7 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes You Can Avoid

The failure rate for startups over time is staggering, something that can be disheartening for people planning to start their own business. This means that learning a thing or two about what entrepreneurs that came before you learned from their challenges can help you avoid disastrous mistakes.

This can be as vital as figuring out what you need to do before expanding sales, to something as basic as learning to say no to additional tasks or responsibilities. To help you succeed, seven members of Young Entrepreneur Council, below, share some of the biggest mistakes they’ve made as an entrepreneur and how new entrepreneurs can avoidmaking the same kinds of errors.

Photos courtesy of individual members.

YEC members share a few costly mistakes you can avoid making.

1. Learn to Say ‘No’

One of the biggest lessons I learned is that my time is precious. Which is why I’ve gotten much better at saying “no.” When you become an entrepreneur, you end up working far more than you ever have before while juggling more responsibilities than you’ve ever had as well. If you can’t say “no” and feel the need to say “yes” to everyone, you’ll burn out before you get to keep all those promises. – Han-Gwon Lung, Tailored Ink

2. Develop a Strong Client Base First

Don’t focus too heavily on expanding sales without having a strong execution process in place. This results in a business model without a strong foundation that’s unable to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s important to build a sustainable client base and to dedicate time to perfecting delivery to these clients before trying anything else. – Jas Saran, G Web Pro Marketing Inc.

3. Choose Your Partners Well

I partnered with a company who was great at sales, but not so great in fulfillment. This resulted in hurting our company’s reputation, and it led to a huge financial loss to remedy the issues. – Mike Kamo, Neil Patel Digital LLC

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Hire Help

Hire help fast enough, especially for needs that aren’t core competencies. It was hard to think of our hard-earned profit going to someone outside of the three of us partners, even when it came to something that was totally outside of our strengths, like accounting. It’s been a great learning for us. Know your strengths, and hire help to do what you’re not good at (or don’t like to do). – Amanda Gregory, Catalyst Marketing Agency, LLC

5. Weigh Your Decisions Carefully

Be careful about pulling the trigger too quickly on decisions. I’m not saying to dwell and dwell on for weeks, but don’t make a major call in an instant. Give it 24 hours and you’ll be amazed at how much better you become at making the right calls without having to go back and fix something later. – Clint Haynes, NextGen Wealth

6. Set Uncomfortable Goals

When launching your business, it is important to have goals that are based on statistics and projections. However, if you solely base your goals on such projections, you’ll soon come to realize that you may have underestimated your abilities, and your goals, in fact, become a limiting factor for you. Think big with every goal you set for your business. Embrace the paranoia that these large goals bring to you as an entrepreneur, and become comfortable with setting uncomfortable goals. – Omar Zarabi, Port53 Technologies, Inc.

7. Focus on One Thing

In the beginning you want to do everything for everyone — however, entrepreneurs have limited resources. To be a great founder you need three things: focus, focus and focus. Thus, you have to decide what is your focus and ignore everything else: one customer, one problem, one market, one metric. I ask myself, “what can I subtract, rather than add?” – Sergiu Matei, Travod


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