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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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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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