Starting or retooling your Business? Avoid common mistakes!
February 18, 2009
I was honored to receive an email from a woman I was referred to months ago asking for advice as she is launching her consulting business.
I really appreciated the way she asked for help! I thought you might benefit both from her questions, my response, and the response of our readers.
Instead of simply looking for resources and how-to's she was looking for mistakes to avoid. She wanted lessons learned from a couple of us who've been there. Of course the minute she asked, I had a flashback...launching my own practice I thought I was so strategic (and I was) after planning, visualizing, and ramping up naively thinking I would avoid and minimize the obstacles, mistakes and bumps in the road. Guess what! I found my own obstacles, mistakes, and bumps in the road from which to learn the lessons I needed to learn. My philosophy is that running a business is the best personal growth school you could ever attend!
Time to lift the curtain and let you see more of my foibles and fumbles! Don't kid yourself...we all have them in our own ways.
Mistakes I made (in no particular order):
List building. I understood the value of building a list but didn't fully have the systems and support to capture the data and keep in touch in a way that consistently built momentum. Words of wisdom. Start building your list and connect with them through meaningful content.
Trying to be perfect. I have high standards. I wanted my content (or products, business cards, flyers, etc.) finished, complete, well designed and invested time and money to make them so. This delayed time to get products ready for sale, flyers for promoting programs and the like. I love Alex Mendossian's quote "Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity." Not that he condones sloppy work but as an entrepreneur there is a balance between good enough and perfect. The difference between costs you money, time, and opportunity. (I am working on this right now!) Gen. George Patton: "A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow."
Hiring the wrong people. I knew I needed other's expertise to help me jump start and grow my business. Working with limited resources (bootstrapping) made me "penny wise and pound foolish". I made two mistakes. In several instances, to save money I tried to cut corners hiring others who were just starting out and charging low fees. In one instance I paid top dollar for services perceiving this would buy me value. What I learned is that, as the customer, I need to be in charge of the relationship no matter what I am paying to make sure I got what I needed. Note: Hiring a more expensive vendor was no guarantee. It set me back emotionally and financially but as you can see...I recovered!
Of course I can go on with a to-do list for starting right and growing well but that is not the topic of this post!
What lessons have you learned or mistakes made can you share with this emerging consultant? By the way, her specialty is personal branding and social media if that guides your words of wisdom!
As a thank you for contributing we will send you our latest work, a collection of experts "60 Tips to Network Your Way to Anything You Want".