Entrepreneurship is a journey, like any good adventure should be.
The entrepreneurship journey is filled with beautiful successes and ugly failures. What can’t be overlooked are the mistakes.
However, these are the valuable lessons we learn through life experiences. For entrepreneurs, some of the hardest falls come from these five mistakes.
1. Not identifying a clear target audience
As an entrepreneur, you must identify the target audience for every product or service you sell. Without one, you will likely flounder, wasting precious resources, like time and money.
Entrepreneurs need to have a clear vision of who their ideal customer is, including their gender, marital status, ethnicity, income level, living location, and even personal likes and dislikes.
Think of it this way. If your ideal customer was sitting across the table from you, what would they look like? How would they act? What qualities make them special?
Customers are the reason we are in business in the first place. Understanding who that ideal customer is, what their needs are, and how you can best serve them is key to creating a business that will thrive today, tomorrow, and on into the future.
2. Not making the customer experience a priority
Not taking the time to focus on your customers’ experience is a sure-fire way to fail in business. Outline, plan and execute every single step of the customer journey – from the minute they show interest in your product or service to their life after they make a purchase.
That’s right. Post-purchase.
It’s our job as entrepreneurs to ensure that our customers are provided with an amazing experience every single step of the way, even after the sale is complete. After all, we are in the business of not only attracting but keeping and building a loyal customer base.
Create the ultimate customer experience by setting clear expectations and staying true to your promises. Add respect and kindness into your plan, and you’ll create customers for life.
3. Believing in the idea, “set it and forget it.”
Our world is ever-changing. This is why it is never wise for entrepreneurs to follow the adage, “set it and forget it.” We must grow and flex and change with our environment around us if we expect to succeed.
There is no room for complacent entrepreneurs or stale business models.
A big part of our adventure is looking to the next big thing. The next big product or service enhancement. The next big promotional idea, and the next big addition to our customers’ experience.
If we learned anything during the pandemic, it’s to remain flexible and nimble as we manage our business. We must continue pushing the envelope, tweaking our offerings to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our customers and exceeding their expectations.
4. Placing trust in the myth “if you build it, they will come”
Since we’re on the subject of famous sayings, here’s another one to avoid – “if you build it, they will come.”
Saying this out loud gives us all the good feelings, and yet it’s completely untrue for entrepreneurs. We not only need to build our businesses, products, and services, we also need to actively promote them.
If we take a moment to think about this logically, how would anyone know who we are, what we do, or where to find us if we aren’t shouting it from the rooftops?
The simple answer is, they won’t.
5. Not having a plan
Not having a plan can be one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make.
Would you go on a road trip without a map? Of course not. When we travel, we need to know where we are, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. The same is true in business.
Creating a plan starts with having an end goal in mind. That goal could be to add 1,000 new followers to your email list. Or to grow your revenue to seven figures. Or to launch a new product by the end of the year. Whatever the goal is, your plan needs to include quantifiable milestones.
For instance, say your goal is to add 1,000 new emails in four months. To reach this goal, you may set milestones to collect 250 emails by the end of each month. You will set a date upon which to select an email client to use to capture and manage these emails. Also, you may set the date, and monetary milestones for the ad sets you will run on social media to engage with potential customers. You may even plan out the flow of emails your new customers will receive once they’re in your orbit so that you don’t lose them once you have them.
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Plans can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. It all depends on what you are working on, where you are in the process, and where you want to go.
Entrepreneurship truly is a journey with lots of twists and turns. It is anything but easy or perfect. However, through thoughtful planning and continuous education, we can hope to avoid making mistakes that waste our time, money, and energy. As we know, those resources are precious.
When we make mistakes, recognizing and learning from them will make us stronger business owners and leaders.