7 Inexcusable Mistakes of Entrepreneurship
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There is nothing more frustrating for me than to see a powerful business destroyed by silly mistakes. And I see it every day…on facebook, at cafes, at networking events, everywhere…businesses that should be exploding are instead limited by errors. So I compiled a list…not because I was smart but because I was tired of yelling at my computer screen. The list is “7 Inexcusable Mistakes Of Entrepreneurship That Every Business Owner Ought To Avoid!”
Mistake #1Owning An Idea Instead Of A Business This is the first and most critical error of entrepreneurship! A lot of people own ideas that they claim would change the world, but they do not own a business. One of the most controversial blogs I have ever written is titled “Why Writing A Business Plan Destroys Entrepreneurship.” In that article I write about why business plans are the greatest stumbling block for entrepreneurs not because they are unimportant, but because they discourage the execution of ideas by causing the writer to over-think versus execute. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of facebook ,was sued for over $120 million because he allegedly executed an idea that was not his. But the fact is if he never executed the idea, facebook would never have been created! Remember, owning an idea is not the same thing as owning a business.
Mistake #2 Not Having Professional Pictures Of Yourself Or Your Business If there is anything that makes me want to fling my laptop in annoyance, it is this error. You cannot…I repeat, you cannot create a reputable image for your company if your pictures are unprofessional. I see people on facebook trying to present themselves as branding experts or professional realtors, while their photograph is poor, grainy or inappropriate. Absolutely inexcusable. As Walt Disney said “people think in images.” If people see unprofessional pictures they subconsciously associate your business with that image. Spend Invest the money ($150 to $250) to have a professional draw take a picture of you or your business. I guarantee it will be one of the best investments you will ever make. Get rid of the unprofessional pictures…please…
Mistake #3 Investing In Everything But Yourself People spend thousands of dollars building a state of the art website or restaurant, but would not spend a dime to teach themselves how to market their business. The key reason for this is that they fail to see themselves as an important part of their business. If you want your business to succeed, you have to ensure that you are spending ample time investing in yourself. Your investment does not need to be financial; it could be as simple as reading the right type of business book or attending a free conference that relates to your business. As long as you make a conscious effort to invest in yourself, your business will flourish. The greatest difference I saw in my business occurred after I paid for a series of marketing/branding classes. Through the knowledge I received at those classes I have been able to increase my exposure and grow my business revenue. Make sure you invest in yourself.
Mistake#4 Signing Verbal Contracts I cannot remember where I saw this quote, A verbal contract is as good as the paper it is written on.Think about it. I have seen childhood friendships, family relationships and even marriages destroyed because of the “verbal contract” error. The reason is that a verbal contract is interpreted differently by each party involved and is thus hard to enforce. When I talk to my clients or to entrepreneurs about business transactions, I always insist that every single item, no matter how trivial, be written into a contract! I don’t care if it is a family member or even your wife…write a contract! Even when I am working with my brother on my website I write a contract. Executing a business transaction without a written contract is like running a country without a constitution. Write a contract…if you need a sample contract, you can find it on Microsoft Templates or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mistake #5 Electrocuting Your Clients Everyday on facebook, some poor soul is getting his or her wall bombarded with hundreds and hundreds of birthday wishes and smiley faces. Now there is nothing wrong with this; the only problem is that it is impersonal and easily forgotten. Unfortunately, lots of businesses treat their clients in the same way, resorting to automated email messages and pre-printed cards to stay in touch. Their use of electronic communication is so excessive that they electrocute their clients lose an opportunity to make a special connection with their clients. Although I am a huge user of social media, I still believe personal phone call is worth more than a facebook wall post. Likewise a simple handwritten note is worth more than an email. Stop electrocuting your clients…make a phone call or write a personal note =)
Mistake#6 Ignoring Social Media: If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that sites such as facebook and twitter are social nuisances that need to be avoided…I would be rich! This is the same reasoning and mentality that led to the near extinction of businesses such as Barnes/Nobles and the New York Times. Both companies had initially disregarded the e-books and website newspapers as fads. But within the last few months, both industries have revamped their entire marketing structure to fit the e-model. The same change is happening continually in businesses as marketing methods continually evolve daily. You owe it to your business clients to ensure that you stay ahead of the latest business trends. A few years from today facebook might become extinct or it might become bigger; regardless of what happens, your business will prosper, but only if you place it ahead of the curve. In less than 6 months since I published my first book HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE I have been able to sell over 1000 copies, book all because I stayed ahead of the curve and tapped into the power of social media. Please don’t ignore social media!
Mistake#7 Working For Free In Hopes Of Being Suddenly Discovered I have seen so many people used and abused by this. Unless Oprah Winfrey calls you to do a show for free, you should never ever work for free. This is a mistake that I repeated over and over again in my speaking business…I believed that if I somehow gave the most incredible presentations as often as I could, I would create a name for myself and the phone would start buzzing. But for 3 years nothing happened. Instead, my time was undervalued and unappreciated and I eventually became frustrated with what I was doing. It was not until I invested in myself (see #3 above) and set a reasonable value for my time and services that I began to grow my business. Today I see people desperate to make a name for themselves providing their services for free and sometimes even paying for an opportunity to give our their services for free! I remember getting a call a few months ago to give a presentation at the NISOD 2011 National Conference. I was told that it would be a great opportunity to expose myself to a large group of colleges. The only catch was that I was not going to get paid…and I also had to pay my air ticket…plus I had to pay for the hotel…and get this I also had to pay the $400 registration fee even though I was a presenter! I politely declined the offer…Remember, do not work for FREE!
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