Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Dreams don’t go very far, though. Being an entrepreneur is hard. Really hard. You must have the ability to roll with the inevitable punches, or you’ll get knocked out.
There are many reasons why entrepreneurs fail. Perhaps you don’t possess the six essential traits necessary for success, or maybe you have fallen prey to the common mistakes that make living the life of an entrepreneur a complete nightmare.
You must assume that you will make mistakes along your entrepreneurial journey. Everyone does. It’s important to know that many are avoidable, especially these. Here is a list of eight common mistakes. Burn them into your subconscious. That way you can take steps to avoid them when taking your entrepreneurial leap.
1. Not Having a Vision
It is vital to have a crystal-clear vision of where your company is going and to share it with your people often, so that they see the vision as clearly as you do.
2. Hiring the Wrong People
When hiring anyone, you must confirm that they have your company’s core values. Hire slowly. If, unfortunately, you hire the wrong person, you have to be willing to fire quickly. Whenever you hire, always think long term. Don’t hire to solve a short-term problem.
3. Not Spending Time with Your People
It is critical that you stay in sync with your people. This means meeting with them weekly, quarterly, and annually. Keep them in the loop about everything that’s going on. Give them feedback on how they’re doing, and make sure they know they can give you feedback on how you’re doing as well. Solve interpersonal issues quickly, so everyone is rowing in the same direction.
4. Not Knowing Who Your Customer Is
As early in the process of taking your entrepreneurial leap as possible, you should determine the exact demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer. This is knowing exactly who they are, where they are, and what they are. You will then avoid taking a buckshot approach to marketing and falling into the trap of trying to please everyone. You want to make sure you clearly know your customer so that you can speak their language in all of your marketing and sales efforts.
5. Not Charging Enough
It is extremely common for entrepreneurs not to charge enough for their product or service. Most of the time, what lies at the root of this is fear. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve urged clients to raise their fees. Whenever they do, they never skip a beat. Dan Sullivan has a great rule of thumb when choosing your pricing. He suggests that you think about the number that scares you and then add 20 percent.
6. Not Staying True to Your Core
Every business has a core focus. Your job is to clearly figure out what yours is as soon as possible. Your business’s core is a combination of what you are great at doing and what you are absolutely passionate about. Your job is to make sure that every system, person, and process in your business are designed and aligned to drive that core focus with absolute consistency. And to not get distracted by all the shiny stuff that could inevitably pull you away from your core, diluting focus and creating chaos and complexity.
7. Not Knowing Your Numbers
One of the most important things you, as an entrepreneur, need to do is make sure you’re generating a profit as soon as possible. To do so, you must have a pulse on your numbers. A few simple disciplines for achieving this are for you to: (1) review your financials every month; (2) manage a monthly expense budget; and (3) track the five to fifteen most critical numbers for your business every week (e.g., visitors, followers, leads, appointments, proposals, sales, revenue, errors, customer satisfaction, cash balance, accounts payable, accounts receivable). The numbers and data never lie.
8. Not Crystallizing Roles and Responsibilities
To avoid people tripping over each other and creating chaos, each one of your people—including yourself—must know exactly what they are accountable for. That means having a coherent organization chart in place (even if you only have one employee), so that the right hand always knows what the left hand is doing. You must make it abundantly clear to each of your people exactly what you expect of them.
Take a few minutes right now and think about your three biggest takeaways or AHA’s.
In Entrepreneurial Leap we outline the 9 stages of building your business. Order a copy of the book to learn how to implement those stages and avoid these eight common mistakes.