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

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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