The fear of failure is extremely common among entrepreneurs. Unfortunately for most of us, starting a business does not come with a user handbook. As you can imagine, a new entrepreneur is bound to make mistakes. And that is absolutely fine. The difference between successful and unsuccessful business owners is that the former have the ability to turn each mistake into a useful learning experience.
As much as I want to encourage everybody to embrace their missteps, there are cases in which one can easily be dodged. Here I have compiled a few tips on how to avoid a few of the most typical mistakes the newly self-employed tend to make.
1. Leave your day job when you feel ready . Keeping your old job at first to ensure a viable income from your new firm is the wise thing to do. However, once you start earning enough money to keep you going, it is time to quit your 9-5 and start focusing all your energy on your new business. If you want that venture to become a real business, instead of a side gig or a hobby, it needs to become your sole focus.
2. Find out what you are good at and stick to it . It is typical for business owners to become confused as to what exactly their role within their new company should entail. I often find that new owners feel like they should be handling everything and be competent in a number of different things. While it is true that you would need a basic understanding of everything your business deals with, the only way this is going to work is if you find an area or two you have the most confidence in and stick to that. Gathering all sorts of different skills can only disorientate you and is really unnecessary.
3. Be visible . Grasp every single opportunity to talk to people about what it is you are launching. They might not be directly interested in your offering, but you cannot know who this person might refer you to or what they might need in the future. Simply having people who know you and your business can be instrumental in the long term. No matter how busy you might be, never miss the chance to network.
4. Be customer-centric . When launching a new product, it is tempting to go for the most innovative idea you can think of or the latest technological achievement. However, smart product development suggests thinking about what the customers want first. In other words, unless your product adds value to your potential clients, it is guaranteed to fail no matter how cutting edge it is.
5. Spend money wisely . Spending too much or too little is one of the most common problems entrepreneurs come across. You already know you are supposed to spend money during the first few months to get the business going. How much is enough, however? Knowing where to invest is key. My suggestion is to focus your initial investment on good people and product quality. Whether it is staff you employ or third-party contractors you have chosen to do business with, dealing with knowledgeable people can and will determine the future of your company. Ensuring a certain level of quality on your products can also guarantee returning customers.
6. Invest in marketing . Over the years, I have come across countless new business owners who are dedicated that marketing is a luxury solely large corporations can afford to enjoy. That mentality is one of the main reasons why nine out of ten start-ups will fail. The reality is that marketing is crucial during the first steps of any business and under no circumstances should you skip it or rely on word-of-mouth.
7. Seek feedback . Chances are you love your product, website, customer service policy, etc. Ever wondered what other people might think though? Asking friends, family, old colleagues and customers for feedback is essential when you are running a new business. Other people are able to see things from a different perspective and their opinion can be invaluable, thus, I would definitely recommend asking for feedback with every chance that you get.
I hope these tips will save you some time whilst guiding you in the right direction with regards to all those fundamental decisions that lie ahead of you. If you are already an entrepreneur, I would love to hear all about your experience, any mistakes you might have made and how you handled them, so please feel free to comment below.
This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.
I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.
"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."
The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.
When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.
The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!
'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."
However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.
I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)
It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.
Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!
Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.
Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.
I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?
Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.
First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’,
‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular
marketing specialisation because I understand it
often causes confusion. I have picked the
term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most
accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never
proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a
detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who
A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.
Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.