Are You Making These Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes?

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common entrepreneurial mistakes

Today, the world seems to be filled with bright, creative people who want to make a name for themselves. If you are ready to branch out as an entrepreneur to bring your great idea to light, start on the right foot by learning from those who have gone before you.

Below are common entrepreneurial mistakes, and you can avoid them with a little education before you begin.

Mistake 1 – Going with Your Gut Feeling Alone

Most entrepreneurs start with a great idea and a good “gut feeling” about where their idea will go. But if that’s all you have, you are destined to fail. You need to take that idea and seek validation. And make sure other people also agree that it’s a great idea.

Now, when seeking validation, don’t go to your friends or family. They are likely to agree with your idea and offer their support because they care about you. Instead, seek out the ideas of people in your industry. If you can get the ear of experts, ask them about your idea. Talk to start-up experts and see what they think of your idea.

Take some time to test the idea. Find out who your target market is, then ask them if they like the idea, and what you could improve. If you are offering a product, make a prototype and give it to your target market. Use the responses you get to adapt and adjust your idea. This will help you launch on more than just a “gut feeling.”

Keep in mind that your research and validation may bring you thoughts and feedback you did not anticipate. Your brilliant idea may need quite a bit of work to be marketable. Resist the effort to give up on your idea. Learn how to adjust and recalculate as you figure out the best way to offer your idea to your market.

Mistake 2 – Failing to Market

“If you build it, they will come” is a great tagline for a sports movie – but it doesn’t work in the world of business.

You can’t simply develop your idea and assume it will sell itself, no matter how brilliant the idea is. You must pay attention to marketing, both online off, to bring your idea to fruition.

One of the reasons entrepreneurs ignore marketing is the cost. Yet the Internet makes it possible to market with minimal cost. Using free or low-cost marketing tools, like search engine optimization or pay per click advertising, you can make your product visible without the huge investment of traditional advertising venues.

Mistake 3 – Ignoring Your Customers

Do you know what you need to succeed as an entrepreneur? Your great idea is just the starting point.

You also need customers who want what you have to offer and are willing to pay for it. No matter how great your idea is, if you don’t treat those customer well, you will not be able to succeed.

Take the time to listen to your customers, both before you launch and also after your product hits the shelves. Find out what your customers need from you, then provide it for them. Meet and exceed their expectations every single time, and your customers will start to reproduce themselves. You need your customers, so do everything in your power to keep them happy.

Mistake 4 – Lacking Focus

Your creative mind can be one of your biggest downfalls if you can’t learn to focus it. Many entrepreneurs are notorious for chasing one big idea after the next, and never actually bringing one to life.

How can you achieve the right level of focus?

First, know what your idea and goals are. If you have these clearly defined, then you can evaluate all other ideas that come your way in light of your primary goals. If the idea does not help you reach a goal that is on your list, then it needs to be shelved or discarded altogether.

Mistake 5 – Failing to Hire Help

Entrepreneurs are famously independent, but if your idea takes off, you aren’t going to be able to handle it all on your own. After all, you have a limited set of talents, and many of those talents are in your vision. You need to have a team on your side that you can trust to help you bring your vision to reality.

How can you find this type of help?

Talk about your vision wherever you go, and find people who have a similar vision. When you are considering hiring someone, make the choice carefully. First, look for people who believe in your idea. Next, look for people who have a different set of skills than you do. This will help you achieve balance as you seek to fulfill your idea and bring it to the public.

Remember, for every entrepreneur who succeeds, there are dozens of others who do not. Make sure you are poised for success by avoiding these common entrepreneurial mistakes and pitfalls.

Frustrated Photo via Shutterstock

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Personal Branding Blog The Personal Branding Blog is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals build a powerful brand to remain competitive in the job market.

10 Reactions
  1. Have to admit that I’m partially guilty on a couple of these items and I’m working on fixing it. Good reminder.

  2. I have seen so many businesses commit these mistakes. The customer part is the most common. Sure, they want to provide good services but there are just some owner who couldn’t care less about their customers as long as they are making money. Not a good attitude if you are planning to be in the business in the long run.

  3. Great stuff. I like the going with your gut the most. How do you grow a business like that? Do you tell your employees to go with you gut or do you train them?
    I think being an entrepreneurs is learning from mistakes and reduce the number of mistakes as a percentage of your actions.

  4. AJ & Serenity Services

    I know my partner and I have been guilty of making a few of these mistakes in the past. It certainly did not take me long to realize that after you build something (online or offline), you cannot assume that people will automatically come. Whether you have a new online store or coffee shop, you have to take the time to get your name out there.

  5. I have done these mistakes and I wrote about it several years ago, at the Open Forum (powered by American Express).

  6. Dr Sheila Mansell, ceo Carevine

    As a psychologist and tech entrepreneur this post rings very true. I should like to add a note about this process. Becoming an entrepreneur will teach you many things you didn’t think you needed to learn about people or human nature.
    Pay attention to the details and really pay attention to people’s behaviours. Specifically, if a lot of people really like your idea it will attract some people who will be very interested in telling you exactly what you want to hear for their own motivations. Attend to inconsistencies they are always important. Our gut is often to ignore incconsistencies because they can be uncomfortable and distracting.
    In these matters it is short term agony vs long term agaony.

  7. Numbers two and four are the ones I struggle with the most. Two is not so much a mistake for me though, but is down to the fact that I don’t like marketing. So in that sense, perhaps no. 5 is more applicable to me.

  8. These mistakes can’t be denied when running a business. The best part in it is you recognize it and you correct so in the future you’re business can prevent these mistakes from happening.

  9. For me, my biggest mistake is failing to hire help. I just find it difficult to let go. My business is my baby and I find it difficult to think that anyone else could understand it’s beauty more than me.