With the launch of ‘Start Up India, Stand Up India’ initiative this weekend, many would-be entrepreneurs who were earlier waiting in the wings will be more willing to take the entrepreneurial leap and start their own ventures.
But even the most experienced professionals will agree that entrepreneurship is a tricky choice to make. On one hand there are so many things that you have to do to achieve success and growth, while on the other there is an equally lengthy list of things that you absolutely must NOT do at any cost if you want your venture to survive.
So, in a bid to empower the budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge to make the most informed and viable business decisions, here are a few things that you should avoid like a plague if you want your venture to succeed.
1. Half-prepared entry
This is one of the most elementary mistakes a first-time entrepreneur can make, and yet it is one of the most easily avoidable ones. Often, while starting their ventures, entrepreneurs can be swayed by their own vision so much that they fail to factor in several key requirements to make their vision a reality.
Do you have enough employees to support your business? A viable revenue model? Do you know who your competitors are in the market? Any future strategies that will help you evolve past the initial stage? All these things need to be addressed before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.
2. Ignore the value of analytics and research
Another easily avoidable mistake that most entrepreneurs starting their own businesses make is discounting the pivotal role data analytics and market research can make to your business.
Data analytic tools have improved to such a great extent today that they can often identify and predict consumer behavioural patterns and market trends well before they even occur. Leveraging them could give your business a big boost by identifying the strategic opportunities for your venture.
Moreover, a market research can also help you in identifying the target demographic for your product or service, which will make it easier for you to decide on the optimal brand positioning.
3. Modelling your business on short-term trends:
Jumping on board a particularly popular bandwagon is a needless pit that entrepreneurs often end up jumping into. Needless to say, most of these startups often fail to survive beyond the initial few years.
In a digital age where people have the attention span of a goldfish, what is popular today may not be popular tomorrow. Therefore, if you are in for the long haul, always devise your products to address market gaps instead of trends.
4. Make more than just another job
Most entrepreneurs start their ventures to ‘work for themselves’ and escape the tedium of their professions. This sort of approach can hamper the growth of a start-up. Entrepreneurs must always look to evolve their businesses beyond just another ‘job’ that they do and continuously work on expanding their business.
5. Focusing too much on the idea and not enough on the team
A great business has a great idea at its core, but at the same time it also has a great team working hard to make that idea a success.While the idea that you come up with might be very good in itself, you also need to hire individuals that can support your venture’s longterm vision.
6. Square pegs in round holes
This covers everything from hiring to incorrect business decisions. As a first-time entrepreneur you will require individuals who work as an employee as well as independent freelance contractors for one-off tasks.Both have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks; a contractor getting paid on a pro-rata basis might fail to meet deadlines, while having an employee is a full-time drain on your resources. The difference lies in identifying what to choose as the best-fit for your venture.
Most entrepreneurs also end up taking on multiple responsibilities to cut down operational costs. This practice should be avoided, as it leaves you with no time to build your business. Moreover, follow the tenet of ‘you get what you pay for’. Do not compromise on the quality of your service to save a few pennies.
7. Over emphasis on a certain business function
A successful business is a seamless confluence of several vital functions – sales, administration, marketing, finance and operations.End up concentrating on only one area of your business and you end up neglecting the others. This can be detrimental to a budding start-up.
8. Focusing on short-term gains
Many entrepreneurs often lose sight of the bigger picture in order to secure short-term gains. The effort, instead, should be on building lasting professional relationships with clients in order to ensure repeatable business. Will taking a cut in fees ensure the client will be associated with your venture for the long haul? Do it.
9. Inflexible business model
One of the most frequent mistakes that first-time entrepreneurs make is getting too attached to their idea. It sounded good when you told your colleagues about it and it looked good on the drawing board. However, always create an agile business model that will help your startup survive the rough and tumble of the real market.
10. Ignoring the importance of contracts and legal framework:
Never, ever, ever get into any arrangement without defining the contract. You and your clients mutually decide and agree upon certain terms and conditions when entering into a business deal; a contract is a documented proof of that agreement.
It often becomes your saving grace when the client expectations start to strain your budget more than your initial operational outlay. The benefits of a legal advisory, whether associated full-time with the start-up or on a consultation basis, cannot be stressed enough in these cases. Always ensure that you cover your legal bases in all your business dealings with clients or auxiliary service providers.