How Startup Entrepreneurs Think They Are Doing Things Right, But Aren’t

February 28, 2014

9:00 am

Did you ever hear entrepreneurs making statements like “I won’t give up stake in my company” while there’s a clear need for another partner? Did you catch an entrepreneur saying, “My company is worth 2 million dollars” when there isn’t even a dollar’s worth in sales or when the valuation just seems overboard?

Entrepreneurs do have to wear multiple hats. Do they always wear them right?

Not quite.

It’s painful to see dreams getting squashed, hopes getting derailed, and aspirations drying out. It’s just so not easy to get around the fact that entrepreneurship has so much more to it than just taking off with an idea and making it happen.

You could be an entrepreneur for a host of reasons: maybe you took off after an idea was born thanks to your personal experience. You could have had the “aha moment” or maybe you are passionate and would like to make a difference.

Yet, things won’t go as planned sometimes. You’ll hit roadblocks. You’ll find out that what you thought was to be exciting and intriguing would soon turn out to be a work-related lemon and that it saps you of your energy, passion, and the very calling for entrepreneurship.

It’s just the way it is. All this is when you approach entrepreneurship the right way. Get it wrong and it gets worse. Here are some stupid things entrepreneurs do and you certainly shouldn’t:

You always need a business case, always

Gina of Soul Calling, Inc. – who also appeared on Shark Tank – is an entrepreneur who had a really good reason to start her business. She also had a good idea. On top of that, she also had passion and determination. Yet, her request for funding was rejected by the sharks because although Gina had everything going for her, it’s still a business that would need a “business case” for investment. Sales, inventory, profit margins, and a whole lot more. Gina didn’t have much of a business case. So, it didn’t work.

Ideas are worth nothing until you execute them. Even mere execution isn’t enough unless you can establish a business case for a thriving market and a great product/service proposition.

Thousands of entrepreneurs put in everything they have only to crash and burn. Don’t be that kind of an entrepreneur.

It’s always about sales

You could start a business and run it for years. Maybe you just have an idea and you’d like to check out the potential for this business. No matter what your intent is and where you stand with respect to your entrepreneurial journey, there’s only one surefire thing that’ll determine the potential of your business: it’s called sales.

Without orders in hand — not commitments, your opinions, or vague promises – you don’t have a business to speak of. You’d need those orders and you’d need a lot of those. Sales (even unpaid or unfulfilled) will determine the demand for your products and services.

Nothing else will do.

Going the “me-too” way

Lack of creativity could kill. Starting a “me-too” business – defined, as a business that’s a mere replication of another similar business – is the worst kind of startup idea you could have. It’s not to say that every idea should be as original as the wheel. You can certainly get inspired by ideas around you or from another business itself, but the best way to get away from the “me too” trap is to give the idea a twist.

  • Find a better way to market, operate, or deliver products and services.
  • Find a way to do it faster or smarter.
  • Maybe you could disrupt an existing industry.
  • Add your personality and charm to an otherwise plain business model.

The No pivot syndrome

Getting too attached to a business idea is one of those worst mistakes an entrepreneur can do.

You could think of starting your business with a particular idea and goal in mind but often you’d have to pivot. Some of the best-known startups and other companies have all pivoted (in some cases, more than once) to get where they are today. Did you know that the popular photo-sharing service that Instagram is now known for was just a feature among many others? Everyone starts out with an idea but it’s only the successful entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to pivot, change, and adapt based on what the markets need.

The “non tech-savvy” excuse

“Oh, I am not tech savvy”
“I am not so much into technology”
“I don’t understand these tools and apps. I’ll just do it my way”

All those statements will hurt.

Today, your business will ride on two legs: the spirit of entrepreneurship and technology. Depending on the size of your business and the target market it caters to, you’d be left far behind in the entrepreneurial race (oh yes, it’s a race – maybe for yourself much more than for others) if you don’t make technology a focal point of your startup. The use of technology for business is not a matter of choice anymore.

Either you do it or you don’t.

Every aspect of your business will demand technology infusion. Your marketing will demand lead generation tools such as pop-up software, opt-in forms, and landing pages.

Your customer management process will require CRM tools such as Infusionsoft, Salesforce, or SugarCRM; finance and accounting might need a solution like Freshbooks or Intacct and project management will necessitate collaboration tools like WorkZone , Asana, or Trello. Watch an episode of Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den and you’ll feel the pain of entrepreneurs turning their back and walking out of the door. Read a story online and you’ll see how much it hurts.

Sometimes, the biggest setback in your business can be “you”. There has to be a way for you to effectively correct yourself. If you can’t, then fire yourself. Perhaps, you can find partners who think differently.

Such are the dangers of being adamant, resolute, or absolutely unyielding. In business, you’d have to what works; not what you want. You’d have to listen to what you really need and not what you “thought” you needed.

Are you doing any of these mistakes in your entrepreneurial journey? Are you pushing yourself too hard in a direction you didn’t even want to take? Is your unyielding nature hurting you more than you care to admit?

Tell us your story.

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Dipti Parmar is the Publication Strategist & Account Manager at Preceptist. She’s been journeying through the world of digital marketing for more than six years and is a blogger and networker.

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