If you’re an entrepreneur, you know that mistakes are bound to happen. It’s all part of building a business and becoming a better entrepreneur. Mistakes should be viewed as learning opportunities so that you don’t repeat them.
Some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make are:
• Working way too hard—Yes, if you’re starting your own business, you aren’t going to be working 9-5 at the beginning. And yes, being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a job. However, that doesn’t mean you need to go all out every second you’re awake. If you work too hard, you’re going to burn yourself out. It might be a month from now or a year from now, but it will happen sooner or later.
Entrepreneurs need to give themselves a break every once in a while. Have a personal life, and keep it separate from your work. This lets you get away from all the stress and pressures of building and running your own business.
• Not setting aside time to promote the business—One of the biggest mistakes I made early on while growing my copywriting business was not devoting time each day to marketing my services. See, I was so preoccupied with doing work for clients that I took my eye off the bigger picture. You need to always be looking to the future to make certain your business continues to grow and that you have clients who need your services down the road.
I recommend spending about 10-20% of the time you work on marketing your business. This helps ensure you’ll always have business, so you can avoid those deadly lulls where cash isn’t coming in.
• Not having a business plan—Too many entrepreneurs take the “fly by the seat of my pants” approach to running their business. Nothing could be more dangerous. If you want to be successful, you need to have a plan. Your business plan should include all the details about your business: what you do, who your target audience is, your goals, how you’re going to reach your goals, your finances, and more. You can find plenty of great books on writing effective business plans, or you could enlist the services of an expert.
And remember, a business plan isn’t just something you stuff away in a filing cabinet. It’s something that should dictate everything you do on behalf of your business.
• Not knowing when it’s time to get help—Sure, there are many tasks you’ll be able to handle yourself, but if you want to experience long-term success as an entrepreneur, you need to get help. This is especially true when it comes to all the legal matters surrounding your business. Don’t try to go it alone here. Seek professional help, or else the future of your business could be compromised.
As far as the actual tasks of running the business on a day to day basis, if you’re constantly swamped, it’s probably time to consider hiring an employee. I know it can be hard to give up control of your “baby”, but if you get quality help, you can focus on things that will actually help your business grow.
• Hiring the wrong people—As a general rule of thumb, it’s typically best not to mix friends with business. Too many entrepreneurs hire their friends rather than the person who’s most qualified for the position. This often leads to serious complications down the road, jeopardizing the business and the friendship.
Are you an entrepreneur? What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made? Share your experiences, and you just might help a fellow reader avoid making the same mistakes.