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13 of the Most Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Starting A Business

13 of the Most Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Starting A Business
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Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs commit mistakes, most of which they don’t want to talk about. But imagine the many pitfalls entrepreneurs can help others avoid when they share the mistakes they have made to warn others.

Most, if not all, entrepreneurs have no problem with goal setting or in having a clear vision. Along the way, however, they fail to anticipate or even realize that the road is filled with bumps and humps that can make even the seasoned entrepreneur fall if they are not careful.

He feels that it is not fair for entrepreneurs to commit the same mistakes over and over again simply because no one dared to talk about them.

Below are some of the most common mistakes most start-ups commit. By recognizing what they are, you can skirt around them and avoid downtime.

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1. Picking the wrong partner

Having business partners is common and also advisable in the world of business. But it is quite tricky to pick the business partner who is a good fit for you and your business. Just because someone is your friend or someone is a family member, doesn’t mean they are necessarily the right business partner for you.

How do you even know that you picked the right business partner?

The primary step in choosing the right business partner is to understand that business partnership is like a marriage. That means that there will be misunderstandings and fights, but they are necessary. However, you need to realize that misunderstandings should be met logically. Therefore, it is essential that you set the right expectations on Day 1, so that both of you know what to do.

2. Lacking focus

If you lack focus, you won’t just be harming your business but your relationships with your clients and partner as well. However, the challenge of not being able to find focus is real for some people, and the advice that “you have to find your niche” can sometimes seem implausible.

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Instead of feeling bad about lack of focus, you can turn your lack of focus into an advantage. Think about Richard Branson and all the diverse products he has to offer. If someone is to judge Branson negatively for a lack of focus, that person can be seen as a fool just by looking at Branson and all he has achieved through diversification. Thus, if you are having a hard time focusing or finding your niche, try adopting a diversified business model.

3. Too much planning

Lack of planning is a formula for failure, but too much planning can also lead you to the same path. Too many plans can in fact weigh you down. Instead, a good plan is always something that leads to a decision. So how do you make a plan that leads to clear decisions? Focus on a few key themes instead of addressing all your potential problems immediately. Strengthen what areas are already bringing revenue to the company before moving onto minor issues.

4. Choosing the wrong investor

Just as it is crucial to find the right partner, so it is when finding the right investor. Just because someone has deep pockets doesn’t guarantee that they are the right fit for you. So how do you find the right investor for you? It all starts by understanding the investment options you have. Study all the options you have before choosing one. Second, don’t be afraid to ask what the investor can provide for you. This will also determine how involved your investor will be in the business or project. Lastly, make sure that your pitch will clearly articulate your vision and business plan.

5. Not spending on marketing

So you want your business to grow and become successful, but you don’t want to invest in marketing? Then, good luck if you want to make it past the first month. It is a no-brainer to invest at least to some degree in marketing your business.

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6. Doing everything yourself

Research has already found evidence that multitasking can harm your brain and affect your productivity. Multitasking will not make your company grow quickly or increase your profits. In fact, it can do the opposite because you will wear yourself down by wearing too many different hats at the same time.

7. Hiring too quickly

While it is not advisable to do everything by yourself, hiring too soon can also spell out disaster for your business. So when is the right time to hire? One of the best ways to determine that is to look at the growth of your business. Just because you experience a sudden growth rush doesn’t mean you need to hire right away. Make sure that the increased workload will be for a long time before you start hiring.

8. Ignoring the finances

Business and finance go together. No business owner, from small to big-sized companies, in their right mind ignores this factor. Checking the financial statements for your business will help you know where it stands. It helps you evaluate which areas gobble up much of your cash and which areas you need to cut spending on.

9. Neglected company branding

Your brand reflects your consistency and when you are inconsistent, people lose their trust in you. How do you destroy your brand? Ignoring your customers, not listening to criticisms and feedback, and refusing to change are surefire ways to destroy your brand.

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10. Not listening to customers

Product reviews and feedback aren’t provided without a reason. They help you gauge which approaches work best with your customers and which don’t. Paying attention to these helps you improve your business and avoid approaches which do not work well with your customers. When your customers see that you care about what they have to say, you will be able to earn their loyalty. More so, they will become your most effective marketers.

11. Trying to be perfect

Everybody is familiar with the quote which says that nobody is perfect; this is true. Each one of us has flaws, so do businesses; thus, it is natural to make mistakes. It is a fact of life that mistakes are inevitable. When this happens, get up and find out what’s wrong, re-strategize, and start all over again. What’s important is to not keep committing the same mistakes.

12. Missing employee accountability

Effective leaders and successful businesses are accountable. When there’s no accountability, there is no standard to measure employee performance. As a result, good employees are not recognized and bad employees are not penalized. In the end, the good employees are frustrated and leave the company filled with bad employees. What happens next is not difficult to guess.

13. Waiting too long to launch

It is easy for the scope of your project to get out of hand. However, the product you have does not need to be perfect at first, and the additional buttons and features you painstakingly add are not necessarily fundamental. When you get your product out there, you can get feedback easily and you can modify your product/service along the way. Waiting too long can contribute to a loss of momentum.

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Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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