These days, it’s more common to hear about a friend or colleague having a business venture fail, instead of hearing about them succeeding. It’s a reality that only a small percentage of entrepreneurs who start out will still be going strong and turning a profit several years later.
Some of these businesses may attribute their failure to events outside of their control, but the reality is there are many mistakes that could easily have been prevented, had they known better.
We recently sat down with Dr Baden U’Ren, who is Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Bond University School of Business, and asked him what the most common mistakes he sees entrepreneurs make. His top four mistakes that he sees entrepreneurs make, are:
MISTAKE #1 – Believing things have to be perfect or the best-in-the-world. That desire to get you brand, or product or message or marketing or delivery perfect – stops many and causes more to go down the path towards business failure. Have you been waiting for perfection before taking your next business step? There will never be a perfect time or place and your product will never reach its ultimate level of perfection without trial and error. I remember just before the GFC a pet grooming store on the Gold Coast launched and within a few short years had grown to 11-stores!!! Imagine that 11 stores grooming pets, whilst the rest of the world is teetering on recession.
MISTAKE #2 – Believing they have to protect their idea and keep it a secret. Not every business idea should be kept away from the public, and often the insight and input of others can drastically improve your way of operating. Hiding it only isolates you. What is a good idea could be so much bigger and better with collaboration and input from others. Your need or desire to protect what you are making could start you on the path towards business failure.
MISTAKE #3 – Not talking to customers about what they want and need. As David Baxby, former right hand man for Richard Branson said: “Find problems and solve them, don’t push what you want to do onto the market”. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs analyse the market and then tailor the solution to meet the market needs. It may sound intuitive, however so many businesses do the opposite. If you aren’t constantly talking to your target market and finding out how to serve them better, then you’re destined to fail. Your product could be the best in the market, but if it isn’t giving customers what they want then what’s the point?
MISTAKE #4 – Having an egocentric view of the world. At the end of the day, your business might mean the world to you, but to competitors, customers and clients it is just another business. It’s important to remember this and keep things in perspective, so you know exactly where you are in relation to where you need to be. Keep in mind it’s not all about you and to be honest your customers aren’t interested in you, only in what you can do for them.
If you want to hear more from Dr Baden U’Ren, then remember it isn’t too late to attend our first Business Breakfast for July. For more information, go here.