Starting your first business is a baptism of fire of sorts. In a way, you are destined to fail. Sometimes you won’t but you very rarely hear about people entering the world of business and hitting a bullseye on their first attempt.
Writing for Entrepreneur.com, Paul Evans speaks of the five biggest mistakes people make when working on their first business. Listen up and stack the odds in your favour for your foray into entrepreneurship.
1. Faith is stronger than any business plan
Evans tells a story of how his Bible-thick binder full of business plans was, what he thought, an equal trade for a briefcase of money at the bank. It turned out that the binder didn’t answer all the questions needed for investment. However, Evans believed in his business because he created it, unlike the bank.
2. Trust the maths
When starting a new business, it’s important to keep your initial customers happy and loyal. That said, you can’t start making exceptions on a personal basis to fit their needs. If you’ve built a business model, you need to check the spreadsheets and proceed accordingly – even if that means losing some picky people at the beginning.
3. Don’t rely on financial backing from your friends and family
Your family love you and will support you on all your endeavours, even to such a degree that they might reluctantly gift you their life savings to lift your business of the ground. Don’t accept that, it’s blind and will haunt you. With the crowd-funding renaissance at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, there are plenty of ways to raise the cash if you think your idea is genuinely a good one.
4. Your launch day can make or break you
As well as the first day the public have access to your product/ restaurant/ dog salon, your launch day will be a test of all the business savvy you’ve accumulated so far. Did you time it right? Is the product as good as it can be? Did you market the event properly? All these things will be answered on the day.
5. Personal experience does not mean business expertise
Your ever wondered how Simon Cowell can make so much in the music industry despite having, it seems, little interest in the artform? It’s because he doesn’t equate personal interest to business expertise. Just because you’re experienced in a certain field, it doesn’t mean you’ll prosper as the head of a business.
The raw skills do not translate into business acumen. Your best bet is to accept that some things will go wrong and do your best to keep pushing and learning.