Being an entrepreneur takes skill and focus, as well as a good sense of timing. Without skill, you’re not offering the market anything it will value. Without focus, the host of options and paths forward will send you in dozens of directions, wasting time and resources on projects that could have worked — if they were the only thing on your plate. And steering your company on a path of growth and increased revenue takes a keen eye, sage advice and a good sense of upcoming challenges.
Of course, no matter how skilled or intuitive you are, mistakes will happen, especially when you are first starting out. New entrepreneurs have to break ground on processes that work for their organization, as well as establish budgets and juggle tight deadlines. But just because you’re figuring out what works well for you doesn’t mean that you can’t heed the warnings of others who have tread similar ground.
To help you navigate your way, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the biggest mistakesthey’ve made throughout their career and why they can damage your business, if not handled correctly.
Not always challenging myself, and letting negative things get to me — those are some of my biggest mistakes. Everyone has personal problems, but you need to remember to never let them get to you. Or they will eat you alive. – Dimitrios Pantzos, Organika Kitchen LLC
2. Not Talking To Customers
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is forgetting to talk to customers. Sometimes, you want a sale or deal so badly, you forgot what’s really important. What is your customers’ pain point? What is your edge in solving that pain point for the customer? If you can answer those two questions clearly, you will avoid mistakes in strategic and product direction. – Marlene Jia, Metamaven
3. Underestimating Time
When I first decided to be an entrepreneur, I got sucked into the “busyness” trap of business, the trap that says, “Go! Go! Hurry! Hurry!” The problem with that is that while you might be busy, you have no time. Good ideas (which save time) require time. Creativity requires time. Well-executed projects require time. – Rob Brose, Apollo After School
4. Failing To Document Your Processes
As you begin to scale or grow, you need to begin to systemize your business so your hypothetical “knees” don’t give out. You can’t carry everything yourself. Once you find something that works, document it and pass it along, so you can focus on the vision of the company. Captains don’t steer ships and tune the engines — captains get the boat across the sea. – Anthony Paluzzi, Palo Media Group LLC
5. Working In The Business
Not working on the business, but working in it — that is the biggest mistake I’ve made as an entrepreneur. Day-to-day activities drain your energy and stop you from focusing on achieving your company goals. Start building a team you can trust and delegate. Trusting the people you work with is key to ensuring success. – Tosho Trajanov, Adeva
6. Seeking Venture Capital
Thinking you’re ready or appropriate for VC money when you’re not. Most businesses aren’t good fits for venture capitalists. Finding a fit when fundraising is crucial, and if funding from a small handful of angel investors is sufficient, it’s probably a more appropriate and, in the long run, a better route to take. – Jacob Drucker, Supply Clinic
7. Failing To Delegate Early Enough
The biggest mistake I made was not delegating early enough. I was trapped in my business and wasn’t working on it. Delegating can start simple. You can hire a virtual assistant for a few hundred dollars per month. Get good at managing people and trusting them, and then create or update systems when you don’t get the expected result. – Michael Fellows, Broadway Lab, Inc.
8. Not Following Your Instincts
One of the biggest mistakes for me is that sometimes a deal looks too good to be true, even though your instinct tells you otherwise. Usually, after you do your due diligence and your instinct still tells you otherwise, it is very wise to follow it. The unseen consequences are greater. – Julian Montoya, JM11 Investments, LLC
9. Not Researching Potential Investors
Treating potential investors as something other than a future potential customer is a mistake. Any investor is effectively a customer of yours and the product they are buying is a stake in your company. You should treat them as such. Do proper customer discovery and spend the time to understand what they are looking for and, if you’re interested in them, what you need to do to create a fit. – Sasha Kucharczyk, Preteckt
10. Getting Emotionally Attached
Mistakes are inevitable, but the most important thing is to learn from these mistakes to mitigate the negative repercussions on your business. My best advice is to avoid getting emotionally attached to your business. Emotions cloud our logic and sometimes cause us to make flawed decisions. Remove emotions from the equation, maintain focus and think twice and thrice about each decision you make. – Mohammad Johmani, Eniverse
For More: Forbes.com
Article By: YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council)