We all know it’s not easy being an entrepreneur. The hours are long and the pay (at least until you’re in real profit territory) is measly. However, as long as you don’t make silly mistakes and you enter every situation with a keen and focused mind, you will get there. If you don’t know what mistakes you’re trying to avoid, you’re in serious trouble. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. Take a look at the following and make a note of these bumps in the road. They could be the difference between a thriving business and another statistic.
1.) Not Networking
Before we get into this one, remember that networking doesn’t mean just attending huge events where business cards are thrown around like confetti. Networking is something that you can do over the phone, or at a chance meeting with a potential prospect.
Networking helps keep your venture visible, and it gives people a feel for who you are and why they should do business with you. So wherever you are in the first few years of your business, you should be visible and talking about the business and how it helps people. If you’re not comfortable with introducing yourself to people and making serious small talk, find a partner who is. Business is about networking. You need to do it.
2.) Being Unreliable
This seems like the most obvious thing in the world to get right, but so many entrepreneurs make a mistake in this area, especially in the early days of a business when pressure can be at its worst.
If there is even the smallest chance that you may not be able to fulfill an order, don’t take the order. If you can’t make a client meeting, send someone else. And if you are overwhelmed, slow down.
Ask anyone who’s dealt with entrepreneurs before what the worst part of it is and they’ll tell you that an entrepreneur who can’t keep her word is a pain in the neck. And if a client feels let down, they’ll tell everyone they know about it. That’s a great way to make a business fail. Your word is your bond. Clients expect to use someone who is reliable.
3.) Listening to everyone
Every successful entrepreneur will tell you about the time they listened to bad advice. There will be a number of people who are trying to pass on advice to you if you’re just starting out. Some of it will be useful, but a lot of it will be detrimental and will affect your progress.
Most people mean well, and many will have ‘been around the block’, but if it feels like the advice just doesn’t ring true for you, ignore it. The best piece of advice you will ever get from anyone when it comes to being an entrepreneur is to‘follow your instincts’. Using instinct is what gets you to the top.
Think about the above three areas and see if you can keep them in mind if you are faced with a problem or a ‘crossroads’ in business. And remember that being an entrepreneur only gets easy when you’ve been doing it for a while. Until then, you need to be careful, have integrity, and be willing to network.