Last week, we went over a few basic mistakes people make when starting out as entrepreneurs. This week, I’m going to focus on the mistakes that one can make prior to embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship.
Not enough people spend time talking about the mistakes they have made in their journey. That’s partly because we are all so enamoured with the success of it all that we don’t want to hear how difficult and uphill the journey was to get that that Ferrari, or build that empire.
Truth is, mistakes are made every single day. When you learn from these mistakes, you’re positioning yourself for a better future. You will make plenty of mistakes too, irrespective of how great a planner you are. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn what needs to be learned, and move forward.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Formal Education is not useless. Yes, there are success stories of brilliant people who rose from the metaphorical ashes of ‘college-dropout’ to Forbes Lists. The fact that you can probably name all the successful college dropouts just goes to show how few they are. Whether you are young or old, education is a key pillar in your journey and it will make your journey that little bit clearer. Trust me, the more clarity you can achieve on you entrepreneurial journey – the better.
TIP: Don’t drop out of school thinking you are ready for entrepreneurship. You most likely are not, and you will regret not having the training and eventual paper qualifications that school provides.
Think you will make a good entrepreneur because You don’t work well with others? think again. Yes, you’ll probably start your journey as your own boss as a one man team. I did. When I got calls, I would change my accent and tone and be the secretary, then ‘put you through’ to my Personal Assistant (who was also me – with another accent), and then finally to ‘Heshan’. It sounds ridiculous but you do what you have to. Thing is, that stage does not last forever. Eventually you need those people to really exist. And a group of solid managers. And people working under them and maybe even above them. You get my point; you need to be a team player.
TIP: Being a lone ranger will only take you so far. You need to embrace a team for the value they can bring in growth. You have to be a leader. If your team ever feels like you are the kind of boss who would rather do all the workm they’ll feel unappreciated and will leave. Deligate, motivate and inspire those in your organization – You can’t do it alone.
And finally, you most likely won’t get funding for your business. Not at the start anyway. See, you hear stories of companies raising round of financing and you think it will happen to you. What you don’t hear about are the hundreds of thousands of companies that pitch to investors every year and take home nothing. Just because you have a business doesn’t mean you are going to receive funding – so erase that thought entirely from your mind. You need to work to deserve it. You need to show the investor you are worthy of their money, not just because you think you work hard or have a good idea.
Tip: If you are not willing to get started on your business and grow it, but need an investor to help you from day one – you will never get the money you are looking for. If you are not willing to put money in your business, why should an investor?
To wrap this up, let me quote technologist Rahul Varshneya. To succeed as an entrepreneur you need to have the THREE P’s.
PASSION – it will get you through the times when you’ll really want to quit and trust me those times will come thick and fast.
PERSISTENCE – that undying drive inside you to figure out the solution, find new markets, and destroy the status quo when it comes to your industry. You’ll need it more than you think, especially when the NOs to meetings start coming in, or the unreplied mails you’ve sent.
A PROBLEM – every business that has gone on to be great, solved a problem. Registering the business, getting a fancy logo and website or business cards were secondary to all that. At the heart of it all, you need to be solving a problem that really affects people. If you do that, you are on to something.
Best of luck!