For an entrepreneur, making mistakes is an inevitable part of starting your own business. This is because innovation requires experimentation, which goes hand-in-hand with risk. If you are not taking risks and making mistakes, your business is probably in trouble.
This is according to Bradley Porter, CEO and Founder of Flexible Workspace who says that while there many inevitable challenges including assets, inventory and infrastructure considerations, there are a couple of common warning signs, entrepreneurs should take heed of to avoid failure.
1. A shoddy Business Plan
The business plan is the foundation of any business. A solid business plan is one of the most important steps in laying the groundwork for future success. It sets parameters for unnecessary spending but allows space for flexibility and ad-hoc decisions. Don’t make the mistake of avoid this process from the outset.
2. Avoiding Risks
Many first-time entrepreneurs will unconsciously avoid risk because they are afraid to think big. This is a mistake. Stepping away from challenges will only do your business harm. If your idea is good, you will have competition. Competitors are a sign that you’re doing something right, so keep going.
3. Being stubborn about your Idea
During a business start-up, the company may need to change direction and the entrepreneur needs to be open to this. A new market opportunity may come to light that could benefit the business and the key to survival is being flexible and adapting to these changes. Deviating from initial plans shouldn’t be seen as adapting to failure, but rather embracing an opportunity. Constantly ask yourself questions about your customers’ needs and whether you are satisfying them.
4. Ignoring Strong Criticism
There will be people who will tell you things about your business that you don’t want to hear, and you should listen to them. Often, entrepreneurs are so passionate about their ideas that they fail to realise that they are actually targeting the wrong market. There will always be people who know more than you do so listen to criticism and learn from it. Being accountable means that you take responsibility for when things go well and when they don’t.
5. Giving It Your All, Financially
Small business owners may think it’s their duty to pour all their resources into financing their business. However, this isn’t the case. Don’t spend money on unnecessary things and run out of cash. You have already sacrificed sleep, career opportunities and your sanity in order to get your business off the ground. The business is meant to work for you so at best you should be able to earn a market related salary and at worst a modest salary while the company grows.
6. Skimping on Market Research
Market research is a fundamental stage of starting a business. Skipping research, ignoring the results or forecasting off inaccurate data is a sure-fire way to fail before you’ve begun. It’s easy to confuse a good idea for a good business. The only way to turn a good idea into a great business is by executing it, and execution requires market research. Don’t be rigid and take heed of the findings. Research is where the golden nuggets of opportunity are found.
Starting a business is a risky venture and mistakes are inevitable. The key is being open to change and learning along the way. “Before you do anything, find out if consumers actually want your product or service,” says Porter. “Too many entrepreneurs come up with an idea and try and make it fit the market. Rather ask what consumers truly need, figure out the optimal way to deliver it to them and then go get your first client.” he concludes.
By Brad Porter