Introduction: The Entrepreneurial Journey and Its Challenges
Being an entrepreneur can be a journey filled with excitement, challenges, and definitely opportunities. You may be thinking of starting a business or you’ve already started an exciting venture. However, it’s not without its risks and statistics speak for themselves. I was reading on Harvard Press that approximately 75 per cent of all startups in the United States actually failed.
But on a positive note. That means 25 per cent of those win, and I’m sure you’re going to be in that 25%. We know it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be a long journey and require a lot of hard work and dedication. Let’s investigate the common mistakes that us entrepreneurs make.
Shall we start?
Personal Anecdote: Lessons from a Failed Business Venture
I remember when I started one of my very first businesses. I was just a kid, actually 22 years old, I’d been made redundant from the fashion industry and had been given a relatively nice redundancy package. Now at 22, you can believe or make yourself believe that, you know, absolutely everything.
So I invested my money and savings into opening a small nightclub called the Lord Byron Experience. I’d obviously had plenty of experience in the past as I used to go to nightclubs. Good start. It had a capacity of only 50 people, but for me, that was like having a, or owning one of the big nightclubs like Passienda or Hippodrome.
Mistake 1: Lack of Diverse Skills and Seeking Mentorship
Having this mindset can be extremely dangerous because a business requires a wide range of skills and expertise. And it’s impossible to possess all of them, especially when you have no true business acronym or life skills. I won’t go into the whole story of my nightclub, um, but rest assured it was a business failure.
What would have been good is if I had been surrounded with people who had a different skill set. Would’ve be nice to have a mentor or advisor who would have helped me and been able to offer me guidance and support. You know, having the right people around you can make all the difference in success of your business.
When building your team, we must look for individuals with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. They need to share our vision and passion for business. Additionally, I think it’s a good idea to seek out advice from experienced professionals in your field or industry. The one thing that most of us like is to talk about what we actually know.
Mistake 2: Underestimating the Importance of Marketing
Another mistake that many entrepreneurs make is underestimating the importance of marketing. Just because you start a business doesn’t mean that you’ll have instant customers. It’s not like that sort of 80s film filled of dreams where they quote, if you build it, they’ll come. I suppose that’s why they’ve included the word dreams within the film title.
However, it would be nice if you could just build something and people would come in through the doors. Marketing is critical to the success of any business. And it’s not just about advertising or selling products.
Effective marketing involves creating a strong brand and messaging strategy that communicates your values, vision, and what makes your business unique, and we mustn’t forget about understanding your target audience and their needs so you can tailor your offerings to meet them.
When thinking about your marketing strategy is really important to think long term and budget accordingly. One thing that you can be sure of is that marketing can be extremely expensive, but you have to recognize it’s an investment in the future of your business.
I always say to clients without a strong marketing plan, it will be extremely difficult to generate awareness and interest in your products or services. I still have clients that put very little money in their marketing and they just say “I don’t understand why people aren’t buying stuff from my website.” And I say you have to spend more to gain more.
Mistake 3: Not Understanding Your Customers
I suppose one of the most significant mistakes that an entrepreneur will make is failing to understand their customers. Ultimately. Look, success of any business is determined by its ability to solve a problem and provide value to its customers. I’m not wanting to sound repetitive, but you need to understand your target audience and their motivations, their pain points and needs.
You need to gain insights, and this is done by conducting market research, which includes surveys and focus groups for many of the large corporations I’ve worked for, such as Canada Life, Fidelity Investments, Mercedes Benz, and so on, before releasing any products or services, I insisted that we held Focus groups to gain the understanding of what we propose to do to a living, working group audience.
Market Research: Learning from Large Corporations
We wouldn’t just do one focus group. There’ll be a selection from the idea to the creative developments to prototyping. Getting feedback at each stage enabled us to create the right product for the right people. Now, we don’t necessarily have the same budgets as those giants, but if you keep in mind what I just said to you, and you can associate your products with something that one of those giants are doing, then you’ll know.
They have spent thousands, if not millions on product development.
Taking Inspiration from Industry Giants for Business Strategies
So for example, you’re building a new e commerce website. It’s all very well liking the look and feel of a small e commerce website and saying “Oh, I like this specific website, can you build it to look like that but with my brand colours?” but they may not have the understanding of the customer journey as much as the likes of Big chain.
Like John Lewis, what I’m saying is look into these giants and see where they align their products and whether there is scope for you to align yours in a very similar way. Hey, if you get it right, you’ll be the one that people will focus on and start looking at what you’re doing.
Conclusion: Embracing the Entrepreneurial Challenge
So being an entrepreneur can be challenging, but incredibly rewarding. And it’s definitely a journey that I personally love.
We know there’s no guarantee of success, but at least by avoiding some of the common mistakes that I’ve mentioned in this episode, it may just keep you in that 25 per cent of successful business ratio and I want you to increase your chances of building a successful and thriving business.
Remember it takes time, effort and dedication, but with the right mindset and approach, let me assure you. Anything is possible.
Final Thoughts and Invitation for Engagement
Anyway, that’s the end of today’s podcast. To gain some more business tips and the likes, remember to subscribe, like, and even recommend us to your friends. And by all means, if you have any questions or would like to be a guest on the show, you’ll find my details in the description below.
Now you all have a wonderful evening, and I’ll speak to you on Monday. Bye bye for now.