I would like to think that when I started out in business I had it all figured out. I can’t even begin to explain how far from the truth this was. Starting a business in isolation without partners, mentors, and coaches can be extremely difficult not to mention it carries a long and stiff learning curve. Being the researcher that I am, I wanted to “figure it out” all by myself which led to distractions, lost time, and lackluster energy (sidenote: I don’t have a lot of extra energy, I am a mother of 3, one of my kids is the energizer bunny in real life)
Averting risk altogether well that’s impossible, however the less risk we take the more opportunity we have to succeed and move our companies forward faster. Speed is imperative in business and learning from others can be an incredible accelerator when it comes to creating a business; with that being said, here are
5 Stupid Mistakes I Made When I First Started Out in Business and How to Avoid Them.
Build it and they will come – Let’s just say that quote is far more applicable to movie lines than it ever is in business. No matter your product or service offerings you have to engage customers, test the market, and gain critical feedback, especially in the startup world. One of the biggest mistakes I made was being overzealous and believing I knew what people wanted. After asking questions and taking polls I realized I had a ballpark idea but there was so much more to be done. This one is hard to swallow, the pride of ownership can cause you to lose sight of the real reason you are creating great things. Remember this platform is about the opportunity to enrich the lives of our customers, not to take credit for being a know it all.
2. Not knowing who my ideal customer is – When I first started consulting in business I really, really wanted to do it all. I had this deep desire to “help people” (don’t we all) but I had no clue who those people were. Needless to say I learned (the hard way) quickly who was a right fit for my offerings and services. It’s imperative that we understand who we are serving and why. When you get crystal clear about your client base you can increase the amount of people you serve with ease and create a larger impact. Clarity also eliminates feelings of guilt or disappointment about not being able to help everyone because, newsflash friend, you aren’t supposed to! Furthermore, the more precise you are with who you are to serve, the more paying customers you can attract. Marketing and sales efforts go into overdrive when you know where money should be directed this helps keep your marketing budget in tact.
3. Neglecting to invest in education, mentorship, and consulting – This one is so big, and I am in no way suggesting this because I work in the field, nope that’s not it at all. I can’t tell you how much time and energy I have saved by simply getting coaching and mentorship from experts paid and unpaid. The amount of opportunity we have in our present marketplace is unprecedented, but most people will miss it simply because they don’t want to invest in education. Remember my little piece about speed, well that is what mentorship does for you, it buys you time and accelerates your future. Ask any successful company owner and they will tell you they read, attend learning workshops, has a mentor or coach, attends conferences, and the list goes on. I told you early on I wanted to figure it out, well one thing I figured out is that I needed some help. I’ve heard it said and it has become a rule of thumb for me, invest 20% of your desired income into professional development.
4. Not truly understanding profit/loss/income statements – Let me be honest in saying I have never really been into numbers EXCEPT when I went into business for myself. Numbers are so important and knowing how you make money, who has to be paid, and where you profit makes a big difference in the long run. Many people assume that larger companies have this right until you see them closing their doors, cutting staff, scathing on quality, and using shortcuts. Long story short, what you make is not what you keep, money should be put back into the business, keeping overhead low and profits high is the key to expansion, there are still taxes to be paid and its up to you to make that happen, & salaries and contractors always come first in business. There’s a lot more to learn but the key here is to be in the know about your company finances and your financial future.
5. Neglecting to create systems – Business systems change the game hands down. When I first started out everything was manual and lacked flow. I spent more time reengaging in the same activity over and over again costing me valuable time and money. It wasn’t until I hired my first contractor that I realized I had no systems in place for how things are supposed to run. I had to create systems immediately to allow for an automated flow within the company. Systems grow your business, they eliminate the need for unnecessary work and create a documented process by which execution is possible repeatedly. The largest companies in the world are effective because they run on systems, when you have a problem within the company it typically lends itself to a systems error. Systems create value, execution, and profit.
Just a few silly mistakes I made that have cost me a ton…I can laugh now but in the midst of it all I was crying. I lost money, time and sleep when the truth is I could have avoided a lot of this had I been more open to mentorship and guidance.
If you are starting out in business and want to avert expensive risk, be sure to register for my free upcoming webinar 7 Simple Strategies to Launch, Promote, and Grow Your Business in 90 Days or Less, I will be sharing my 7 Step Launch Action Plan that gets you started faster and increases profits sooner! Details will emerge soon!