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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

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.

Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com

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Published on December 17, 2018

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.

Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:

How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?

You know it already; ask great questions!

The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement.[1] As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?

Ask great questions, of course.

Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:

1. “What are your career goals?”

Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”

This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.

Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.

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This does two things:

  1. It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
  2. It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.

With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.

2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”

It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.

Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.

3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”

The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.

As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.

4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”

Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.

Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.

Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.

5. “How did you learn about this position?”

Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.

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This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.

6. “Why are you interested in this position?”

Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.

What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.

7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”

After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.

For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.

While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.

8. “What do you consider your weakness?”

Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?

Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.

Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.

There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.

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Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.

9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”

Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.

Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.

Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.

10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”

This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.

As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.

11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”

Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.

Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.

12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”

Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce,[2] about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.

The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.

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The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.

13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”

Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.

In a study of nearly 17,000 employees,[3] it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.

14. “What other questions do you have for me?”

Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.

The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.

15. “Tell me about yourself”

If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.

Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.

It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.

The Bottom Line

Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.

While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.

More Resources About Job Interview

Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com

Reference

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