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20 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes To Avoid

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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.

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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 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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