No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and as the saying goes, “if you aren’t making mistakes then you probably aren’t doing anything.” At least that’s what I tell myself when I make them as I know it’s a daily thing for me. As an entrepreneur, you are not going to be perfect and mistakes will happen – you’re human after all. However, there are vital mistakes that can be avoided if you make it a point to not do them in the first place.
Here are the top eight mistakes that can be avoided as an entrepreneur in their business startup or model.
This is not only smart but also a crucial element to a company’s effectiveness in the job market. Make sure that your departments, and their teams, understand what each other does and how to step in should an employee not be there to complete it.
Events happen, even if you think that it won’t happen to you (famous last words) or someone on your team. Have your employees and their departments be prepared just in case anything comes up that could affect the effectiveness and seamless workflow of your company. This will only help your company should an issue arise where a person needs to step in to cover a job that isn’t their own. You will be happy that nothing was missed, and your customers will be happy that nothing was held up while someone was out of the office.
Trying to save pennies by tripping over dimes
I once had a restaurant owner tell me this when I was trying to book a luncheon for my manager. We got to talking about running a business and he said that while it’s important to watch how you spend your money, sometimes you hinder yourself by trying to go too cheap. While I think it’s important to have solid technology and imperative items that work such as computers, printers and phones, I don’t believe you need to spend over $1,000 on an office chair for each person in your company (that’s just me).
In contrast, replacing pivotal items with something that will need to be replaced in a few years anyway is also not a financially good decision. For example, replacing a 10-year-old item with something that’s seven-years-old and has minor upgrades to the one you are about to replace just doesn’t make financial sense.
Make sure to understand the return of investment on your bigger purchases, along with the efficiency it’s supposed to assist with. Having a pulse on the purchasing aspect of what’s getting bought in your company will not only help save money, but also assist with not spending pennies while tripping over thousands of dollars.
Not asking for help and spreading yourself too thin
I get it. I know it’s hard to depend on people and in not being in control of all company tasks. However, that is not only impossible but also unhealthy for you both mentally and physically as a business leader. It is okay (it’s more than okay) to ask others to assist you for a project or job at hand, that’s why you hired employees, right?
Remember to take care of yourself. Take the time to step away from something if you find your concentration lacking to the point where you can’t think straight. Having a fresh set of eyes may not only be better for the project, but also for you with getting a new perspective on something you never would have seen if you didn’t ask for assistance in the first place.
This is something that most people agree is not only annoying but also unbearable to deal with at work. In a previous article that I had written about animal leadership versus human leadership, I talked about the day of a lion. An alpha male lion spends almost his whole day sleeping because he knows the smaller tasks at hand are being handled by those he delegated them to. As a leader, you must let go of the jobs you hired others to do and let your employees be in control of those tasks.
As an entrepreneur it is easy to want to oversee all aspects of your company, after all, it is your company. However, micromanaging all aspects of your company is not only draining but also suffocating to your team. If you feel the need to micromanage, then it seems to send the message that you don’t trust your team to get the job done. When people don’t feel trusted to do the job at hand, then it makes them question their own ability and expertise to do the job that they were hired to do in the first place.
Grandiose ideations that go nowhere
It’s great if you want to expand your company to Antarctica, but if it’s something that isn’t going to happen in the next few years, then don’t chase that dream. Spending time and energy on aspirations that probably won’t lead anywhere is simply not business smart. I get that some entrepreneurs like to dream big, but there is a difference between dreams and practicality.
Do not spend your team’s time and your company’s resources chasing the dreams that are better off left in your sleep. Your employees will grow tired of going to places that aren’t going anywhere. This will just make them feel their time isn’t worth anything and that they aren’t partaking in something meaningful for their company.
These upcoming generations want to be involved in the overall bigger picture and mission to a company. If you give them projects that don’t amount to anything, and are a waste of their time, they will get discouraged and will not be afraid to leave your company in favor of a job that utilizes their time and expertise much more effectively.
Extinct marketing or no marketing at all
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone mention a local restaurant, but I have no idea who they are or where they are located. In a small town, that’s a pretty big deal since it’s hard to get lost in the shuffle of a town that only has so many options.
In the world where publicity can be free, more accessible (i.e. social media) and easily used, it’s hard to comprehend why people go without it. While the realm of social media resources can be overwhelming, for some young workers, it’s a job they want to take on and will thrive at doing. Believe me when I say that many younger people entering the workforce would gladly take on a role like this and will be grateful that an opportunity like this came about.
Afterall, it is better to try social media, even if you don’t really know how, then choose not to do anything at all. You only hurt your company’s presence by not getting yourself out there in some way to your community, both for your business’ reputation and your own.
Not giving back to those who make your company thrive
If you want to bring morale down quicker than anything simply not give back to the people that help make your company run. Making their goals unattainable, not celebrating accomplishments and giving constant negative feedback without any positive words is not only degrading, but just simply ungrateful.
Always ensure that you are doing things to show your appreciation to your employees. Doing an “Employee of the month,” or Christmas luncheons can be simple, yet meaningful, perks to your employees. People love to be appreciated and they especially love to be recognized for their hard work (who doesn’t like that?). To ignore those employees that work for you, and not show your appreciation for all that they do, is one mistake that you really can’t afford to make, especially in a competitive job market.
Not taking a vacation and time for yourself
Most importantly, do not make the mistake of forgetting about yourself and your own well-being. Even the highest level of CEO’s take time to refresh and enjoy some time away from their company.
As an entrepreneur, it’s hard to imagine your company running without you there (FYI – it will most likely be okay). However, it is imperative for you to take some time to enjoy your life outside of your company. Will you look back on your life and think about all the successful business transactions you made? Probably not. You will remember the good times with family, friends and those you are closest to outside of the office.
Forgoing a vacation to work is a mistake on so many levels. Life is about the moments outside of the workplace, even if it seems that we are there more than home. Don’t be afraid to let go and have fun, besides, you only have one life to live and it shouldn’t all be spent at work.