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Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Makes and How to Prevent Them

Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Makes and How to Prevent Them

The road to owning your business is not an easy one; Anyone who has ever started and grown a company will tell you that it was hard. The journey begins with creating a product or service that your target market will want and buy. Then there is trying to scale your company into a business that will have a future for you and your family. Add to that the day-to-day activities and strategies that are involved in keeping the door open, and you will quickly realize that entrepreneurship takes a lot of work.

There are no absolute rules; you will not find a road map to guarantee success in business. But if you were to talk to a new or even an established entrepreneur, they will tell you one thing: you will make mistakes. The risk element associated with operating a business can lead to a lot of mishaps as you try to grow your company.

You will find that mistakes are common and often inevitable. They also play a role in producing a more attentive and better business owner. You can solve some wrong decisions quickly, but there are others that can cost you precious time and money. In fact, some mistakes can lead to the failure of your business.

Below we share suggestions that will help you prevent six common mistakes business owners make while starting and growing a business.

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Feedback is Good, but Beware

Doing business all by yourself is hard. So, do not be afraid to consult with business mentors and good friends. Feedback is exceptionally important to a new business – especially when the advice is coming from an experienced business owner who has been successful in the market or industry. Their valuable opinion can make a difference in your entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.

However, even well-intentioned business consultants can overwhelm and confuse entrepreneurs. A ton of advice can cause analysis paralysis. It is important to give yourself the time that is needed to make significant decisions without being rushed. However, don’t get caught in procrastination and lose out on an incredible business opportunity. So, surround yourself with individuals that will give you the support you need without pulling you in all different directions.

Get Your Customers’ Opinions

Despite your best plans, the products, and services that you create as an entrepreneur is for your clients. Accordingly, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a business owner is to ignore the feedback of your customers.

The opinion of your customers, especially in the beginning when you are defining your business offerings, provides an opportunity to fine-tune your product or service. Often what you think might be a big win may not resonate with your target audience. However, if your customers are telling you exactly what they want and your business is providing it, you could see your company flourish in the marketplace.

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A prudent entrepreneur should test a new product or service on a small group of potential customers to get feedback on how to go forward.

Look for Business Opportunities to Network

As an entrepreneur, you should understand that networking is more about who knows you than it is about who you know. Your calendar might include meetings from daybreak to sunset. However, just 30 minutes at a networking event can produce significant business opportunities that can make a difference.

Do not ignore networking events. Some entrepreneurs consider them to be a waste of time, especially when they don’t immediate generate a business deal. However, the key to successful networking is to maintain visibility. Attend relevant networking events, create and sustain a list of corporate contact, and add value to the experience. Remember networking is a two-way street.

You will find this to be uncomfortable at first, particularly for entrepreneurs that don’t consider themselves to be social butterflies. However, to promote your business, you should get out of the office and mingle with others.

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Be Focused at All Times

Like many other business owners, you have more ideas than you can execute. Don’t make the mistake of chasing every seemingly great idea while disregarding the core of your business. Instead keep a journal or folder and record all your thoughts and concepts. When time permits, you can go through your list and assess the ideas.

A lot of products and services with no real link can prove chaotic to the consumer. Delaying execution and going back to your plans when you are not too excited will allow you to make better decisions for your business.

Employ the Right People and Fire the Wrong Ones

Choices about who to hire and which positions to fill are few of the most difficult business decisions you must make as an entrepreneur. They also fall into the category of the most time-consuming considerations. Unless someone is the very best individual for the task, think twice about working with friends and members of your family. There are numerous stories of how personal relationships can create a challenging and toxic working environment.

Your staff is critical to the execution of your business plan. Hiring the wrong person, even if for the most minute role, can severely impact your company’s bottom line. Ensure that your employment process includes choosing the most qualified, capable individual with a strong work ethic. Think about hiring people whose strengths complement your weak points. If staff members are not carrying out responsibilities to your expectations, get them some training or let them go. Don’t make the mistake of making staffing decisions based on emotions.

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Respond Quickly

It is important to be accessible both to your staff and your customers. Make sure you can respond to voicemails and emails within 24-48 hours. If you are not the techie type or you are prone to forget, delegate this task to someone on your team. Your initial response does not need to be an action plan but can just be an acknowledgment of the message and an indication to respond in a timeframe.

There are many benefits to owning your own business, but no one can promise that it will be easy. You can choose to be the entrepreneur who will go out and make the mistakes and hopefully learn from them, or you can save yourself some headache and incorporate some of the suggestions above.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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