common entrepreneur mistakes

5 Common Entrepreneur Mistakes to Avoid

Sep 17, 2019

According to a study conducted by U.S. Bank, 82% of businesses that don’t work out fail because of cash flow problems.

Starting anything from scratch is never easy, and businesses are a lot harder than most other things to get right. As an entrepreneur, you won’t be able to avoid all common entrepreneur mistakes. It’s just a fact of life. But making a mistake isn’t the end of the world, that’s how good entrepreneurs learn and grow into eventual successes.

However, once you get started, you really can’t afford to go on making blunders indefinitely. You’ve got to work smart, as well as hard, and that means avoiding entrepreneur mistakes when you can.

The following are five entrepreneur tips for avoiding common entrepreneur mistakes.

1. Choosing the Wrong Cofounder

If you’re starting a business on a small scale, you don’t technically need a cofounder. However, it is worth noting that of all businesses worth over a billion dollars, a mere fraction started with only one founder. So having the right cofounder can dramatically increase your odds of major success.

On the other hand, having the wrong cofounder can have the exact opposite effect. First and foremost, a cofounder should be mentally and emotionally compatible with you. What are your key skills? What will you be contributing to the partnership? Now, what are your weaknesses? Who can you hire or partner with who can fill in your blind spots and balance out your strengths?

2. Being a Know-it-All

This is one of the most important tips for entrepreneurs trying to avoid common entrepreneur mistakes. You should never be a know-it-all when it comes to business. Why is that? Quite simply, it will be detrimental to your success.

You can never “know it all” when it comes to business, even if you’re the best in your field. Someone will always be there to outdistance you if you don’t stay on your guard, and there’s always someone who understands something better than you do. By assuming you have all the answers already, not only do you make your business susceptible to being taken over by newer, more free-thinking competitors, but you alienate yourself from those who could be teaching you how to stay ahead.

It’s the first rule of success: be teachable. Because if you aren’t teachable, you’ll never succeed. Even if you somehow do, it won’t last long.

3. Expecting Customers to Find You

Some budding entrepreneurs have a “build it and they will come” mentality. They think that just because they’ve started a business, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or a website, people are bound to check it out.

However, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you start your business this way. There are a lot of businesses out there and a lot of new ones being started every day. What are the chances that masses of potential customers are going to notice when yours open its doors?

In truth, the chances are slim. Unless you’ve made sure your target audience knows about your business and why they should care, you won’t see much traffic right away.

Marketing isn’t the most popular skill in the world, but you’ve got to be good at it to be an entrepreneur.

4. Getting Too Obsessed Over Competitors

Being successful as an entrepreneur is about more than worrying about your competition. While you should be mindful of your competitors and what they’re doing, you want to be focused on the unique value you’re contributing to the world, regardless of what other businesses are doing. It’s better to prioritize what makes you different than to constantly try to beat the competition.

5. Hiring the Wrong Employees

Too often business owners hire people not based on actual capability, but on whether they like them or not. And while you should definitely try to hire people you’ll get along with, that should never be your only reason for hiring someone.

Your company’s success depends on the competence of your employees. Would it make sense for your business to only hire your relatives and friends? Or are you just trying to secure or maintain their favor? Would that applicant you’re considering actually do the job well, or are you only considering him because you feel like he’s a nice guy and deserves it?

And there you have it — five of the most common entrepreneur mistakes to avoid.

public speaker

4 Ways to Excel as a Public Speaker

Sep 12, 2019

Did you know that lawyers, of whom up to 64% are introverts, tend to experience speaking anxiety?

That may come as a surprise, as we all think of lawyers as excellent public speakers. But it’s just one more indicator that powerful speakers aren’t born that way; they train themselves to speak with precision and impact.

Below you’ll find four proven tips for entrepreneurs to excel as a public speaker.

1. Don’t Imitate Your Favorite Speakers

Every artist has an idol, and every up-and-coming speaker has a specific person whose speaking prowess they particularly admire. However, it’s all too easy to let this admiration for our favorite speakers turn into mimicking them when we should be finding our own voice, style, and niche.

What we fail to realize is that the thing we find most fascinating about a speaker is not the way they speak. It’s not in the way they carry themselves or how they address a room. We’re drawn to powerful speakers because of the authenticity.

And by patterning your style after that of another speaker, you’re losing your own authenticity. And if you think no one will notice, think again. Sincerity and genuineness aren’t qualities we can easily describe, but we definitely know it when they aren’t there.

So by all means, learn from your favorite international public speakers. Study their movements, their manner, and the way they speak, if you want to. But let these insights about great speakers inspire you to develop your own presence, your own voice, and your own message. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can act someone else’s part better than your own.

2. Practice Mindfulness in Public

If you get on stage and you aren’t 100% present with your audience, they’ll start to notice. Your eyes might wander at random. Your facial expressions might be delayed by a split second. Things like this are signs that you’re stuck inside your head and you aren’t really focused on your audience, the room, or the purpose of your presentation.

On the other hand, your audience members can read facial expressions in as little as seventeen milliseconds and they can tell you’re distracted or nervous.

Instead of trying to ignore distracting thoughts or squelch feelings of nervousness, channel that nervous energy into your speech by focusing completely on the moment. Be present. Be mindful of your audience and how they’re responding to your words.

One way to get over being stuck in your head is to practice mindfulness, especially when you’re in public. Try focusing on your breath while you’re surrounded by distractions. Notice the colors, shapes, and faces in your environment when you’re out and about.

3. Accept the Discomfort and Negative Feelings

Feeling uncomfortable or negative is a natural part of life and it can be especially frequent and distracting when you’re a public speaker. But if we dwell on those feelings, we risk letting them hinder our performance.

It also doesn’t help to try and ignore or resist the negative feelings when they come. If anything, that just tends to make them more forceful. Instead, just accept the negativity and discomfort when it shows up. Recognize that we’re all subject to unpleasant feelings once in a while, and even though you face them more than most people would because of the intensity of your profession, they will pass.

4. Be Conversational

When you’re talking to a friend about a subject you’re interested in, it’s easy to go on for hours without even knowing it. In conversation, your message has a natural flow to it because you aren’t trying to impress your friend. You’re just trying to convey an idea that you love.

You should approach your audience in a similar manner. If you’re trying to give a formulated speech according to a strict system, it’s likely to come out feeling stilted and unnatural, and you’ll be more prone to mistakes. However, if you approach your audience with warmth, love, and a desire to convey your idea with passion and clarity, your speech will flow with a naturalness and ease that will surprise everyone. It may even surprise you.

Follow these tips and you could become a highly paid international speaker.

tech entrepreneur partner

Simple Guidelines for Picking the Right Business Partner

Sep 10, 2019

The possibility of failure is a nightmare that chases every entrepreneur. In 2014 alone, this fear became real for 80% of all small businesses owners. Many reasons can make a small business flounder in its first, third, or even fifth year. Financial challenges, lack of a differentiated value proposition and even unforeseen disasters like floods contribute to the downfall.

Conflict between business partners is another often-cited reason for companies to close their doors. Due to this fact, you need to be extra vigilant when looking for a tech entrepreneur partner. Here are some attributes you should weigh before making a decision.

1. Financial Stability

Whenever entrepreneurs are in the middle of finding a business partner, they can get hung up on who brings money to the table. While capitalizing the business is a critical matter that needs due consideration, it is not as mission-critical as the financial health of your potential business partner.

If your potential tech entrepreneur partner is in the middle of a financial crisis it may be worth re-considering their suitability. A partner who is struggling to make ends meet may not give your startup the sole focus it needs to survive in its infancy. Worse still, if at any point they find themselves with their backs pressed to the wall they might be susceptible to financial fraud to survive.

Another aspect of assessing this trait is whether their financial crisis is due to a character issue. A potential partner who can’t manage their personal finances will most likely mishandle company finances as well since it calls for the same kind of discipline.

tech entrepreneur partner

2. Complementing Strengths

You and your potential tech entrepreneur partner ought to be strong in the area where the other is weak for your firm to thrive. One of the cardinal tips for entrepreneurs in the tech arena is to pair up as a technical and a non-technical founder. If you are a computer whiz, then you need a partner who thrives at business development and marketing. The reverse also applies.

Part of the reason why you need a business partner who’s strong in the areas you’re weak in is to help you focus. Launching a startup is extremely tough and any distraction can sink the business. When you’re able to plow all your tech entrepreneur resources into what you do best, your firm’s odds of survival shoot up. During tough times a partner will help you remain objective in your weak areas so that you can ultimately pull through.

3. Value Alignment

Many business wrangles come about due to a fundamental difference in how partners see the world and approach it. When you are scouting for a tech entrepreneur partner you must zero in on whether you share similar values relating to the firm. Your goals and theirs have to complement each other for you to work in unison. If you find that there is a danger of having widely varying goals then assess whether there is a common point that can align your interests.

If your potential partner is a personal friend or family member, then you need to avoid one of the most common entrepreneur mistakes: glossing over your alignment. Just because there is a preceding personal relationship does not necessarily mean that it makes for good business relations.

Another tip for the tech entrepreneur looking to partner up is to not have ambiguous responsibilities. You need to clearly define every partner’s responsibilities and key deliverables on paper. That clarity will help run the business with minimal friction due to crossed boundaries and inaction.

Don’t Fall for the Wrong Tech Entrepreneur Partner

Small businesses fail for many reasons and one of them is partner misalignment. There are critical benefits to working with a business partner but only if you pair with the right one. Focus on interpersonal and capacity-related traits to identify the best tech entrepreneur partner for your business.

How to NOT Sink Your Startup

Sep 6, 2019

Starting a business is a terrifying yet exciting journey that 69% of entrepreneurs in the United States embark on from their homes. As a tech entrepreneur, finding and solving a problem with technology is exhilarating and fulfilling. The excitement, however, does not exempt you from making mistakes, even if you’re the founder of your own business. Everyone experiences missteps along the way, but for a fledgling business, each new error might be your last.

As the founder, your decisions will place your startup in a losing or winning direction. Thus, you must learn from those who have gone before you in order to avoid costly mistakes. Here’s what you should avoid in order to succeed as a tech entrepreneur.

1. Premature Expansion

Every entrepreneur who starts a business ultimately wants to see it grow. But for a tech entrepreneur, knowing when it’s the right time to grow their business is a mission-critical element. It has been said that more companies die from indigestion than starvation. What this means is that ill-timed growth will kill your firm faster than a lack of adequate business. If you make the mistake of growing too early, you will tie up your finances and complicate your operations faster than you can resolve them.

To avoid making this mistake, focus your resources on only the essential aspects of growing your startup. Until you find optimal product/market fit, hold off on scaling in order to sidestep one of the most common entrepreneur mistakes.

2. Not Having the Right Co-Founder

A technology business calls for a strong founding team. The tech entrepreneurs you rely on must complement your skills and vice versa. Start by identifying your strong suits and bring on a co-founder who is strong in areas where you have trouble. For example, it is common to find a business-savvy entrepreneur to open your shop and work out important financial complications. This allows you to do what you do best: develop new products for your clients.

Ask for referrals and take your time building relationships that can lead to a co-founding arrangement.

3. Hiring the Wrong Team Members

No startup can hope to get off the ground without the right team to back them up. In today’s market, there is a relatively abundant level of technical talent you can tap. However, one of the most critical entrepreneur jobs you’ll face is hiring a great team.

Studies show that employees who feel that “they belong” tend to be 12 times more productive than those who don’t share the sentiment. Look only for potential team members who relate to your startup’s mission, culture, and core values. Talent is essential but does not prioritize it over their capacity to fit into the firm’s culture.

4. Inflexibility

One of the oft-repeated entrepreneur mistakes when starting out is becoming too attached to your first business model. Your first model is rarely the one that will bring victory to the business, and you will end up iterating several times before you find the right system that works for you. Thus, you need to be flexible in pivoting when the market’s feedback indicates the necessity. If you can’t respond to customer needs and align your firm accordingly, you will fail as a tech entrepreneur.

Avoid Commonplace Tech Entrepreneur Errors When You Want to Thrive

As a founder, your early decisions will place the company on a winning or losing path. Thus, you need to identify the typical errors entrepreneurs in your position have made to avoid plunging your firm into the dark. When you’re ready to get your startup off the ground, rely on the experience of Rafferty Pendery for guidance.