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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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Published on August 4, 2020

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape, get an annuity, or take control of your finances, but you failed to act. When you approach your goals with a care-free and nonchalant attitude, you’re less likely to achieve them.

You should have a strategic goal setting method in place, and learning how to set smart goals is imperative in this case. The method is time-tested and purposeful, meaning it can help you achieve your goals now.

To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved many of their goals, you must be prepared to do what these people have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

What Is the SMART Model for Setting Goals?

SMART goal setting is a goal-setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym for goal setting.

It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

What does the goal setting acronym SMART stand for?

  • S—Specific
  • M—Measurable
  • A—Achievable
  • R—Realistic/Relevant
  • T—Time-bound

Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting, you will be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

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It is important to extend the inquiry by asking: How many times have you said you’ll do “X,” but failed to do so?

We all have goals, and we all have 24 hours each day at our disposal. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating, some find it difficult to do so.

For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals, they have simply found an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

How Smart Goal Setting Makes a Lasting Impact

Smart goal setting examples can be found all around you. Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100,000 – $200,000 in South Carolina[1].

Through SMART goal setting, Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt, even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared so.

SMART goal setting can make a lasting impact in your life in several ways.

Make Your Goal Clearer

When you use the SMART criteria to set goals, it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

By using SMART goal setting, you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

Motivate You Into Acting on Your Goals

When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup, and were able to make the book a best seller after some months[2]. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

In order not to be overwhelmed, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

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What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand, you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because, whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged.

Therefore, it is better to stick to lead measures.

Help You Save Time

You can achieve more when you use SMART model goal setting.

To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

Improve Your Self-Discipline

Self-improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

How to Set SMART Goals

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    To make your SMART goals work, use the following tips:

    Specific

    Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they have been achieved, you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

    For example, “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that, you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

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    When you are specific on your goal, it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

    Measurable

    Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

    A goal like this is not measurable: “I want to make millions of dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each.”

    Also, using our SMART goal setting examples while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

    Achievable

    How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

    You would only be setting yourself up for failure if you sets goals that are not reasonable.

    A goal like this is highly unrealistic and, therefore, not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months,” especially since the elections will be coming up in three years.

    Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualize this goal.

    It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short, it is rare that such goal will be completed.

    Thus, using our previous example, if you write “I want to make one million dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

    This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books, whether e-copy or in print.

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    Realistic/Relevant

    Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need think about how realistic and relevant it is.

    Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved. If your goal is relevant, it fits into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

    Time-Bound

    Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

    The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

    “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time-bound goal.

    Remember that some goals are short-term while some are long-term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clear and realistic strategy when SMART goal planning.

    Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds, on paper, or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

    The Bottom Line

    What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

    It is not enough to have a goal. It is not enough to put it down in writing. It is important to have a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that point you in the right direction. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

    After writing down your goals, you will have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

    When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that, in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals, remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

    Do not bother yourself with the one-year, three-year, five-year or ten-year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

    More on the SMART Model for Setting Goals

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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