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Start-up Advice

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

There is no predicting all that is needed to succeed as an entrepreneur but what never works is well known.

Timothy Sykes

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Being an entrepreneur may very well be one of the most difficult jobs on the planet.

There are very few career paths that require the same amount of work, skill, sacrifice and commitment. Being an entrepreneur is really hard but also really rewarding.

No matter what field you are in, or what type of business you own, it is so important that you understand some of mistakes that tend to plague so many entrepreneurs in today’s market.

 These are by far the biggest mistakes that any business owner can make. Avoid these mistakes at all costs and you will set yourself up for success.

Related: 6 Common Mistakes First-Time Business Owners Should Avoid

1. Expecting success right away

If you are expecting success right away from your business, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Yes, it is great to have the confidence and the drive to want to be successful fast, but you shouldn’t expect these results right away. It takes a long time to grow a business. It takes an even longer time to make money from a business.

You need to be realistic about your expectations and try to be patient. One of the many reasons that so many businesses fail so early on is because entrepreneurs expect they can open their doors and just like that they will start making money.

 Many times these companies go out of business because the entrepreneur can’t afford to pay the rent anymore, they were expecting to earn money right away to cover their expenses. This is why having a cushion to fall back on and being realistic about how much money you can actually make at first is so important.

2. Trying to do everything yourself

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A good entrepreneur knows how to delegate, plain and simple. If you try to do everything yourself, you are only setting yourself up for failure. You need to know how to outsource. I talked in great deal about outsourcing in the past and hiring others to take care of some of the tasks that I simply cannot handle on my own.

Different entrepreneurs will have different types of tasks that they want outsourced. No matter what those things are it is important that you are delegating them to others so you can make better use of your time and put yourself in the best position possible, to do your best work possible.

Doing everything yourself will only cause you to burn out or draw focus away from the tasks that actually need your expertise and attention.

3. Ignoring your true passion and just going for the money

If you aren’t passionate about your business and the field you have chosen to open a company in, then you will never be successful.

 One of the biggest mistakes that any entrepreneur can make is ignoring their true passion and just opening a company to make money. I was passionate about penny stocks even though the rest of Wall St. wasn’t.

Many people urged me to “follow the money” and go into different sectors, but I already had success with penny stocks so I decided to stick with it. I made a free guide and now I’m the biggest teacher of this undeserved niche; in fact my own teaching business now makes 8 figures annually.

Entrepreneurs who do this get no fulfillment out of life, even if they are successful. I guarantee you money alone will not comfort you in the way that feeling fulfilled can.

Related: Avoid These 7 Mistakes When Pitching to Big-Time VCs

4. Not being adaptable

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If you want to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s ever-changing market, then you need to learn to be adaptable. If you are not adapting and you are putting too much expectation on one product or service, you will never succeed. You are putting all of your eggs in one basket, so to say.

Instead, you need to test, test and test again. Try various products and solutions. Explore new options. Go with what is working now, but always be ready to make changes in the future.

5. Ignoring social media

There are so many traditional industries that think they don’t need the Internet. Whether you are a package store or a dry cleaner, it doesn’t matter, you need the internet.

Why? Customers are on the internet and any business that wants to be successful needs to be where their customers are and put themselves face-to-face with their clients.

Related: Derek Thomas from Letsema Holdings on Learning from your Mistakes

There is a tech revolution right now and entrepreneurs need to use it. The internet and social media are very cheap tools for any entrepreneur to use, and most importantly, they can be very effective.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Timothy Sykes is an entrepreneur and a penny stock expert, trader and advocate. He has been featured on CNN, Fox News, CNBC and more and has spoken at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University.

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Start-up Advice

6 Resources For Start-ups Looking For Funding

Here are 6 online resources that can help you pay the bills and grow your business at the same time.

Josh Althuser

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Anyone who has ever considered starting their own business, or is currently in the process of doing so, knows that every little bit helps when it comes to making ends meet. Part of the charm of start-up culture is the low-budget creative atmosphere that seems to continually fuel innovation. But, eventually you’re going to have to keep the lights on and water running, and you can’t do that with creativity alone.

Whether you are a business that is just starting out, or already well on your way, there are plenty of online platforms that offer start-ups advice and funding opportunities. Here are 6 online resources that can help you pay the bills and grow your business at the same time.

1. Kickstarter

kickstarter-logoAt one point it seemed that anyone with a clever idea could make a video showing why the world should invest in the next big thing. While a lot of crazy projects have gotten funded over the years, utilising a crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter continues to be a viable way to get your project off the ground. Of course, if you want to reach your funding goals, it’s best that you have already done your market research, have a solid plan, and treat crowdfunding like a global VC.

Visit Kickstarter here.

Related: 4 Tips To Secure Funding For Your Start-up

2. Toptal

toptal-logoThose who are new to the start-up world might not know exactly where to start when it comes to looking for funding. While the freelance economy has grown immensely in the last 5 years, it’s important to know where to look.

Platforms like Toptal offer a wide range of freelance professionals that specialise start-up funding. Start-ups seeking a consultant on Toptal can also rest easy knowing that they carefully screen each candidate, ensuring they have the necessary professional background and experience to guarantee a successful project. 

Visit Toptal here.

3. Appbackr

appbackrIf you couldn’t already tell by the name, appbacker is definitely worth checking out if you are a start-up working in app technology for both Android and Iphone. The platform helps people discover different apps through the crowdsourcing model. Investors can scroll through apps from around the world, and if they like what they see, they can choose to invest. Funding incentive is based on an investor’s ability to purchase an app at the wholesale price, eventually making a profit once the app starts flying off the shelves in the official app store.

Visit Appbackr here.

Related: 7 Strategies For Development As An Entrepreneur

4. Gust

Gust logoInvestors are more likely to invest locally, which is why Gust is an attractive option for start-ups around the world, as they represent over eighty countries worldwide. Founded by a team of investors and lawyers, Gust knows their way around the start-up world.

With portals for both start-ups and investors, the platform seamlessly connects those seeking funds and those looking to invest. Start-ups can create a profile on Gust, and also have access to tools and tips to help them regulate finances and legal matters. 

Visit Gust here.

5. AngelList

angellist-logoNot just for investment, although that is a major part of the platform, AngelList is also a great place to find start-up jobs as well as recruitment. Those start-ups that are looking to expand can greatly benefit from this feature, while also getting their name out there to potential investors.

Their syndicate platform, led by technology experts make room for those who are looking to invest the chance to apply to a lead or directly invest in a fund.

Visit AngelList here.

Related: 6 Steps To Building A Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site In 60 Days

6. Seedrs

seedrs-logoFrom top corporations to big name accelerators, Seedrs aims to simplify the funding process for investors. Providing a vast network of investors from 48 different countries, who tap into an additionally impressive network of start-ups, there is plenty of room for collaboration on this platform. Seeders also encourages investors and start-ups to continue their relationship after the transaction is made. Their online and offline networks aim keep both start-ups and investors in the loop.

Depending at what stage of development your company has currently reached, exploring various funding options available to you is a worthwhile endeavour. Rather than blindly pitching investors, investigating each potential platform, whether it’s crowdfunding or a hiring a freelance funding expert, will save you time and resources so you can focus on the right type of investment based on your needs.

Visit Seedrs here.

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Start-up Advice

Picking Your Lane: Maximising Your Chances Of Success And Happiness

How do you choose? What do you prioritise? What’s right for me is almost certainly not right for you.

Anthony Miller

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Most entrepreneurs start businesses out of necessity.  They do what they have to.  They don’t think far ahead.  They fight fires every day.  They are the foundation of every economy all over the world.  Some succeed, some fail, few shoot the lights out.  Some are happy, some are not.

For me, there’s nothing more thrilling than building a business.  Seeing your ideas turn into reality.  Seeing your team exceed your expectations every day.  Seeing your customers’ lives improved by your products.

But, entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted.  You pour blood and sweat and tears into your business.  You get more than your fair share of punches in the nose.  It’s hard, but if you’re lucky and you persevere, the rewards are great.

So, how do you maximise your chances of getting into the ‘happy and shooting the lights out’ club?

Related: 9 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Live By

Picking the right lane – figuring out what you’re going to do – is probably the most important decision you’ll make.  Once you’ve figured that out, you can get down to the nitty gritty of picking your team and building your business.

But, how do you choose?  What do you prioritise?  What’s right for me is almost certainly not right for you.

sweet-spot-modelThe Sweet Spot Model, which has been drifting around the web for years, provides great guidance.  If you do what you love, the hard yards won’t feel like work.  If you do what you’re good at, you’ll beat or (even better) outstrip the competition.  If you provide something the world needs, you’ll feel a sense of purpose.  If someone will pay for it, you have a business.

When I co-founded Simply, I wanted to tick all 4 boxes AND work from Cape Town AND be extremely flexible (so I could prioritise family health).

I worked on three different ideas: A GIS-platform for solar and other utilities; a transaction platform for stokvels; and a cheeky online life insurance play.

The life insurance play quickly emerged as my best choice (it helped that my partners are top actuaries J):

  1. What I’m good at – doing start-ups, connecting people and teams, and using technology and data to solve business problems.
  2. What I love – working with people I like and trust to build businesses that solve hard problems and make the world a better place.
  3. What the world needs – most adult South Africans have one or more funeral policies. Few have life or disability cover and policies are often very expensive.  There’s a clear need for simple, convenient, well-priced life, disability and funeral cover.
  4. What someone will pay for – the market we’re targeting is huge – nearly R7.5Bn of new premium is written annually.

Related: 7 Strategies For Development As An Entrepreneur

With the stars lining up, we pressed the go button in early 2016.  It’s now twelve months since we launched to market and early signs are good:

  1. Our innovative, online products – Family Cover, Domestic Cover and Group Cover – have been well received and are improving all the time.
  2. We have an amazing, engaged team – inspired by the purpose of protecting vulnerable people.
  3. We’ve sold more than 4 500 policies to date, providing more than R2.5Bn of cover to more than 20,000 people.
  4. We’re based in Cape Town, working hard and having fun, and I seldom miss a swimming gala, netball game or opportunity to go mountain biking.

While picking the right lane is no guarantee of success, it definitely helps stack the odds in your favour. You’re going to need all the help you can get. So, take the time to pick your lane. I bet it’ll be worth the effort.

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Start-up Advice

9 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Live By

Entrepreneurship takes great perseverance. Failure is common. In fact, it is expected. Over 75% of venture-backed start-ups fail.

Jennifer Keithson

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Entrepreneurship takes great perseverance. Failure is common. In fact, it is expected. Over 75% of venture-backed start-ups fail.

There are great learning opportunities that present themselves when we fail, but we must be willing to continue on and try again in order to learn anything at all.

It can be quite an arduous task to strive for your own means, to create your own vision and to rally the support within yourself that starting and running your own business requires.

Thankfully, we’re not in it alone. The wisdom of others can greatly ameliorate the process learning from our missteps and hiccups.

Taking from sagacious investors, inventors and thinkers can help you pick yourself up and make something meaningful out of your quest to become a successful entrepreneur.

By studying the thought processes of other entrepreneurs, we can become more enriched and more aware of how to approach the challenges we face in business and in life.

Here are 9 quotes every entrepreneur should live by:

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