Starting and running a business is hard work and keeping your eye on the ball is very challenging and daunting. Success as an entrepreneur or a business is not a given. Success too is not handed out on a platter of gold. With the pressures of day to day running of a business, most businesses makes several mistakes preventing them from achieving their goals. I have listed 5 mistakes entrepreneurs and businesses need to avoid to become successful.

1. NEVER FOLLOW THE CROWD

To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly. – Benjamin Franklin

Replicating an existing successful business or person cannot guarantee success. Doing everything they did to be successful may not work for you. You need to understand what will work for you and your business to make you successful. You need to understand what you and your business set out to achieve and also understand the industry you are operating in. Using someone’s step by step guide will produce the same results for you. You must cut out your own way of achieving success.  Though having a mentor to motivate you and guide you is very helpful, their path to success will not automatically work for you.

 

2. ALWAYS THINKING SHORT TERM

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you are just starting a business or you are currently running a business you need to develop a long-term plan or strategy to retain your current customers and attract new customers. Most entrepreneurs miss the opportunity to plan and prepare. Most entrepreneurs do not have clarity of purpose or goal for their business. Thinking short term will not ensure the sustainability of your business. Keeping ahead of future trends is a recipe for success. This could be brought about by reviewing the goods and services you are providing to make sure that it fulfills all your clients’ present and future needs. A business needs to know where they want to go and what it needs to do to get there. Planning for the future allows businesses to foresee future risks and challenges and devise plans to overcome those perceived risks and challenges.

 

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3. DOING EVERYTHING YOURSELF

You have to do it yourself, And, you can’t do it alone – Martin Rutte

A business has various facets that require various expertise ranging from production to marketing to sales to accounting and research & development to name a few. As a business owner, you can’t just do everything in every section of your  business. There are situations where you don’t have any knowledge of how to complete a task. In cases of small sized businesses you might be able to do most of the business yourself but definitely not all. You have to think about what will take you a lot of time to do and analyse if you can get make more value in the business doing something else while you delegate other things you will add less value to other people. Major items to review are your time and quality of the task to be completed. This starts from hiring skilful staff or outsourcing tasks to do something as well or better than you to strengthen the effectiveness in the business. So learn to delegate while you focus on more valuable and important things.

In start-ups run by just one person with little funds can find it difficult to hire or outsource. But there are ways around this. They can find partners with the required skills that can sacrifice their time and skills in exchange for equity in the business.

 

4. TOO FOCUSED ON PERFECTION

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it” – Salvador Dali

Nothing is perfect.  Most people waste too much time trying to produce the perfect product or service before launching it into the market. The more time you spend perfecting a product or a service, you will lose revenue as well as lose the advantage to your competitors. Products and services can always be worked on after they have been put to the market. Perfection cannot be achieved. The quicker you get your product to market the quicker you start making revenue.

 

5. NOT FOCUSING YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICES ON YOUR CUSTOMERS

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

Most entrepreneurs are more concerned about making and spending money. They forget that the viability of their business depends on focusing on their customers by making sure their products or services met the needs of their customers. Most entrepreneurs want to put a product or service to the market just to make money without factoring if the product or service will solve the customers’ needs. Entrepreneurs and businesses need to intensely understand the changing needs of the customers. Device ways to engage with them, or discuss their needs, desires, wants, passions, and concerns.  You need to develop customer-centric policy and shift the emphasis of your business on your customers. Lifelong and loyal customers are happy customers and this will make your business grow long term.