Mistakes made can be our greatest teacher, so the best startup advice comes from the first-hand knowledge of what not to do. We spoke to some business owners who shared their hard-earned experience and the insight they gained from their own lapses in judgment.
If you’re looking to get your business off the ground, consider these following pitfalls.
The 10 What Not To Do’s When Starting Your New Business
#1: Not Anticipating Your Customers’ Potential Needs
If you decided to open up a cake business, did you even consider that a good number of your future customers will also need to have the goods delivered to them as well?
Many businesses entail additional needs aside from their core product or service. If you can’t provide this yourself, coordinate with a third party to make your respective services a seamless package for your clients.
Taking the time to plan ahead will add to customer satisfaction and avoid headaches before they happen.
#2: Jumping The Gun
Although skimping on the essentials (e.g. a reliable computer) is a no-no, it’s dangerous to squander all of your resources at once. Allow yourself enough time to make the inevitable mistakes that will help you refine your business plan.
Give your business time to evolve organically and hold off on spending too much capital in the beginning. In the long run, you’ll need the financial leverage to make the necessary adjustments after you’ve experienced the hands-on feel of your business.
#3: Not Having A Unique Selling Point
Surprisingly, an alarming number of new business owners ignore this piece of startup advice. Everything starts with a vague idea, but you won’t get far if you haven’t refined exactly what you want your business to do.
To help you with this, think of the top three problems that your product or service solves. Being very specific about these fundamental goals adds clarity to your business goals and focuses your limited resources in the right direction.
#4 Starting Without An Online Presence
This one here could be the #1 mistake moving forward in the future of business. Nearly every company out there nowadays have some sort of an online presence whether it be a Facebook page, Twitter account, website or domain name & e-mail. If you have none of the before mentioned then you have made it incredibly hard to be found by the rest of the world.
We are in the age of silicon business, where most people shop online, google for company contacts and e-mail instead of picking up the phone. If you have not even considered being part of the online world, you will be left behind as most competition understands that the eye balls have shifted from hard copy Yellow Pages to search engines and mobile internet access.
Even if you have drummed up enough interest in your startup, you also need to be prepared when word gets around and people beyond your network start looking you up online.
#5: Relying On One Client
In a perfect world, every customer you acquire will remain loyal to the end, but everyone knows how fickle-minded they can be.
Are you prepared when your “cash cow” suddenly leaves you for greener pastures? Try to keep your eyes open for other clients who can bring in solid business.
#6: Believing The Flexible Hours Myth
When your business already has some considerable momentum going and you’ve gone past the growing pains, you’ll eventually be able to work less hours.
When you’re still starting out however, this really isn’t an option just yet. Remember, the amount of time you invest in your startup is just as valuable as the monetary capital needed to make the business grow.
The reality is that you’ll probably need to put in longer hours than your employees in the beginning. Until things have settled down a bit, you may want to hold off on your dreams of working four days a week.
#7: Being A Control Freak
Learn the importance of delegation. Although we said that you need to put in the hours to make your business grow, that doesn’t mean you should do all the work. In many ways, you need to see things from an eagle-eye perspective and appropriate the right staff to make whole machinery work.
Furthermore, don’t hog the decision-making process to yourself. Get your staff involved and collaborate ideas. Like they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
#8: Ignoring Your Customers
What kills most business startups is simple ignorance of consumer feedback. Bear in mind that one of the most basic goals of any business is to help your customers achieve their dream scenario.
So, it’s important to consider these questions: is my company moving towards or away from this goal? Am I asking my customers for feedback so I can improve potential parts of my business and am I engaging with the public to find out their needs and how we can best supply them with our service.
Setting up a system that helps you answer these question from time to time is the closest thing to having a crystal ball that will help you see a bright and potentially strong future.
#9: Not Having Enough Nerve
More than a few owners have claimed that the best way to build a startup is by using other people’s money and none of their own.
This startup advice might be too extreme for you, but you can apply this in a more realistic way. For instance, your web programmer cousin could build your website for free; maybe your best friend who happens to be a lawyer will be happy to lend a hand with the legal paperwork.
Don’t be afraid to pull some strings or call in some favors. Chances are, your family and friends will be more than happy to offer their support – and it doesn’t always have to be the monetary kind. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask!
#10: Not Knowing Your Market
Who exactly are you targeting? Tech-savvy computer users? Other business owners interested in results and not data? Web-challenged homeowners who need your caring guidance?
Zeroing in on your niche is a must because your marketing and all other business operations will depend on this key aspect. By having a crystal-clear idea of who you’re selling to, you can further sharpen your unique selling point (see # 3) and give your customers what they want.
Every business owner wants to be their own boss, so heeding sensible startup advice will help you enjoy the benefits of entrepreneurship and avoid the typical mistakes that will slow you down.
Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com
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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners
Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up.
In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.
Control Your Environment
Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.
You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.
Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.
Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language.
Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.
Writing Is The Answer
If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly.
Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.
Learn In a Group
It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.
The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.
Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently.
This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.
The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process.
A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few.
Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!
Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson.
Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!
Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!
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