Being an Entrepreneur sounds quite exciting and interesting. Daily we go through news reports of young entrepreneurs who are millionaires mostly under 30. Though i does not qualify for under 30 but aiming for under 40 Millionaire :). In my post, Startup – 5 Critical Factors for Your Success i shared some of the key success factors. A key success factor for one business might not work for another business.
Before we proceed, let me admit that entrepreneurship is not that easy as it looks. There is a famous saying that “To Err is Human“. Any mistake can make entrepreneurship tougher. It is but natural to think that i can also do it but we ignore the hard and long journey of a successful entrepreneur. I am not saying that as an entrepreneur we can avoid 100% mistakes. At the same time, we can learn from other’s mistakes and avoid. Besides that, you should evaluate your journey so far and correct the past mistakes :).
In my opinion, it is more critical and important to learn from own mistakes rather learning from others. The reason being, each business model is different. In this post, i have compiled the list of 5 mistakes based on my experience. I am only highlighting the common mistakes committed as an entrepreneur rather business specific mistakes.
5 Mistakes You Should Avoid as an Entrepreneur
1. Failure to wear multiple hats simultaneously:
As a human being, we are “ONE” personality. The only exception is people suffering from multiple personality disorder. For example, when i was a salaried employee, i fine tuned my mind according to my job’s roles and responsibility. Normally, an employee does not think beyond his roles and responsibilities.
When i became the boss, i fine tuned my mind and came out of shoes of a team member. I wore the hat of a boss. My roles and responsibility changed and i became a different personality. Therefore, at a given point of time, i was only “ONE” Personality.
Entrepreneurship demands wearing multiple hats at the same time. Being an entrepreneur you are are handling multiple functions at the same time. Moreover, you should think 360 degrees or holistically. For example, if you are running an e-commerce website then you are handling varied functions like SEO, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Procurement, Logistics, QC etc. It is not an easy task.
If you consider yourself to be CEO then you are on a path of a failure. In my opinion, CEO is not an entrepreneur and vice versa. You might be having a team for each function but it is important for you to understand each & every function and wear multiple hats. The business is bound to fail if an entrepreneur fails to wear multiple hats simultaneously. For example, if i think only as a marketer or sales person then i will fail because of a loophole left by me in another area. You cannot expect your employees to think like an entrepreneur. Always remember that only you or your business partner/s is an entrepreneur in the whole setup.
To be successful, you should suffer from multiple personality disorder i.e. wear the hat of all the supporting functions to be successful.
2. Unable to segregate negative and positive criticism:
Criticism is always good for any business. It always helps to take corrective steps. In my opinion, there are two types of criticism i.e. negative and positive. The biggest disadvantage of being an entrepreneur is that you should be ready to listen and accept criticism from all quarters till you are successful :). 99.99% of it will be noise and negative criticism. Only 0.01% will be positive or constructive criticism.
The biggest mistake by an entrepreneur is that they fail to segregate the negative and positive criticism. The end result is that it becomes one of the key reasons for startup failure. This noise is so loud that we fail to hear the words of wisdom from our true well-wishers.
I came across following types of critics in my journey so far
(a) Fear of Lending: Most of the critics are in this category. These are some of your friends and relatives. Their biggest fear is that being an entrepreneur you will come with a begging bowl for financial support. In other words, they fear that you will seek personal lending from family or friends to start your business. Though in most of the cases, the fear is uncalled for. These critics will let you down by hook or crook.
(b) Bad Experience in Past: The intent of these critics are not bad. If they or any of their family member, friend or relative had bad entrepreneurship experience in past then they oppose the very idea of being an entrepreneur.
(c) Service Class: Though i also belong to service class so can conclude that never expect support or positive criticism from critics belonging to the service class. They are risk averse and will never suggest venturing into rough waters leaving stable & cushy corporate job.
(d) I am the BEST: These critics will criticize you just because you are not following them or adopting their approach. They feel that whatever they are doing/suggesting is the BEST. They are your well-wishers but not in true sense. They will start criticizing you if you don’t listen to them.
There are various other types of critics also. I will discuss this topic in detail in one of my future posts.
3. Absence of Financial Roadmap to support family and business:
Before starting a business, you should answer whether you can support your family and business for next 2 years or not. If the answer is NO then entrepreneurship is not your CUP of TEA. In other words, you don’t have a financial roadmap to support your family and business. If this financial roadmap is dependent on external factors then it is as good as NO Financial roadmap in place. It is quite risky and may lead to Financial Distress.
Some people adopt the very casual approach. They are dependent on others in case something goes wrong. For example, “i will borrow from my relatives in case of shortage of money”. What if your relative refuses to help in future. This is a mistake and misjudgment. You should be self-reliant and self-dependent. It is one of the important backbones for an entrepreneur.
4. Entrepreneur By Choice or By Chance:
One of the learnings in my life is that we succeed only when we do something by choice. If it is by chance then the probability of failure is very HIGH. As i mentioned in my previous posts that Job Loss is a new reality for salaried class. We are heading towards jobless growth.
If i lost a job and because i don’t have any other option except being an entrepreneur then i am an entrepreneur by chance. Trust me the probability of failure is HIGH. It is a mistake you should avoid. The successful entrepreneurs are by choice as they believed in their ideas. The passion and commitment only come by choice & these two are must have ingredients for a successful entrepreneur.
5. Don’t rely on other’s shoulder for Motivation and Encouragement
If the success comes so easy in life then everyone would have been successful in LIFE. One of the research in the USA proved that 80% entrepreneur QUIT when they are on a verge of SUCCESS. It requires a lot of self-motivation and self-compassion to reach that level. To be very frank, Don’t rely on other’s shoulder for motivation and encouragement. You can only rely on people who believe in you, your ideas and capabilities. If you constantly look upon others for motivation then trust me you will fail. Gradually it becomes your weakness. Research has proved that self-motivation is one of the must-have qualities for a successful entrepreneur.
For self-motivation, you can watch motivational videos, read motivational/stories or watch motivational movies. By the way, recently i watched SULTAN movie and found it to be motivational. Such activities help you keep going. Indirectly, Self motivation makes you mentally strong. With mental strength, you can survive the rough patches.
Words of Wisdom:
Through this post, i highlighted some of the common mistakes to avoid as an entrepreneur. These are more individual specific rather business specific. You should be neither optimistic nor pessimistic. It is good to be realistic as it helps you to take balanced, logical and rational decisions.
Lastly, quitting an entrepreneurship is a big social stigma. There is always a fear in the mind of an entrepreneur being labeled as a failure. Always remember that if you stop believing in your idea then it is better to quit. To keep lingering on with a failed idea is the biggest mistake. I have a lot to share but my readers always complain that my posts are too long to read. Therefore, i will share few more thoughts on this topic in future posts. Wishing you all the success in life !!!
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