5 common mistakes of new entrepreneurs
It’s a commendable bold step to become an entrepreneur, especially as a first-timer. However, new entrepreneurs easily get caught up in the entrepreneurship bubble if they aren’t watchful. In another article, I discussed the 2 reasons why early-stage entrepreneur fail.
Here, I‘ll dive into the common mistakes of new entrepreneurs. The goal of this article is to enlightened new entrepreneurs of such mistakes and avoid them.
Here are 5 of the mistakes:
- Jack of all trades
- Haste learning
- Inexperienced team
- Chasing unicorn
1. Jack of all trades
Many new entrepreneurs believe that doing multiple things at the same time will help them capture a large customer base. They spend their limited capital and time in offering multiple products or services. This is usually a result of lack of focus as discussed in another article here.
Christian entrepreneurs should follow the steps of Jesus in starting their business, Jesus while on earth wasn’t doing multiple things at the same time. In fact, Jesus mainly focuses on the Jews during His earth ministry.
There is a high tendency you’ll lose the mastery potential because of juggling with multiple things at a time. As the saying goes;
“jack of all trade, master of none”
Don’t be deceived by what you see now, many successful entrepreneurs started with one thing at a time, before diversifying. A modern entrepreneur like Elon Musk who run multiple companies, started out with one (Paypal). After the successful sale of PayPal, he started others, by then he was already experienced.
You need to avoid such common mistake on diversifying too early and start small. The book of Zechariah 4:10a says;
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin”
While the jack of all trades mistake of new entrepreneurs can be traced to their copycat habit. Consequently, they replicate what experienced entrepreneurs are doing in their business presently. This could be that they look up to experienced entrepreneurs as their models —that is not a problem.
However, it’s very important you understand how the experienced entrepreneur started and not just model their current state. It’s better you learn from their mistakes, so you don’t repeat such.
3. Haste Learning
I know we leave in a time where everything is done faster than it used to be 100 years ago. Nevertheless, there there is still no technology that can upload knowledge and experience into your brain instantly.
I see some new entrepreneurs who don’t take adequate time to learn about their business, they are in haste to grow their business without having the necessary knowledge.
Although, you don’t need a business degree to start a business. But you need knowledge of the fundamentals of your business. There’s so many free useful information everywhere if you can’t afford paid ones.
It’s also surprising to hear some entrepreneurs say, ‘I don’t know” when you ask questions concerning policies affecting their business sector. Especially important policies that govern the operation of their business in a particular jurisdiction.
Furthermore, we have seen how economic, political, legal, social policies seriously affect businesses over time. Unfortunately, many new entrepreneurs overlook this key learning before embarking on their business.
Importantly, as a design thinker, I don’t advocate for spending all the time learning everything before starting. I believe in learning by experimentation and improved iterations (lean startup).
4. Inexperienced team
I understand new entrepreneurs don’t need to have all the knowledge to start a business. However, there are some specialized field of business you need to team up with an expert if you lack the knowledge.
For example, a health-based business must need a health professional as part of the team whether a founding member or hired.
I also understand there may be limited capital to hire professional to join the team due to high cost. Nevertheless, don’t settle for inexperience people when you don’t have professional skillset.
In the scriptures, Paul instructed Timothy to get experienced people to run the early church. Paul simply told Timothy not to appoint overseers with less experience in the faith. As written in 1 Timothy 3:1-7;
“He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
Paul understood the danger of letting inexperience people lead the early church.
As a new entrepreneur interested in specialized business, by all means, avoid hiring inexperience people into your team, because they are prone to mistakes that can ruin the business.
Also, note that there are several ways to get experienced hands on your team without breaking the bank, I can discuss that in another post in the future.
5. Chasing Unicorn
“This also is vanity and a chase after wind”
The word unicorn can simply mean disruptive business. While ‘disruption’ is what most tech-based entrepreneurs wish they could attain, I believe it just a buzzword that is used loosely to impress others.
Unicorn businesses are very rare in modern times and it usually takes many iterations and highly element of chance for it to happen. As Solomon rightly said in Ecclesiastes 9:11;
“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”
New entrepreneurs should avoid the mistakes of chasing unpredictable outcomes because they might burn out before it happens. This doesn’t mean you can’t have faith, far from it, because faith outcome is predictable.
Preferably, focus on meeting the needs of your customers in the best optimal way and if it leads to disruption or not —all good.