By Xenios Thrasyvoulou of PeoplePerHour
Nobody's perfect, especially not a freshly budding entrepreneur. Because however perfect your concept may be, and however much you may believe that there is no man better for the project than you, this does not make you bulletproof.
So make sure you’ve made note of these 8 mistakes I’ve seen many an entrepreneurs make in their first run. Mainly first hand…
Micromanaging – A classic. Entrepreneurs, as perfectionists, have a habit of getting involved in every detail of the process, causing us to lose track of the big picture. To make sure you don’t fall into this trap, keep a firm project plan and a balanced perspective.
Non-Compliance - As a maverick, I sympathise with every entrepreneurs urge to get started and keep momentum, regardless of what is known as “red tape”. When we come up with our new idea, we consider it a game changer, and get frustrated with the restrictions that our industries various governing bodies set. A big mistake I’ve seen is when someone considers themselves above these regulations and storm ahead, but non-compliance is a rookie mistake. You will always get caught, and it will always set you back. So at least try to colour inside the lines when it comes to adhering to industry standards.
Staying Local – If you live in London, you may be tempted to set up shop and market locally at first with the intention of “branching out” at a later date.
But you limit yourself this way, so think big when it comes to marketing! Most new businesses are not based in bricks and mortar and thanks to the dot.com bubble you have direct access to consumers worldwide. Websites like PeoplePerHour connect small-medium businesses with freelancers everywhere. There’s no need to limit yourself locally.
Taking Too Much Advice – Taking input from those around you is great, but sometimes those in the know can be jaded or stuck in their ways. Your vision and fresh take on things is why you’re starting your business and they aren’t, so take criticism on the chin. It’s great to ask around, but not all advice should automatically alter your business model.
... Or not Enough – Equally, not allowing your idea and perspective to evolve is foolish. It’s tough to know when to take advice and what to ignore, but going with your gut is risky. A good rule is that, if you’re hearing the same concerns from multiple sources, there’s probably something in it.
Being The Customer – Don’t serve yourself. Although some of the best ideas for start ups have come from a person who has recognised a gap in the market due to their own needs, remember that although this is a great way to achieve inspiration, that’s where it should end. Do your market research and keep your mind open. Do not design the product for your specific needs and ignore what your potential client base needs. Set yourself up to serve your clients, not yourself.
Hiring The Wrong People – Don’t hire friends. Please don’t make me say that again. New entrepreneurs tend to get all excited about setting up shop for themselves and a big part of this is being able to choose who to work with. But your circle of acquaintances is very rarely going to give you the talent you need and deserve, so branch out. Go through the recruitment process like a pro. Don’t just offer the job to your mate Dave.
... Or none at all – No man is an island. Start strong, and don’t fall into the trap of refusing to make smart hires because you don’t believe your budget allows for it. You don’t need to put all of your eggs in one basket. You can split up your needs into bite-sized jobs and then farm them out to hungry freelancers. The fastest growing start-ups recognise that one person can’t do it all, and that taking advantage of hiring the most enthusiastic freelancers out there can really kick start your business. For practically pennies.
But overall, the main secret to success for a start up is to be an evolutionist. Ensure that you're flexible and ready to react quickly, and your journey will lead you to innovation, success and a healthy turnover.