Experience is a Good Teacher via 7 Hurdles
Let’s agree that over the course of our lives we will experience our share of failures through our business careers. The rate of failure rises even more for those people starting a new business than among those managing established operations. We should also agree that minimizing the number of failures we encounter is a solid move. No sense of paying for lessons we don’t need?
Being a business owner is quite rewarding. Aside from the obvious of being your own boss, by being a business owner I also get to experience a full sense of accomplishment. Being able to take a job from start to finish. Most importantly for me, being in control of my future. I’m fully aware that the growth or failure of my business solely depends of me, and the moves I make for the business.
I fully enjoy being a business owner, and I don’t consider my business as work, rather more like a game of chess.
So, let’s get back to reality here. One of the most catastrophic experiences of business ownership is failure your business. I’ll admit it, I’m scared to see my business fail.
I’m no veteran business owner. I actually consider my self a rookie, and after three years of maneuvering my way through various business minefields, watching others rise and fall, and experiencing my own stumbling along the way, I’ve put together a small list of seven hurdles that every business must overcome in order to survive.
These hurdles can be used by the biggest veteran business owners and mostly by rookies, like me, who are just starting out.
Hopefully as a business owner you won’t have to experience for than two or three of these hurdles in your lifetime, because after a while it becomes exhausting to keep jumping over hurdles. Too many hurdles, and you may not make the jump one one, essentially spelling the end for your business.
This list is far from comprehensive, there are many other different reasons why businesses fail. These are lessons from my three years of experience, some that I experienced my self, and others I’ve seen other entrepreneurs go through.
1. Lack of industry experience
Too many entrepreneur newbies get into business they have no clue about. They may have the capital or worst off heard that a certain business is a viable idea, so they jump in.
One thing that a lot of entrepreneurs forget about is that fore very year that your competitors have been around longer than you is another is another year in which they’ve learned how to do thigns correctly and avoid failures.
Newbie entrepreneurs should never underestimate the power of experience. Sure, you may bring fresh ideas, but experience will always prevail.
2. Poor record-keeping & financial control
I made this mistake for the first six months of becoming an entrepreneur. I couldn’t separate my business spending and personal spending. I would purchase personal things on my business account and business things through my personal accounts. I was a mess, and so was my business bookkeeping.
Thankfully I nipped this poor habbit fairly quickly and overcame this hurdle.
Another key aspect of record-keeping and financial control is organization. You must be able to organize your purchases, invoices, sales receipts and payroll if you have any employees. Collecting everything accordingly to basic accounting principles is a must or else you are driving blindly through a blizzard.
3. Inadequate education
In the world of entrepreneurship a college or university degree does not guarantee success. Life experience, determination and willingness to succeed come to mind. However, education is a good additive which tends to reduce the incidence of failure.
4. Poor managment
There is no one right way to manage your company. It’s easy to identify the wrong way to manage a company, yet it’s far more difficult to identify the correct way to manage a company.
As entrepreneurs we’re all different, we all bring something unique to the table that differs us from the next guy.
5. Poor marketing skills
You may know your design, management, production and sales and a million other skills, if you don’t understand the term “marketing your self”, your company, product, service or business is severely limited.
6. Acceptance to constructive criticism
One big pit falls in the human nature is the ability to accept constructive criticism. How dare her or she say that, it’s wrong and I know better are some statements that come to mind.
As an entrepreneur you need better listening skills than verbal skills. Listening to what others are saying about your business will give you an inside edge to bettering your business through time.
7. Poor staffing
Successful companies have a brilliant leader/founder guiding the company, but more importantly they boast talent from top to bottom. Good talent attracts other good talent. This is a proven fact from small companies to large multi-billion dollar corporations.
Getting help is a critical step, and no entrepreneur can do it all them selves. Sometimes newbie entrepreneurs fall into the trap of being to cheap to hire talent, so they forgo the hiring and try to do it them selves. Only to find out they can’t do it all and eventually fail.
Once you hire your first employee(s), it is essential to train the accordingly. Teach them your business and have open communication.
The more education and dedication you offer to your employees, the better you can build your company.