Five Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
By Jim Stovall
of the great American dream of many people is to own their own
business. What must people do to become a successful entrepreneur?
The answer is quite a challenge, people start and run
successful businesses doing everything you can imagine and some things
you cannot imagine.
as often happens, the best way to answer this question and the best
way to succeed, is simply to avoid failure.
Entrepreneurs fail for a number of reasons, and if these can be
avoided, success moves from possible to probable and becomes likely.
Entrepreneurs must examine the three “Ts” --
time, temperament, and talent.
You must honestly assess yourself or, better yet, have
friends, colleagues, and family members who know you best help
you. Some people who
have a 60-hour a week “day job” who coach the Little League
team and are on the PTA Board feel they have enough time to start
a new business. As
many ventures are begun part time, you must be realistic about how
much time you have to invest.
Our own temperament is difficult for us to evaluate
because, in our own mind, we always act logically and reasonably.
You must ask people with whom you have worked if you really
have the temperament to be in business for yourself. The
third “T” is talent. It
is very easy to underestimate the talent it takes to create a new
venture, because talented people by their very nature make
everything look easy. Michael
Jordan and Tiger Woods seem effortless when they are at their
best. But don’t
underestimate their level of talent.
Find your market niche.
The whole key to entrepreneurship is to find a need and
fill it. You must
assess if there is really a demand for your product or service.
You may love chocolate chip waffles or tofu bagels, but is
the world ready for these new products?
Never underestimate the importance and power of market
research. This must go
far beyond asking friends and relatives what they think of your
idea. Even people in a
blind survey are much more positive with their casual responses
than they would be if they’re spending real money.
The best market research goes beyond interest vs.
no-interest and delves into levels of commitment and willingness
to make a buying decision.
Make sure you have enough capital.
The cardinal sin in operating a business is to run out of
money. Money smoothes
the highway before you and helps you overcome mistakes.
If you don’t have enough operating capital, you may have
to do everything perfectly the first time.
This simply never works.
For example, if a person is totally blind and a huge
baseball fan, that person may believe he/she could get a hit off
of Roger Clemens if you would allow them as many strikes as they
the person will figure out the timing and pacing and actually get
a hit off of one of the greatest pitchers of our time.
Working capital gives you the same opportunity for
unlimited swings in the business arena.
Get out of the corporate mentality.
Many would-be entrepreneurs come out of mid-level corporate
America. They have had
tremendous advantages due to the resources of their employer.
These advantages will simply not be there in a startup
venture. In the
corporate world, your assistant may have an assistant, but in
Entrepreneurland, get ready to do it yourself.
Corporate mentality says, “Do your job.”
Entrepreneurial mentality says, “Do what needs to be
done.” There is a
Don’t underestimate the amount of work and
passion required. Starting
a business may be the hardest, most difficult, and most rewarding
thing you do. Many
sacrifices will have to be made -- particularly in the beginning.
If you don’t have the passion for your new venture, or if
you have grossly underestimated the work required, you’ll never
you can avoid these pitfalls and you have a product, service, or
concept that the marketplace wants, begin now and simply never quit.
If you’re not sure, enter into a time of study, planning, and
research. Eliminate as
many of the barriers as possible before you start.
Find mentors in your field of endeavor and in business in
general. These people can
save you a lot of time, effort, and money.
They may not be smarter than you are.
They may have simply already made the mistakes you’re getting
ready to make. Oftentimes
in business, we get frustrated and say, “If I had known then what I
know now….” Mentors and those who have gone before you know the
things you will wish you knew later.
Read other articles and learn more
about Jim Stovall.
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