I have been in business for many years now. I thought it would be interesting to review my earlier years and write down the top 12 mistakes I almost made my 1st year as an Entrepreneur. So, without further ado, here are my experiences.
- I was listening to The Wrong People. When I told someone that I was starting a business, they immediately said, don’t you do it. I would fail. The comment made was very discouraging to me. But I soon realized that the individual had never had a business. So why was I listening to her? Don’t listen to people that have never been in business or never take risks—my next almost failure as failing to act.
- Failure to Act. I found myself failing to act on an important business decision. I felt like I was a deer staring into oncoming headlights. What if I made the wrong decision? I had to force myself to take that action, and boy was I glad that I did. Learn from my almost mistake. Don’t worry about making the wrong decision, but learn to trust your gut and decide to act. Next up is acting too quickly.
- I am acting too quickly. We all have been there at one time or another. We get an email from a client, and we just react without thinking. When that happens, I try to remember to let that email sit awhile and then come back to it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I change my response to something much softer. My next almost mistake could have killed the business. I failed to collect the money owed.
- I was not Collecting Money. Initially, I set up the business so that I would bill clients every month. However, a lot of my clients typically do not pay their invoices until 30 days after receipt of the invoice. As a result, it impacted my cash flow. I. This was not going to work for me. I needed a way to get the cash into my bank account and out of my account’s receivables. In addition, my business model was to get clients outside my local area. I need to be sure that I obtained some funds prior to the work being performed. My solution was to require ½ the cost of the project upfront. Then the rest of the Money is due upon project completion and delivery. On to the next problem.
- Adapting to Client’s Needs. I had clients that did not want to be charged an hourly rate. They wanted a price per project. So, what do you do? Turn down a potential client or adapt. Luckily, I knew approximately how long a project would take so I then could figure out a per-project basis. Up next is my number 6th almost mistake.
- Firing a client. Sometimes you come across a client that is not easy to work with, argues, or does not read the invoice. I had one client where he wanted something that was specifically spelled out on the invoice that was not covered. It was not a service that I did. I even discussed this over the phone and I spelled it out on the invoice. He still insisted that I do the work. I told him no and sent his deposit back to him.
- Managed Expectations. Keeping the client’s happy with your services. The only way to do that is to lay out expectations for each party. You need to keep the client updated through the project. In addition, the client needs to keep you updated. I ask my clients for updates on when I can expect the information that I need to perform the project.
- Sell, Sell, Sell and Sell Again. Always be looking for new clients. Sell to everyone at every opportunity. You never know when that next sale will take place. Don’t be afraid of selling. Also, don’t wait to get work when you finish with a current client. Always have a line of customers.
- Taking Too Much Money Out of The Business. It is so easy as a business owner to think that all the money in your accounts is yours. You need to keep as much money as possible in the business. You never know when a downturn in the economy is going to happen. Don’t take out money unless it is necessary.
- Not Listening to My gut. If your gut is telling you that something does not seem right, then go with your instincts. Every time, I did not follow my gut I regretted it.
- Your Pricing Model Is Flawed. You need to reevaluate your pricing model to ensure that you are not the highest priced company out there. Your clients will leave if you think they can get the same service at a lower price. Lowering your price can lead to more sales.
- Almost Quitting. It is so easy to get frustrated and quit. You just have to preserver.
So those are my 12 almost made mistakes my first year in business. Now I realize that not all my mistakes will apply to every business. As I said these were the mistakes that I caught myself doing and had to make changes in the business. Luckily, I have a great business partner that I can talk too.
Let me know what mistakes or almost mistakes you have made in your business.
For more blog posts.