The 3 Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

This post previously appeared on insiginiaseo.com.

We all know it’s not easy being an entrepreneur. The hours are long and the pay (at least until you’re in real profit territory) is measly. However, as long as you don’t make silly mistakes and you enter every situation with a keen and focused mind, you will get there. If you don’t know what mistakes you’re trying to avoid, you’re in serious trouble. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. Take a look at the following and make a note of these bumps in the road. They could be the difference between a thriving business and another statistic.

1.) Not Networking

Before we get into this one, remember that networking doesn’t mean just attending huge events where business cards are thrown around like confetti. Networking is something that you can do over the phone, or at a chance meeting with a potential prospect.

Networking helps keep your venture visible, and it gives people a feel for who you are and why they should do business with you. So wherever you are in the first few years of your business, you should be visible and talking about the business and how it helps people. If you’re not comfortable with introducing yourself to people and making serious small talk, find a partner who is. Business is about networking. You need to do it.

2.) Being Unreliable

This seems like the most obvious thing in the world to get right, but so many entrepreneurs make a mistake in this area, especially in the early days of a business when pressure can be at its worst. Your customers and clients are the most important people in the world. And that’s that.

If there is even the smallest chance that you may not be able to fulfill an order, don’t take the order. If you can’t make a client meeting, send someone else. And if you are overwhelmed, slow down.

Ask anyone who’s dealt with entrepreneurs before what the worst part of it is and they’ll tell you that an entrepreneur who can’t keep her word is a pain in the neck. And if a client feels let down, they’ll tell everyone they know about it. That’s a great way to make a business fail. Your word is your bond. Clients expect to use someone who is reliable.

3.) Listening to everyone

Every successful entrepreneur will tell you about the time they listened to bad advice. There will be a number of people who are trying to pass on advice to you if you’re just starting out. Some of it will be useful, but a lot of it will be detrimental and will affect your progress.

Most people mean well, and many will have ‘been around the block’, but if it feels like the advice just doesn’t ring true for you, ignore it. The best piece of advice you will ever get from anyone when it comes to being an entrepreneur is to‘follow your instincts’. Using instinct is what gets you to the top.

Think about the above three areas and see if you can keep them in mind if you are faced with a problem or a ‘crossroads’ in business. And remember that being an entrepreneur only gets easy when you’ve been doing it for a while. Until then, you need to be careful, have integrity, and be willing to network.

Do You Have A Personal Brand?

You can spend hundreds of thousands of whatever currency you operate in on branding your company. But how much of your resources do you dedicate to your own personal branding?

You have a personal brand. Everyone around you has a personal brand. the millions of people who use LinkedIn and Facebook and all those other channels daily are trying desperately to improve their personal brand. 

But most of us are not looking at ourselves closely enough. Unless we are fully aware of our actions and interactions we may well find that we are harming our personal brand every day. And it needs protecting.

Your personal branding in action

Every time you fail to turn in a project on time, you make a small level of impact upon your client. It is almost imperceptible at times, but it is there. Your client may generally feel that it is ‘no big deal’ that a project was late, but at some point in the future, she will remember that it was late.

If you run a company and you don’t deliver the service that you promised you would, it will affect the client. They may well want to buy more from you, but if someone comes along with a better promise next time, they will listen.

If you imagine that you are a walking advert for your brand, it soon becomes clear that everything you say and do is somehow going to influence others.

Get that project done in time. Deliver the goods when you say you will. Stay calm and unruffled when delivering a presentation. It all adds up.

Make personal branding work for you

Turn up on time. Do what you have said you will do, time and time again. get that product or service completed and delivered a day early.

People really take note of how you perform. They always have. The more you surprise them or beat expectations, the more people will turn to you, stick with you, and tell others about you.

If you are creating a blog post, put the effort in. Or pay a professional. Every word you publish online will add a little or take a little from your personal brand.

If you are simply making a phonecall to a prospect or a lead, be polite and courteous. 

If you are saying ‘good morning’ to a colleague, be conscious. Are you giving them the right impression?

Your personal brand is interconnected with every aspect of your success. All day, and all night.

Make it work for you.