Anyone that thinks the path of the entrepreneur or business owner is easy is wrong.
It isn’t easy. It’s hard.
As an entrepreneur, you have to constantly worry about sales, and payroll, and customer satisfaction, and employee retention, and the bank, and new products, and …
It’s not an easy journey.
But some of the major challenges and hardships entrepreneurs face do not actually arise out of external forces placing pressure on the business, but rather, they are often of the entrepreneur’s own making. They are often the result of an internal struggle taking place within the entrepreneur.
This internal struggle can lead the entrepreneur to make decisions or take actions that are not always in the best interest of the business.
This internal struggle can lead to mistakes.
However, these mistakes and the corresponding anxiety, stress, and turbulence that comes out of them are often avoidable. How? By having the right mindset. So let’s talk about the mistakes that entrepreneurs (especially new entrepreneurs) make and the mindsets that correspond to those mistakes. If you can avoid these mindsets, then you’ll probably be able to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not Pivoting (Mindset – “I know exactly what the customer wants”)
You may have an amazing idea for a new product or service. Or you may have developed a better solution to the consumer’s problem than what is currently available on the market.
Or so you think.
But have you asked the customer what they think about your new product or service or idea? Because the reality is, your customer may not think it’s a great idea. They may not understand it or get it or want it.
They may not buy it.
But when this happens, many entrepreneurs do nothing because they are so convinced that they know what the customer wants.
Or that their product or service is superior.
Or that their solution is better.
And so they do not pivot. They do not change. Instead, they continue pushing their solution on the customer when the customer is simply not interested.
The reality is, if the customer is not interested in your product or service or solution, it’s not the end of the world. If this happens, start asking the customer what they do want. Start asking the customer how you can make their life a bit easier. And when you get some consistent answers, pivot from your original concept and start making and delivery that to your customer.
Mistake #2: Fearing Failure (Mindset – “I can’t fail”)
One of the most frustrating things to me about the modern education system is that at a very early age, children are taught that being wrong or having the wrong answer is a bad thing. The system gives rewards for getting the right answer and delivers negative repercussions for trying and getting the wrong answer.
So we begin to fear failure. Suddenly we pause before raising our hand because we are afraid of being wrong and the consequences of trying. We begin to believe only the right answer is worth anything. We believe we can’t ever be wrong.
We believe we can’t ever fail.
And this mindset just continues on into later chapters of our lives, including entrepreneurship. We believe we cannot fail and so we do whatever we can to avoid it or to make it look like we are succeeding. But the truth is, true learning, true advancement, true discovery comes from failing.
Failure is a good thing.
But instead of embracing failure, we avoid it.
We fear it.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t fear failure. You can’t have the mindset that you can’t fail. If you do, then every time failure comes, it will eat you up. It will destroy you. Please do not make this mistake.
Remember that it is ok to fail.
Mistake #3: Lack of Focus (Mindset – “I need to do it all”)
I’m guessing that you have upwards of a million different ideas you want to explore in your business. I get it. You’ve got ideas for new products or services. You’ve got ideas for retention initiatives for employees. You’ve got ideas for how you can more effectively get your brand into the market place.
And there you sit, day in and out, working on five different projects every day. Six months goes by and suddenly you’re working on five more projects and the five you were working on a few months back still aren’t done.
You’re trying to tackle everything. You’re trying to implement every idea you have because it’s a great idea. And I’m not doubting that your new product or your new initiative or your new marketing strategy isn’t great. But I will tell that it’s probably not going to succeed if you are trying to get it and ten other things off the ground at the same time.
You can’t do it all.
If you want to find success, you need to prioritize your ideas and focus on doing a small few things really well instead of juggling 10+ projects all at once. When you finish one, move on to the next. Focus is key. Being intentional and focused in building your business will bring you to success much faster.
Mistake #3.5: Not Listening (Mindset – “I know what I’m doing”)
You’re probably wondering why I made this a “half” mistake instead of a full on mistake. The answer is actually pretty simple- as entrepreneurs, we can’t listen to everyone because then we would never do anything. People are always going to question our ideas and resolve and choices. People are always going to tell us our idea is stupid and that we are making a big mistake and that we are crazy.
I believe ignoring / not listening to this negativity isn’t a mistake (hence the solid point-five for this one).
But when we have a lot of pride or when we have a mindset of “I know what I’m doing” and that leads us to ignore those that have gone before us or advisors that have a lot of wisdom, I do think that can be a big (half) mistake.
Am I saying these individuals are always correct or always right or that you should always listen to them? No. They won’t always be right and it isn’t always a good idea to listen to them.
But when a trusted advisor or a seasoned entrepreneur offers guidance or assistance, you should respectfully listen to what they have to say. Chances are, if they are coming to you from a place of humility, it is probably because they notice that you are doing something they once did that got them into a lot of trouble or caused them a lot of harm. Chances are, listening to them might save you a lot of pain.
So don’t be closed minded to any critique because you think you know what you’re doing and have all the answers. Respectfully listen to those that are genuinely trying to help you succeed.
There are many more.
I’m sure there are more big mistakes that entrepreneurs make (I’ve sure made all of these and more), but I think these are some of the big ones. And I believe the best way to avoid making these mistakes is to change the mindset that often leads to them. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to finding success in your entrepreneurial journey.