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The path of entrepreneurship is one abundant with adversity and requires a resilient character to overcome the setbacks. Mistakes in entrepreneurship can be financially damaging, discourage enthusiasm, and impede progress, all of which can be detrimental to the overall success of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a constant battle and mistakes will inevitably be made. But with every mistake, there is a hard lesson learned. Intelligent entrepreneurs will try to minimize their hard lessons by learning from the mistakes of others instead of having to make the mistakes for themselves.
Mistake #1: Pursuing a bad idea
Just because it is your idea does not mean it is a good idea. Try to objectively evaluate your idea in order to determine if it is truly worth pursuing. Know what you can handle and the scope of your capability. The best areas to look for opportunities are areas in which you have more knowledge than that of the average person.
Mistake #2: Not having a plan and a to-do list
Entrepreneurship is very much strategic. If you do not have a plan to reach an end goal, you will never reach the end goal. Picture what you are trying to accomplish and develop a list of smaller goals to get you there. This does not have to be a detailed plan, but rather a general direction for your entrepreneurial venture to go. Do not get lost in the details right away as they can be broken down into a to-do list for each small goal.
A plan without action is just that: a plan. Breaking apart the steps of your plan into a list of little tasks to do is a great way to make progress on your goal every day. The tasks should not go far into the future but should provide you with everything you need to accomplish one part of your plan. Secondary goals do not have to be accomplished at the same time. Tackle each secondary goal individually, but do not be afraid to tackle a couple at a time either as this may be appropriate depending on the details of your goal. Time is money; get moving.
Mistake #3: Jumping too soon
You may have a million-dollar idea and you may believe that there is little chance that it will fail, but immediately quitting your job in order to pursue an idea is a very large risk and potentially a very large mistake. Keep your income steady, develop your idea into its potential and make the transition to a full-time entrepreneur slow, steady, and controlled. Minimize your risk and develop a consistent income from your idea before any large moves are made.
Mistake #4: Going at it alone
No matter how resourceful a person is, it is always good to have a support network. Do not take any conversation with anyone for granted. You never know when you will need a tax person, a lawyer, an engineer, or a marketer to help you overcome obstacles in your entrepreneurial process. Know the value of your time and do not be afraid to have your money work for you by employing others or searching for outside help.
Mistake #5: Talking too much
Do not tell people your idea. Just because it is your idea doesn’t mean that you would be the best person at developing your idea. Anyone you tell can potentially take your idea and make it their own or give you competition. Before disclosing information to someone, be sure to have the proper protection for your intellectual property and have the necessary precautions in place (patents, nondisclosure agreements, etc).
Mistake #6: Not knowing your financial limitations and options
Oftentimes the entrepreneurial process can be financially burdening. Invest your money wisely and know that there are many other options out there for funding. Do not be afraid of debt as it is a tool if properly managed.
Approach your entrepreneurial journey with an open mind and a plan. Entrepreneurs need to be doers and thinkers in order to tackle the unique obstacles that present themselves. Every decision should be thoroughly evaluated and a strong strategy should be established.
Have any more thoughts on learning from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.