Last but not least I wanted to cover some of the more common mis-conceptions that start-ups have that cause them to fail.
I’ll Work Harder!
Don’t work hard, work smart. Be wise about how you invest your time. Putting in more hours is not a recipe for more success and is a sure fire way to burn out quicker. I often feel that when you’re running a business, time seems to flow more slowly. 8 hours in a day need filling and although you can be busy, a year may feel a lot longer than it would if you were employed. You need to take care of yourself.
I’ll Shout Louder!
Many businesses understand that as a new entity on the market they need to shout loudly if they want potential customers to hear them. Launch Parties, press releases, social media campaigns. These are all healthy ways to promote your new venture and no doubt you’ll want to tell everyone you meet about your business.
The issue with this is fatigue. A lot of businesses over-do their promotional efforts in the first few months and although they are successful in ‘raising awareness’ (a phrase I really hate) they are most probably turning their intended audience off and ending up in spam folders. Many companies don’t keep this up for long either which gives the impression that things aren’t going so well to the outside world.
I’ll Be Cheaper!
This is something I mostly hear from young entrepreneurs who plan to enter the market, undercut the others and build from there. Although in your early days you may have to start cheaper and work your way up, I wouldn’t start a business with the mind-set that being cheaper is a route to take long term. Generally people who pay less still want the same level of service and in many cases will be more trouble. There are also usually reasons why companies charge what they do that might not be obvious when starting out.
I’m always surprised at the arrogance of some new entrepreneurs. Often who have not been running for a year yet. A little bit of ego is healthy and necessary, but when you look at most established business owners they are all so humble and underplay any success. Don’t mistake this as modesty, most businesses owners understand the importance of playing things close to their chest. New entrepreneurs should learn quickly that business is a small world where everyone knows everyone and talking a little too loudly can come back to bite you.
It’ll be Fun and Exciting!
In past lessons I talked about people who just seem to get off on the idea of running a business. Nothing makes them happier than sitting in a shared office/café/cat sanctuary, drinking copious amounts of coffee and typing away on their laptops. 80% of working for yourself involves being a salesman, doing the accounts, doing all the boring stuff and about 20% is the thing you actually enjoy. Business is not a social event, it’s not about a nice looking facebook page, it’s about rolling your sleeves up. Every. Single. Day.