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20 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes To Avoid

20 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes To Avoid

Building a business from scratch is definitely not an easy task. As an entrepreneur, you will make a lot of mistakes and face failures along the way — not a big deal as long as you are ready to learn from your mistakes and try to avoid them in the future. That’s how most entrepreneurs learn and grow. But once you are in the business game, you can’t afford to make blunders constantly. You have to play real smart to win a competitive edge over others and for that you must be aware of some fatal entrepreneurial mistakes that can ruin your business!

1. Trying To Be A Know-It-All

Never play a know-it-all, especially if you have just stepped into the business world. Why? Simply because you are not! Running a business is all about learning and gaining knowledge. It’s really not possible to keep up with the dynamically evolving market, if you don’t try to learn. So whether you have experience of doing business or you are a startup, make the most of every opportunity that helps you broaden your vision.

2. Starting The Business Without Infrastructure

It’s true that now you can start your own business without any setup — but definitely not without an infrastructure. Planning is probably the most important aspect that lays a strong foundation for your business to grow — and if you are not focusing on the infrastructure if your business, you are making a terrible mistake!

3. Choosing The Wrong Partner

First of all you don’t necessarily need a co-founder, if you are starting your business on a small scale. With strategic planning and organization, you can handle your business yourself too. But if you think that its too big of a responsibility for you to handle alone and you need a business partner, then be really careful in picking the co-founder. Make sure that the co-founder is mentally compatible with you — you need someone intelligent to make important decisions, so choose someone who can compliment your entrepreneurial skills and support your ideas.

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4. Focusing On Growth Only

Your business can’t grow, if your strategies are not dynamic. As an entrepreneur, you have to think in multiple directions while making decisions. If you are focusing on business growth only, and not on the quality of services, it will impact your business eventually. Achieving a balance between growth and quality is the key to success in business.

5. Expecting Customers To Spot You

Do you really expect customers to find and follow you when the market is already buzzing with so many entrepreneurs offering promising services? Definitely not! If you want your customer base to expand, you will have to be where your customers are.

6. Underestimating The Importance Of Technology

Regardless of the nature of your business, you must be technology savvy if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. That’s because today technology is everywhere, and you can’t keep up with the competition if you don’t make the most of technology.

7. Obsessing Over Competition

Acquiring success as an entrepreneur is not just about worrying about the stiff competition in the market. Of course it matters, but you have to focus in other important aspects too, like self-evaluation and understanding the mindset of customers. As Mark Cuban once said, “Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.”

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8. Financial Mismanagement

If you are not managing your finances, your business can crash down like a house of cards. You have to spend really wisely — hiring a financial advisor can be really helpful in avoiding financial blunders.

9. Expanding Without Planning

Expanding the business without any planning is another common mistake entrepreneurs often make. The “Jack of all, Master of none” policy never works in business. Expand your business only when you are financially stable and have a strategic plan.

10. Not Hiring Competent Employees

Your success heavily depends on the competence of your employees. So put in your best efforts to pick the best fit for your business.

11. Ignoring Customer’s Response

One way to evaluate your business is asking customers to give feedback. Often entrepreneurs don’t understand the impotence of customer’s response, but it can really help you spot your weaknesses and understand what customers expect from you.

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12. Missing Viable Investment Opportunities

Entrepreneurs who wait for the “right time” to invest don’t stay long in the business game. Opportunities will not knock on your door — you will have to spot them and make the most of all viable opportunities.

13. Denying Professional Help

If you need help, admit it! Learning is an ongoing process and there is nothing bad in seeking professional help. Entrepreneurs,who deny help and try to resolve issues on their own end up making blunders.

14. Not Keeping Up With Market Trends

You don’t want to be left out, do you? The marketing is changing dynamically and you can only keep up with if you stay updated about current trends. Elon Musk offers this great advice: “Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and keep questioning yourself.”

15. Investing Too Much On Workplace Setup

Invest wisely: wasting your capital on workplace setup when you don’t even need it, can affect your bottom line negatively.

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16. Not Spotting Target Audience

You must know your target audience to reach them. You can’t communicate and form a bond with your customers unless you understand their mindset and for that you need to know who your target audience is.

17. Poor Marketing

Your marketing strategy should not be for a specific group of customers. Successful entrepreneurs focus on dynamic marketing strategies that address all types of customers.

18. Choosing The Wrong Platform

Choose the platform that’s most engaging when launching your products. For example, you can choose social media to market your products because almost everybody is active in social media these days.

19. Being Too Mainstream 

Be innovative! Implementing the same ideas that everyone else is using will not help you stand out of crowd.

20. Not Working On Entrepreneur Skills

Last but not least, keep striving for improvement. Never be satisfied with what you are today — you always have some room for improvement. Successful entrepreneurs observe their flaws and work on them. Your failures can lead you to the success you have always dreamt of, if you take them as lessons and now that you are familiar with common mistakes that entrepreneurs often overlook, try to avoid them!

Featured photo credit: RYAN MCGUIRE via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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