You probably think that after ten years of being an entrepreneur, I have everything figured out, right? Sadly, I don’t! Don’t get me wrong, to a large extent I know what I am doing, but just like I did on my first day of being an entrepreneur, I am still making mistakes.
The mistakes are not the same rookie ones I have made before. Today, they are bigger mistakes. Here are some of the mistakes I have made over the last few years that you should avoid:
Business mistake #1: Don’t get too personal with your employees
I love helping my employees out. When they are happy, it makes me happy. But over time, what you’ll realize is that the closer you get with your employees, the more likely they’ll unload their problems onto you.
I don’t mind helping people out with their problems, but if they can’t learn to solve them by themselves, how will they ever grow as individuals? Instead of babying people 24/7, make sure you help them out a bit. But don’t be afraid to let them fall. When they fall, they learn how to pick themselves up and will likely be more successful at preventing it from happening again.
Business mistake #2: Don’t be too generous
I have a tendency to be a bit too generous with my co-workers. When you give them everything they ask for, they show gratitude. But often times that quickly fades, and they start expecting things from you.
You have to work hard to earn your money, so your employees should too. If someone wants a new desk, don’t just give it to them, but ask them why they deserve the desk.
You’ll be surprised as to what you can get your employees to do by making them earn the things they want. The best part about this is that it will give them a sense of accomplishment.
Business mistake #3: Good talent costs a pretty penny
I used to be a big believer in hiring low-wage employees and training them to get whatever work I needed done. The problem with this is that you’ll spend the majority of your time micromanaging people instead of focusing on growing your business.
These days, I am a big believer in hiring people who are smarter than I am and compensating them very well so that they’ll never leave. When you are a new businessperson, this may be a bit tough, but with a good stock option plan, you should be able to get around this.
If you hire smart employees, not only will they do a good job, but you won’t have to train or micromanage them as much. Plus, they’ll stick with you for a very long time if you treat them right.
Business mistake #4: Never stop networking
I have a really big network. It’s big enough that I can make six-figure deals with companies without doing much work. The problem is I’ve gotten too comfortable over the years, which is why I haven’t been networking as much.
You don’t have to network 24/7 to build a strong network, but you should never stop networking as there are always up and coming people that you should know. If I kept speaking at conferences, blogged more often, and went to local business events, I would have been a lot further than I am now.
Networking has always paid off for me. Keep in mind that networking takes 3 to 12 months before it pays off. If I could turn back time, I wish I would have networked a lot more over the last 3 years as it would have helped my business to be a lot bigger than it currently is.
Business mistake #5: Be loud, but not too loud
I’m young, and as some young people tend to do, they don’t care what others think. I always felt like I was on cloud nine, and for the longest time, I would say whatever I wanted.
Although being upfront and blunt with people has helped me build a strong personal brand, it has also lost me a few seven-figure deals. Over time, I have learned when to open my mouth and when to keep it shut. But when my older friends warned me about this a few years ago, I ignored them, and I shouldn’t have.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and watch what you say around others. Sometimes giving advice when people don’t want it or cursing when inappropriate can tarnish your image.
Business mistake #6: Cash is king
Your business will have its ups and downs. Sometimes things are great, and sometimes you’ll lose a business deal. People will quit on you, and you may even go through a lawsuit or two.
Always be prepared for the bad times and conserve your cash. Make sure you always think twice about spending your money even when times are good.
It’s hard to predict when things are going to go south, which is why it’s always good to have cash in your bank account.
When times are good, you might want to blow money on fancy office furniture or take a higher salary when you don’t really need the money. Always conserve capital because things will eventually slow down.
Business mistake #7: Press is power
I’ve been a big believer that revenue and profit is all that matters in business. The problem is other people don’t. When it comes to mergers, acquisitions and fundraising, you’ll be surprised how much press can help.
If the big blogs, newspapers, and magazines think your company is the next hottest thing, it’s going to be that much easier to raise venture capital, sell your company or close business deals.
My business partner and I hate getting press for no reason. Many of our competitors get press for the smallest things. It has worked well for them, and, if I could, I would turn back the clock and try to get at least one big press piece written on my company each month.
Don’t take press for granted! Get as much of it as you can.
Just like every other entrepreneur out there, I make mistakes. There is nothing wrong with making them as long as you learn from them.
Don’t be afraid to fall. Just get up and prevent it from happening again. All entrepreneurs make mistakes, but what separates the great ones from the pack is that they learn from their mistakes.
What other mistakes do you think entrepreneurs should avoid?