn’t a true recipe for success, there are clues that can give you a better than average chance of success. In many cases, simply knowing what mistakes have held others back can increase your chances of triumph.
We’re in a world that solves problems in a two-hour time slot. We’ve grown up with the expectation that if we want something, we want it now. But in the real world, business will never grow as fast as we’d like it to.
If you have an idea, it’s important to work on it a little every day. Do things that will make a difference in the long run. But don’t forget that success takes time. Every “overnight” success story will tell you that it took years to build up the ability to have success come so quickly. Develop patience early in the game and concentrate instead on making headway every day.
Hiring The Wrong People
It takes careful analyzation to determine who can most help you with your next steps. And as a startup, it’s often difficult to tell who would offer the greatest reward. In many cases, you can’t afford the employees that would offer the most benefits, and if you higher the best early on, it can impede on your ability to grow without working capital.
Hiring the wrong people who don’t understand your vision or have the capability to help you move forward can impose the task of having to let people go down the road. Taking time to map out your needs and finding ways to gain the most qualified candidate for the position can help you achieve results twice as fast.
With most startups, every day brings something new. That means one day you might be dealing with management issues, the next day production issues. And in many cases, you have little experience in any of the things that come across your desk. It’s a time of trial and error. It’s a time of failing and succeeding. And it’s also a time that can bring about frustration like never before.
Be willing to ask for help as you need it. Look for advice in the areas you need it most. And realize that no matter what is happening today, making a choice is what moves you forward. It’s easier to correct, in most cases, than it is to stand idly by and not move to the next level. Realize that frustration will occur no matter what crosses your desk, and make your decision in the best way possible before moving on.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing everything yourself. And with so much content out in the world, it’s easy to find a step-by-step plan that shows you the way.
But we all have 24 hours in the day. And if you spend time on things you aren’t good at, it makes you too busy to do the things that truly need to get done. Even when it seems easier to do things yourself, if they take you away from bigger and better things, find a way to let others do them for you instead.
Yes, you can build a website yourself, for instance, using a templated system. But will that give you the customized features your business would truly benefit from? Will that give you the expertise to learn where you can make the most difference with your customer base? Or how it impacts your sales overall? By simply releasing pieces where you aren’t the expert, you can make your business grow faster, better, and more successful in a shorter period of time.
Forgetting About The Customer
It’s easy to get locked into all the things that don’t matter to your bottom line. Yet your customer only cares about one thing: what you can do for them. Customers are often willing to overlook less-than-perfect branding or a look that isn’t at one hundred percent. Customers want results. They want to know you can provide them with the things that matter most.
That delivery process is in your message. It’s important to understand where your customer is, what they need, and showing them that you are the one to deliver the results. Your customer is the reason you are in business. And as long as every decision you make impacts the way you service your customer, the results will follow.
Throwing Money At The Wrong Things
Business owners often get razor focused on the wrong things. They demand finesse in one area while letting a bigger, more important area of the business fall to the side. What good is a beautiful package if you don’t have a way to sell to your customers?
In some cases, it may require bringing on an investor to have the cash reserves necessary to keep up with business tasks. But even then, remember that all money is not equal. It all comes down to vision – what do you see the business doing in the future? Are you striving for things that will make your business more effective, more efficient? Do you invest in things that will help you achieve your goals over time? Even if you make mistakes along the way, keeping your long-term vision in mind can help you choose the most important things to do every day.
Blindly Following Advice
Startup founders have to quickly learn to be a jack of all trades. That means working at things and appearing to have expert knowledge in areas you may never have worked in before. It’s easy to rely on other people that are “in the business” and have a track record in the area of concern.
But advice, while frequently invaluable, is not always 100 percent accurate. Advice solely depends on the goals at hand. What worked for one company won’t necessarily work for another. Become your own best advisor. Trust the people who know your goals inside and out as well as you do. With others, listen and learn, then use their advice to do things your way.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made with your startup?