Being an aspiring or early entrepreneur can quickly become overwhelming for most of us.
There is simply so much to know about starting a new business that it is difficult to keep all the balls in the air.
Add to that the fact that the information you need is sometimes overflowing and at other times inaccessible, further complicates knowing exactly what to do next.
In 2020, 4.4 million new companies started operating around the world. Which is 26.9% higher than in 2019. (Oberlo) This boom in entrepreneurship is being driven by many factors, and it will be interesting to see if it is sustained over time.
But whether the number of small businesses continues to grow or declines, it is reasonable to expect the two decade long trend of 50% of new startup remaining in business beyond 5 years to continue.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that as an aspiring or early entrepreneur, your business decisions and actions count. As well as your ability to regroup and pivot when needed.
3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Need to Avoid.
Not Doing Enough Research.
Most aspiring and early entrepreneurs think they know their market very well.
And as a result, they either skip or rush through conducting market research and jump straight to developing products and services no one wants.
It is undeniable that the majority of new business ideas originate as “me-search”.
Meaning that most entrepreneurs create products or services they themselves wanted or needed, and subsequently decide to build a business around.
However, just because you had a personal need and perhaps validated your business idea with your close friends and family, doesn’t automatically translate to there being a large, sustainable demand in the market.
Building your business on solid research can save you a lot of time, money, energy and disappointment in the long run.
Resources to test your product and service ideas:
- Google – It is free. It is extensive. Use Google as your primary, initial research resource to help hone in on your ideal customer and to find out how to get started in your industry or niche.
- Social Media -With all the social media platforms out there, it is easier today than even five years ago to ask for and get input on new ideas. Everyone has an opinion these days, and soliciting feedback on your products and services is one way to use it to your advantage.
- Make a quick post on a couple of social media platforms
- Join a FaceBook or LinkedIn community for new entrepreneurs and solicit input there
- For less than $10, you could place an advertisement on your digital media platform of choice to expand your reach with anonymity
- Go Where Your Prospective Customers Hang Out – This works particularly well if you have a physical product. You are able to ask prospective customers to try your product and immediate, in depth feedback.
Thinking Like A Subject Matter Expert.
Around 29% of entrepreneurs start a new business because they want to be their own boss (Guidant Financial, 2021).
But the vast majority of entrepreneurs choose their niche because they have experience or expertise in that area.
This could be fashion design, marketing, teaching, fitness, giving advice. Whatever area you have chosen for your business, it is likely you’ve either already been successful at it working elsewhere, you’ve received feedback from others that you’re really good at it, or you have a passion for it.
And no doubt, all of that is true.
But having a skill or being a subject matter expert is completely different than running a business.
As an entrepreneur, you no longer have the luxury staying only in your initial area of expertise.
As you start and build your business, not only do you have to be the subject matter expert but you also have to be the manager (to keep the business going) and the visionary (to continue developing a strategy for the future).
Businesses that over rely on the owner’s original skill or subject matter expertise without equal attention to managing and strategic planning are not likely to succeed long term.
Accomplishing Tasks Instead of Results.
Because there is so much that needs to get done as an aspiring or new entrepreneur, it can feel very gratifying to finish something or scratch an item off your “to do” list.
Unfortunately, the only way doing, doing, doing will make your new business successful is if you focus on work that will bring you the most impactful results.
As a new business owner, you need your work activity to have the highest impact.
This means that as part of your business plan, you should identify how you will measure success. Then use that information to set clear business goals and stay focused.
What will make you successful in 6 months? Year 1? Year 2? Is it selling x number of products or services? Generating a certain of revenue? Or perhaps it is a customer engagement goal or market visibility?
Aspiring entrepreneurs can easily burnout by constantly hustling on aspects of the business (ie, the perfect logo, top of the line website, etc.) that may be fun and interesting in the moment, but don’t directly drive business results.
Being an aspiring or new entrepreneur can also feel very lonely. Which is understandable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In addition to conducting business and market research, you should also consider finding an entrepreneur mentor or sponsor. Someone you respect and admire who is at least 1-2 years ahead of you in the entrepreneurial journey so they can guide and advise you along the way.