Making mistakes is part of the process of building a business; quickly recovering from them is what’s most important. It’s all part of the adventure of entrepreneurship, which will require all of your stamina, drive and determination.
Let me help you identify the top 7 mistakes that could cost you everything!
1. Not having a plan
Life in general requires some sort of plan and when it comes to being in business for yourself you MUST have a road map. I am not necessarily talking about a traditional business plan but rather an easy to follow simply outlined plan to operate from.
A business plan includes various items to help you get where you want to be and measure your success on that path. Planning is also important for another reason; it builds habits and habits create actions and actions get things done!
Critical pieces to include in your planning:
• Mission Statement
• Description of your business and its purpose
• Short term-long term goals
• Marketing plan
2. Lack of systems
A system is a procedure, or process of action designed to achieve a specific result. Creating effective business systems is the only way to attain results that are consistent, measurable, and ultimately benefit customers.
Systems are the backbone of your business. A lot of business owners think they can jot down sticky notes and hang them in order and that’s a system; you need to work them. When your business is systemized you will find it much easier to enjoy what you do and have more free time to live your life.
Some areas where systems are vital:
• Defining your niche
• Product/service development
• Lead generation
3. No support system
Being an entrepreneur is a feeling like no other. You are in charge and creativity rules! The word that comes to most people’s mind when they hear the word entrepreneur is FREEDOM. However, often times it’s a lonely role and entrepreneurs can feel trapped and confused. A lot of new business owners start out saying they can’t afford to hire people to support them and the truth is you cannot NOT afford to have people support you.
I know at first it can be financially difficult and you just can’t seem to justify hiring someone when you can barley pay yourself, but the reality is if you spend time doing the things that do not generate income you are LOSING money. Hiring an assistant to do the stuff you aren’t good at or don’t like to do will ultimately pay off big time.
Tip: Make a list of all the things that you don’t like to do and another list of all the things you aren’t good at.
4. Not knowing exactly who they serve
Imagine yourself having this amazing service/product and it is going to change the lives of everyone who uses it. One problem, you are talking to people who DO NOT need what you offer. That is exactly what happens when you do not have a clearly defined niche. It’s like going into a convention for hair stylists and you start trying to sell medical equipment. Doesn’t make any sense, does it? This is EXACTLY what happens when you aren’t sure exactly who you are sharing your brand with.
Once you know exactly who you are “talking” to you will know exactly what to say, because you will have researched and become familiar with your niche and their needs, wants and desires.
REMEMBER – People buy results and YOU are the RESULTS to the problem they are experiencing. But, before you can solve their problem you have to know who they are!
Areas to explore surrounding your desired niche:
• What are their struggles
• What are their fears
• What motivates them
• What results are they looking for
• What is it costing them (emotionally) to stay stuck
5. Not investing in a mentor
I have been in business for myself for 4 years. I became a coach and I was going to changes lives! That was very noble on my part but I soon realized after my first 6 months in business I hadn’t gotten any support for myself and I was more confused than ever. I didn’t have a mentor and I found myself ready to call it quits. Full disclosure here – I went 2 years in this mode (I am a slow learner). I was determined I didn’t need to invest more money, after all coaching school was A LOT of money and I was struggling to pay my bills. What I didn’t realize was all the money I was missing out on by thinking I didn’t need a mentor! Of course, I signed up for everything that came down the pike that was FREE! Let me tell you, free has a HUGE price tag. With free there are many limitations and it will only take you so far, trust me.
They say hindsight is 20/20, and I know firsthand just how true that is. I now work with 3 different mentors. I know what you must be thinking, “she can afford it”, well, truth is I make it a top priority and past experience has taught me a wise entrepreneur does not do it alone! And, as you get to know me you will see I am a very wise entrepreneur.
Tip: List out 3-5 areas where you feel like you could use support and start your search for the right mentor. When you connect with the right person everything will just fall into place.
6. Not positioning themselves as the expert
When it comes to problem solving (and that’s what you are to your clients; the answer to their problem) you seek an expert in the field to help solve your particular problem. Obviously, you want the most accurate information and assistance that you can get. You naturally seek an expert to help solve your problem; a dentist if you have a toothache, a plumber if your drain is clogged, a mechanic if your car won’t start, so the importance of you becoming known as the expert in your field- i.e. the go to person is pivotal to your success.
The way to begin to position yourself is thorough your words; in print, ad’s, social media, sales pages and so on. You must know exactly who you serve and what problem you solve for your potential clients in order to position yourself as the expert. Refer to point #4.
7. Not having done their “inner self” work – warning I use a cus word
“Not choice, but habit rules the unreflecting herd,” William Wordsworth
This topic is SO big and I could go on and on but in the interest of time I will get straight to the point. If you haven’t dealt with your inner shit you will only produce shit on the outside. I know sounds rough but it true. Maybe the words could be fluffier but I say it like it is.
We all inherit a belief system from the moment we enter into this world. If he is a boy we’ll call him Bobby and he will wear blue, and if she is a girl we’ll call her Sally and she will be dressed in pink. You get the idea.
Here is a great example for you:
Elephants in captivity are trained at an early age not to roam. One leg of a baby elephant is tied with a rope to a wooden post planted in the ground.
The rope confines the baby elephant to an area determined by the length of the rope. Initially the baby elephant tries to break free from the rope, but the rope is too strong.
The baby elephant “learns” that it can’t break the rope.
When the elephant grows up and is strong, it could easily break the same rope. But because it “learned” that it couldn’t break the rope when it was young the adult elephant believes that it still can’t break the rope, so it doesn’t even try!
Humans operate in a similar way. We learned something about ourselves at an early age and still believe it as an adult. Even though it may not be true, we operate as if it is.
Fortunately, humans are born with the ability to make conscious choices – an important step in changing how you perceive yourself.
While our family of origin means well they hand down a lot of shit that just isn’t relevant in our lives any longer.
A simple exercise to illustrate how conditioned we are: Try lacing your hands together and you will notice you habitually do it one way. Now try doing it with the other thumb on top. Feels awkward, doesn’t it? That’s the valuable moment we call confusion, when we fuse the old with the new. CONFUSION IS KEY FOR CHANGE.
Our agreements are another way we can label our core beliefs. List 3-5 CORE BELIEFS that you are consciously living out. Next, take the story ( the belief) and state the opposite of it.
Example: I am not smart enough to go to college becomes I am smart enough to go to college. After you have written the reverse write an affirmation around it.
There are seven simple guidelines that will help you in creating your affirmations.
1. Be Exceptionally Clear About the Real Issue
2. Affirm in the Present Tense
3. It is All About You
4. Engage your Emotions
5. Be Positive
6. Be Short and Specific
7. Be Accurate
Hopefully, this will give you a great start on looking at your shit!
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a hope, a little clarity and a LOT of possibilities.
Veronica Drake is an intuitive Business Consultant who works with women entrepreneurs who need guidance on clearly defining their niche and developing their personal brand. Please visit me at http://www.veronicadrake.co to learn more