By: Tameka Bazile @tamekabazile.co
Deciding to start your own business is both incredibly rewarding and widely challenging at the same time. Entrepreneurship, at it’s core, is an endless loop of trial and error, ultimately culminating in a sustainable brand that you’ve built from the ground up. The way I see it, ownership is like cooking, you add some seasonings here and there -- sometimes it’s too salty, sometimes it’s missing a little something -- but when you get that recipe down you create the perfect meal.
Any good business owner (and cook) knows that the fastest way to a bomb meal is having a well curated recipe. What better way to eat quickly than to follow the directions of those who have done it before yourself? One of the most beneficial steps you can take for your business is to learn from the common small business mistakes others have made. This way, you eliminate the time needed to bring you success, increasing your visibility, and by extension revenue, much quicker.
Of course, mistakes happen, but some of the more common mistakes that you should avoid incude:
1. INVESTING IN THE WRONG THINGS
The fastest way to lose faith in a great business idea is to monetarily invest too much into it too soon. There are a myriad of resources online that allow you to manage your business, organize your ideas and maintain client satisfaction FOR FREE, thus lowering your startup costs, while allowing you to make money immediately.
Some of my favorites are:
TRELLO -- a visual organization board that you can use to manage your business systems, clients, services, etc.
WAVEAPPS -- financial software designed for entrepreneurs to manage their accounting, invoicing and receipt tracking.
INSTAGRAM -- a free social media platform that focuses on visual appeal to build community and connection. Using social media to market your business is a fun and free way to identify and connect with your ideal client and build a brand for free. Although Instagram is my platform of choice, you can also invest your time in other platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc.
AND.CO -- a business management software designed to help freelancers, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs manage time tracking, invoicing, payments, proposals, contracts, task management and income and expense tracking.
2. ABSORBING AN OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF INFORMATION
Intaking content from a million different sources is exactly why you are afraid to move in your business. You’re following a million and one “business coaches” on Instagram, while consulting google every 30-seconds and reading fifty-eleven books on entreprenuership. That information overload is actually limiting you in ways you likely haven’t noticed. Those distractions are making it exceptionally difficult to make decisions for your business and ultimately, you'll end up at a standstill.
This is called Analysis Paralysis. It’s the result of overwhelming yourself to the point of mental exhaustion causing no forward movement. The excess of information causes you to think, rethink then overthink your decision making, thus halting your forward movement.
Is that you? See my tips on ditching the overwhelm here.
3. TOO MUCH OVERTHINKING + TOO LITTLE SELF-DISCIPLINE
The first rule of starting your own business is to just do it. Start talking about your business on social media, spreading the word amongst family and friends, and sharing your endeavors with the world. Just do it.
Many people sit on a great idea out of fear of not knowing where to “start.” A great business has always started with a great idea. The steps to make that idea a reality are different for everyone but your journey, your business, your sales do not begin until others know about what you have to offer.
But, once that ball gets rolling, give it a specific path to follow.
Another big no-no in this two part mistake is failing to plan for growth accordingly. Creating a business plan to guide your growth means knowing your business goals, who your ideal client may be, how you plan to continue reaching and serving them and so much more. Your business plan is your roadmap to success and no business was ever sustainable by way of friends and family only.
Plan to grow.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as an entrepreneur! Those mistakes are what propels you forward to your big wins -- whether that’s more clients, higher sales or whatever. However, you should be afraid to make mistakes that are easily avoidable or condemning to your business in the long run.
Learn from others -- explore the mistakes they’ve made, ask questions and apply those answers to your business.