Don’t be superficial. Don’t chase too many opportunities. And do sweat the small stuff.
5 min read
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Most new entrepreneurs make terrible, dumb mistakes that crash their businesses before they can even get started.
They make these grave mistakes not because they are unintelligent, have low IQs or possess little experience. New entrepreneurs allow these blunders because they don’t see them as issues. Thus, they fail to invest their resources into fixing the problems until the problems bulldoze their companies.
In this article, I will give you the top three dumb mistakes new entrepreneurs make, and I will offer a lasting solution to each oversight.
We live in a world of superficiality — shallowness, no attention to detail, not focusing on satisfying our customers.
In a world of 140 characters, many of us build products fast and hope for quick cash. The focus is more on “build and sell fast” than on quality and originality. Many entrepreneurs, especially the newbies, fall into this superficiality trap.
These would be entrepreneurs refuse to sharpen their skills, ship broken products and provide terrible customer experience. That’s why many startups don’t see the light of day. What’s the solution?
- Customer obsession. Your startup exists to serve your customers. Be obsessed with always pleasing them with your product.
- Obsessive attention to detail. Before you build or ship any product, check every tiny detail with care. Don’t settle. Don’t let your team rest until you have completed the project to above-standard quality.
- Constant learning. Knowledge is the antidote of superficiality. Keep learning, so you can satisfy your customers with unstoppable value and become the go-to person in your industry.
In the end, dumping the superficiality habit requires a change in mindset. You can get rid of it with constant practice and obsession with quality. That means focusing on getting good at one thing, before moving on to something else.
Let’s talk about that next.
2. Chasing two rabbits at a time.
Amateur founders are quick to craft multiple ideas, bloating their online stores with a vast array of products and constantly re-writing their missions to accommodate their offerings. But is that the brilliant idea they think it is? No, it’s not.
A friend of mine who is a freelance web designer recently told me that he had added copywriting on top of his web design services. “I want to increase my income, you know,” he excitedly told me.
I told him not to do that. I told him to focus instead on his design services so that he would become known as an expert in that category. But he didn’t take my advice. The last time I checked, he had quit his freelancing career altogether.
Obviously, he was frustrated because he was chasing more than one rabbit at a time. As Confucius beautifully said, “Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” Don’t offer two services or products at a time.
What you need as a new entrepreneur is credibility, not money. And the only way to establish yourself as credible is to focus on refining and improving your skill set, your product and your offering. Only then can your customers regard you as the best provider of a particular product or service.
3. Ignoring “minor issues.”
For new entrepreneurs, a comma splice in their home page copy is not something to worry about. “It’s just a minor issue,” they say. A broken link in their Facebook page is no big deal. “It’s just a minor thing,” they say. One negative customer review? Well, that’s just a “hot-tempered customer,” they say. “It’s just a minor thing.”
But is it? The reality is, these are not minor issues. These are big issues. Remember, all problems start small before they gradually metamorphose into big, uncontrollable setbacks.
That’s how Friendster crashed. It was the hottest social networking company in 2003, which Google wanted to buy for $ 30 million. But it lost momentum by 2006 due to minor technical glitches, paving the way for Facebook to take over.
That little comma splice on your homepage can lead to a tsunami of credibility issues. An error in spelling will then portray your brand as another fake company in the marketplace. Protect your brand. Don’t leave any tiny issue unresolved. Fix it — fast.
When starting up as a new entrepreneur, the first thing to do is avoid making constant business blunders, no matter how insignificant they seem.
Don’t be superficial in responding to your customers’ inquiries. Take your time to provide them with in-depth answers to their questions. Don’t chase too many opportunities, lest you fall into bloat and overload. Instead, focus on providing one product, and ensure that it stands out from the crowd.
Don’t ignore the small issues. They’ll grow into bigger problems. Nip them in the bud before they destroy your company. Everyone makes mistakes, even veteran entrepreneurs, but learning how to fix these three big blunders will save your little startup from crashing early.