While there is no foolproof means to ensure you avoid all missteps when you are setting up your business, being a seasoned entrepreneur, there are certain things that I have observed, experienced and therefore learned that can be avoided – if we are forewarned.
Beyond just saving time and resources, reading through this list will give you wisdom about things you could do differently and that way, sharpen your business acumen and stay ahead of the pack.
Do not get into a business just because you love it. While passion is a good driver for many things, when it comes to business, let your love for something not be the only reason you do it. Here is why: There are many things we love but which we cannot do well. Therefore, my smart business advice is that look carefully to find what you are really good at and what people can pay you for and then, do that.
Do not decide your market using feelings. It is important to have a conviction about a business you want to get in but it is a huge mistake to set out without doing any market research. A good idea is to do a pilot test of your product or service before investing in it. This will save you the heartache when you invest in something with all the money you have saved and it collapses because in reality, the market needs are not what you “felt” they would be.
Do not do what everyone else is doing. Going the copycat way seems attractive, after all you believe that you will make your product or service just a little more interesting and voila! It’s not that simple. When you are starting your business, do not ignore your competition. What is the point of starting a groundnuts business on a street where every shop sells groundnuts? Except there is a new twist to your business, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Make sure you have a good sense of what your competition is doing, what you are going to do differently and if there is market for that.
Not taking into account your weaknesses. As human beings, we are gifted in different ways. When you start a business, remember to be self-aware. This means that you will understand what you are good at and you will not be a cog in your own wheel of progress. Here is an example, if your business of choice is running a salon and you are good at making hair but bad at interacting with clients because you are not a people person, it might be a good idea not to put yourself at the front desk. Get a warm, more charming personality to ensure your clients feel comfortable and welcome. If you are in a business where clients like fun and interaction, ensure you get someone who has the right people skills for that.