If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’ll know many moving parts go into starting a business. Many new entrepreneurs are not prepared for the business world. I started thinking about all of this when I was recently asked the question, “What are the biggest lessons you learned when you started your business?”
I chuckled to myself and thought, “How much time do you have?”
When I started my business, I thought I was extremely prepared. I did my homework, I had a plan, and I felt confident. While I was prepared in some respects, I quickly learned that I was incredibly unprepared in other areas.
People make 5 common mistakes when starting a business – lack of start-up capital, improper business structure, no strategic plan, underestimating their risk, and failure to manage the business properly. Knowing about the most common business pitfalls can help you avoid them, which is what we all want and why you’re probably so interested in the lessons I’ve learned.
The reality is you don’t know what you don’t know. This has been true of every business owner I’ve worked with over the years, and it was certainly true of me too. Because I want others to learn from my mistakes, I’m going to tell you all the juicy details of my failures. And some of the biggest lessons I learned when I started my business.
When I was a new entrepreneur, like many, I made a lot of rookie mistakes. The first mistake was thinking that I was pretty smart and pretty well prepared to launch a business. Let me tell you; it was a hard dose of reality when I realized I wasn’t quite as smart as I thought I was and certainly not as prepared either.
This is one of the reasons I stress an excellent strategic plan. I know from experience. You see, the strategic plan I had was filled with holes, and I was too blinded by the idea of success to see them. I had hitched my wagon to a business development strategy and sales funnel that fell apart, FAST, and I had no backup plan. This is a place no one wants to be in!
I realized that not only did I need to be better at sales and marketing, but I also needed a more well-rounded strategy that included multiple sales pipelines.
More importantly, I realized that it was unwise to place too much trust in others. While it’s noble to believe in others’ basic good, the reality is that not everyone is your friend who only wants to see you succeed. Some are just the opposite, and you need to be aware of that as an entrepreneur.
Many have asked if I would ever change any of these things that I went through, and the simple answer is NO. These were invaluable lessons. I can look back 14 years later and realize how much I had gained because of those struggles and how much I can help others because of what I went through.
I learned to believe in myself and trust in what I could do to help other business owners be successful. I learned how to value myself and the skillsets I brought to the table and share that with others in a confident manner.
I learned how to evaluate others better and build a quality circle of trust with the right resources who could help me and help my clients as well. I learned that when you can become a GO-TO person for those you serve, your value skyrockets.
I learned that hard work and hustle on their own aren’t enough. You have to combine a strong work ethic with a profitable business model and strategic decision making.
Most importantly, I learned how to use my experiences to help others avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes to be in a better position to be successful. I realized that mistakes could destroy you or develop you and train you to be better. It all depends on how you learn from your mistakes.
Finally, I learned that if you have a dream and you are committed to it, you can achieve it with the right amount of determination and perseverance.
If you have the work ethic, determination, and perseverance but need help with some of the other aspects of starting a business, let me know. I’d love to help you put together a firm foundation so your business can be successful. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.