When starting a first business, making a lot of mistakes is inevitable. All new entrepreneurs have to go through it. They have to be ready for all kinds of challenges and obstacles but perhaps the most frustrating problems that they’ll have to face are those they caused themselves, probably due to mis-timed action or off-day decision.
In an entrepreneur’s journey, making mistakes are unavoidable and after all, those are all part and parcel of learning. However, they should still be smart enough to reflect on the mistakes made and lessons learned by others. There’s nothing wrong with taking the word and advice from others when it comes to planning ahead to prevent from making some of the biggest mistakes of running a business.
Here are 5 biggest business mistakes that every entrepreneur makes and how to avoid them.
1. Saving money on professional advice
It’s common knowledge that getting lawyers and accountants are expensive. When starting out, entrepreneurs will try their very best to cut corners to save cost. This is good for some cases, but not when it comes to getting professional advice.
Just because a lawyer is BAR certified or an accountant has a CPA, does not mean that they’re experts in the business field. Like anyone else who is good in a specialized niche, you should expect them to make a good living.
But this goes beyond just lawyers and accountants. Every entrepreneur should be a big believer in learning from other people’s experience. They should learn the value of time and especially other people’s time.
Entrepreneurs should see it like this, if paying someone RM500 per hour helps them to avoid making a RM20,000 mistake or save them 10 hours of work, then it should be an investment worth making as they’ve saved a lot of their time as well as money.
2. Blindly following advice
As much as getting advice from peers and others is imperative in helping you to run a good and secure business, it is also a double-edged sword. It becomes a mistake when new entrepreneurs begin to blindly follow the advice given to them, be it from professionals or friends who run businesses in other fields.
Entrepreneurs should always attain professional advice but it is important to be objective and heedful about it. They have to remember to try putting the advice in perspective of their business. Just because they heard it from an expert, it does not mean that they should follow every single word of it. It’s always good to get multiple opinions first then try their best to make an informed decision.
3. Falling in love with their product
It’s normal for entrepreneurs to create a product and eventually be biased towards it. They probably think it’s the best product and that there’s nothing better out there in the market. While that is probably great fuel for their ego, it is important that they do not lose sight of all the improvements that can be done to their product.
A product no matter how good and well made can always be improved in one way or another which will make it even more attractive for customers and pull in more potential buyers and clients.
4. Underestimating or ignoring the competition
While there is a lot of advice around about not to be obsessed with the competition, which is an agreeable practice, entrepreneurs should also not ignore their competition either. Every business has competition, and not just from other businesses because sometimes the toughest competitor is one’s own self.
If an entrepreneur does not know why their business is better than their competitors’, or they are not able to convey that message properly to their customers, then unfortunately they are going to lose the war.
5. Being cheap about marketing
For many new entrepreneurs, marketing is usually a low priority in the list. But the reality in the market is, that is how a business can get more sales, with marketing.
A business should always have a budget for marketing, especially when it’s a new business.
It’s possible that the reason why new entrepreneurs do not have a marketing budget is because they are unable to figure out the ROI.
This should begin with proper tracking and reporting. If they know their audience and numbers, then it becomes easy to acquire new customers. One thing new entrepreneurs should take note is that acquiring customers is always a top priority.
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