Connect with us

Start-up Advice

3 Business Misdemeanours That’ll Land You In Hot Water

Here are three of the biggest mistakes new business owners make.

Published

on

worried-business-man-business-mistakes

Starting your own business is the most exciting decision to make. Your mind is likely overwhelmed with all the things you need to consider and all the success you hope to have.

The path towards entrepreneurial success is marred with obstacles though, and sometimes you can feel very alone.

In the start-up phase you’ll find yourself working 20 hour days and sacrificing many a personal commitment in order to just keep on working. You see, the end result can be so worth it.

Managing to lift a business off the ground single-handedly is an incredible feat. Having the entity turn into a burgeoning business growing from strength to strength is the next level of success. And in order to achieve this you can be certain you will mess up along the way.

You’re bound to face obstacles and sometimes how you choose to overcome them will be wrong. At best you’ll have egg on your face, at worst you’ll call failure and give up. But most entrepreneurs make mistakes and land themselves in precarious situations that they have to navigate out of.

The fallout is often in the loss of money or investors and sometimes reputations come undone. But most times, entrepreneurs are small fry enough to make some mistakes and get up, dust off and try again.

But there are some business misdemeanours that can land you in such hot water you may struggle to recover. Usually these mistakes are born out of the business owner’s actual ignorance or misunderstanding of what is needed for success.

Related: 6 Costly Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business

Often times these mistakes have to do with the foundation needed to ensure a business keeps standing, even through turbulence.

These are mistakes you should steer clear of and it can be difficult to know about these heinous business blunders unless you educate yourself beforehand.

The onus is on the entrepreneur to learn about how to start a business the right way. Reading business blogs and books is a good way to find out what the possible entrepreneurial pitfalls are.

Here are three of the biggest mistakes new business owners make. 

1They remain a lone ranger

lone ranger

You’re about to become more self-absorbed than you have ever been. Because starting your own business will overwhelm you and it will be all you ever think of.

Your new business will take priority over everything else and while that might be necessary for it to launch, it cannot be how you continue. And yet, many entrepreneurs end up remaining a one-man-show for a long while after they’ve launched and sustained a successful business.

This is a surefire way of having your business stop growing or worse, fail altogether. You need to create a team who can handle various tasks and who you can delegate to. This will free up your time to focus on new business development, which is how you grow.

If you spend your days bogged down by admin tasks, you’re going to lose out on networking opportunities that push growth.

As a new business owner you should be aware of when you’re going to make you first hire and ensure you’re mentally prepared for this change. 

Related: Exporting Mistakes That Businesses Should Avoid

2Being money conscious to the point of stupidity

You need things when you start a business. You need to spend some money. Even if you’re going the bootstrapped route and you’re only willing to spend once there’s some money in the bank, once the cash is there you should invest in some business things you need.

For instance, not having business insurance leaves you open to risk. At worst, it leaves you open to risk that you cannot afford and will leave you financially sinking. Business insurance is important and the minute you have employees it becomes even more crucial to cover yourself.

Consider if someone happens to hurt themselves on your premises, you need insurance to cover the costs involved in sorting that issue out. What’s more, you should consider investing in business process automation products.

A fine example is accounting software. Doing your books every month might be manageable in the beginning but soon it will become an administrative task you might find less and less time to do. Also, automating administrative processes in your daily operation frees up your time to focus on developing and growing your business. 

3Delaying the hiring process and choosing wrong

You need to be able to recognise when it’s necessary to employ staff. For most entrepreneurs, this is a big and scary step. After all, who will love and nurture your business like you do? Well, actually there are many people out there who enjoy the start-up scene and get a kick out of working for a business that’s still a fledgling.

You can start small but by not hiring anyone you are only increasing your workload and your already growing stress levels. Finding the right staff to hire can also be difficult. The recruitment process is a long one and you will find that it may take months before you settle on a candidate you can see yourself working with on the daily.

Related: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Building A Website For Your Business

You should also know where to look. You’ll be surprised at the amount of opportunity seekers you’ll find at networking events, corporate launches and the like. You should attend events with like-minded individuals.

The chances of there being a person who knows someone, who’ll be interested in either buying your product or working for your company, are great.

These three faux pas can end your business if you’re not aware of them and you don’t include them in your plan. Be wary of becoming too involved in your daily grind to notice when you need to up your game.

Some entrepreneurs are so caught up in managing their business day-to-day that they don’t give enough time to realising how much they’ve grown and how much they need in order to continue on a positive trajectory.

Megan only discovered her love for writing at the age of 28. Before that she spent her time in the theatre world and then in the magazine industry, where she realised the sweet reward that writing can deliver. After building up her portfolio Megan ventured into the digital realm to try her hand at the online game. Now she is the editor of The Cradle, an African entrepreneurial website that advises entrepreneurs and small business owners across the continent.

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Start-up Advice

Put On Your Wellies: It’s Time To Wade Into Risk

Entrepreneurs aren’t all leaping into the unknown like lemmings off a cliff, but they do need to consider it…

Chris Ogden

Published

on

risk-management-rain-boots

You’ve had a great idea. You’ve looked into its development. You’ve recognised that it has potential beyond just what Auntie Mabel and Mike From The Grocer think. And you’ve clearly nailed a pain point that can make money. Now it is time to take the risk of running with it.

Every big idea comes with risk. You can’t step out into the world of entrepreneurial thinking and business development without it. Your idea may fail. It will also be time consuming, demanding, hungry for money, and hard work. It is unrealistic to expect that your project will leap out into the world and be an unmitigated success.

It is also unrealistic to assume that it isn’t worth taking this risk.

There are steps that you can follow to ensure that your risk is managed so you aren’t blindly leaping off that cliff…

Step 01: Do your research

No, canvassing your neighbours, friends and family is not doing research. You need to know that your idea will appeal to a broad market and that it will have significant legs. This may sound like daft advice, but you would be surprised how many people think an idea will take off just because Susan in Accounting said so.

Step 02: Understand the costs

Projects are hungry for money and investment. Realistically work out your budgets and how much it will cost to take your project off the ground and then stick to it.

A calculated risk is a far better bet than one that shoots from the hip and hopes for the best. You can also use this as an opportunity to draw a clear line under where you will stop investing and end the project. If it keeps eating money and isn’t getting anywhere with results you need to be able to walk away.

Step 03: Know when to walk away

As mentioned before, this can be defined by a line you’ve drawn in the proverbial sand (and budget) but no matter where you draw this line, you have to stick to it. Often, when time, money and energy have been poured into a project it can be incredibly hard to walk away.

You think ‘but I have put so much into this, just one more’ and then it gets to a point where the ‘just one more’ has taken you so far down the line that walking away feels impossible. Leave. Learn the lessons. Apply them to your next project.

Continue Reading

Start-up Advice

Mind The Gap

The entrepreneur’s guide to finding the gaps and building the right solutions.

Chris Ogden

Published

on

entrepreneurship-gap

Innovation may very well be the key to business success but finding the gap into which your innovative thinking can fit is often a lot harder than people realise. Some may be struck by inspiration in the shower, others by that moment of blinding insight in a meeting, however, for most people finding that big idea isn’t that simple. They want to be an entrepreneur and start their own high-growth business, but they need some ideas on how to find that big idea.

Here are five…

1. Network

It sounds trite but networking is actually an excellent way of picking up on patterns and trends in conversation and business problems. The trick is to note them down and pay attention. Soon, you will find patterns emerging and ideas forming.

2. Look for pain

Just as networking can reveal trends in the market, so can spending time reading. The latter will also help you find common business pain points. These are the touchpoints that frustrate people, annoy business owners, affect productivity, or impact employee engagement.

Be the Panado that fixes these pains.

3. Luck

luck

This is probably the most annoying of the ideas, but it is unfortunately (or fortunately) very true. Luck does play a role in helping you capture that big idea. However, luck isn’t just standing around and random people offering you opportunities. Luck is found at networking events, it is found in research and it is found in conversations with other entrepreneurs.

4. Luck needs courage

You may have found the big idea through your network, a pain point or pure blind luck, but if you don’t have the courage to take it and run with it, you will lose it to someone else.

Being bold in business is highly underrated because most people assume that everyone is bold and prepared to take big leaps into the unknown. However, not all brilliant entrepreneurs were ready to throw their family funds to the wind and leap into an idea – they were courageous enough to figure out a way of harnessing their ideas realistically.

5. Pay attention

This is probably one of the most vital ways of finding a gap in the market. Often, people are so busy that they don’t really pay attention to that niggling issue that always bothers them on a commute, or in a mall, or at a meeting. This niggling issue could very well be the next big business opportunity. Pay attention to it and find out if that issue can be solved with your innovative thinking.

Continue Reading

Start-up Advice

5 Things To Know About Your “Toddler” Business

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind.

Catherine Black

Published

on

small-business-start-up

Ah, toddlers. Those irresistible bundles of joy bring a huge amount of energy, curiosity and fun to any family – but there’s also frustration and worry that comes with their unpredictability, as they grow and start to become more independent. If you own a business and it’s successfully past its “infancy” of the first year or so, it’s likely it will also go through a toddler stage of its lifecycle.

Pete Hammond, founder of luxury safari company SafariScapes, agrees with this. “Our business is now three and a half years old, and we’ve found that we’re not yet big enough to justify employing a large team of people to handle the day-to-day admin tasks, yet we still need to grow the business as well,” he says. “As a result, our main challenge is finding the time to step back and see the bigger picture. Kind of like when you are raising a busy toddler and you spend most of your time running after them!”

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind:

1. This too shall pass

Everything in life is temporary – and that goes for both the good and the bad. It’s as helpful to remember this when you’re facing the might of a toddler temper tantrum, as it is when you’re facing throws of uncertainty in your business. If your new(ish) venture is going through a rough patch in its first few years, it can be easy to think about giving up – but don’t. As long as you have an overall big idea that you believe can add value to your customers, keep pushing through the rough parts until you come out the other side.

2. Appreciate what this phase brings

The toddler years mean that the initial newborn joy is officially behind you. But these small humans also bring their own kinds of joy, as you watch them learn new skills, say funny things, and give affection back to you. While your two-year-old business may not hold the same exhilaration for you as it did during those first few months, there are now different things to appreciate about it: Maybe you’re expanding your product range, or employing new people who can take the workload off you.

3. Establish boundaries

Toddlers thrive on boundary and routine – and your toddler business will too. As it grows into a new phase, try and establish limits in terms of the type of clients you want to work with and the type of work you’ll do. It’s also a good idea to make a decision about the hours you’ll work and when you’ll switch off, which will help you establish a good work-life balance.

4. Take a break

Every parent with a toddler needs a break every now and then, even if that means a walk around the block (on your own!), a dinner out with friends, or even a few days away. The same is true for a demanding small business: every so often, remember to take time out to rest properly, where you switch off your laptop and completely unplug. You’ll return much more inspired and resilient to deal with the everyday uncertainty that it brings.

5. Give it space to make mistakes

While the unpredictability of a young business can be stressful and tiring, it’s also a time for trying new things without the risk of huge consequences if they don’t quite work. After all, it’s much simpler to change your USP if you’re a small business employing a few people, rather than a big company where 50 people are relying on you for their salary, or where you’ve received a huge amount of investment capital. While you may fail in some of the things you try with your business (in fact, this is almost guaranteed), see it as a toddler that’s resilient enough to pick itself up, dust its knees and keep moving forward.

During this phase of business growth it’s also essential to have the right type of medical aid cover. There are medical schemes such as Fedhealth which has a number of medical aid options and value-added benefits to ensure that your health and wellness is taken care of too. After all, the healthier you and your staff are, the more productive your business will be – during the toddler (business) stage and beyond.

While this phase can be frustrating, it’s a sign that your business is growing and adapting, rather than remaining in its infancy, and that can only be a good thing! So embrace the difficulties, learn from them, and watch as your business strides forward confidently into the next exciting phase.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending