So you’ve decided to plunge into the world of entrepreneurship. Start your own thing, jump on the launch pad, follow your dream and pursue your passion.
I get it.
7 deadly trapdoors for young entrepreneurs to avoid at startup
Maybe you’re tired of working for other people. Perhaps you’ve done the JOB thing and realized that you’re smarter than everybody else in the building.
We all know it happens.
And you’ve probably heard that the entrepreneur path has a huge upside. Stories of time freedom, unlimited income potential, and the ability to work in your pajamas or boy shorts.
It all sounds good. And a lot of it is even true.
But before you leap too far young entrepreneur-hopper, hit the pause button for just a second. Because like any aspiring backpacker, explorer, pioneer or dragon-slayer you need to do your research — before your venture down the path.
The trapdoors and landmines on the entrepreneur battlefield are plentiful.
And without stepping carefully you can wind up on a land-mine that blows your dream to bits before you get started.
So to provide you with a safety net of protective words to follow, let me share with you seven of the most deadly trapdoors that you want to avoid. Like paid assassins they lay in wait and will look to take you out as you launch your new venture.
I’m also going to share some tools that you can use to help prevent them from taking your life.
1. Not focused enough on sales
It’s always desirable to “sell your way out” of problems in your business.
This is the real practical experience that validates your business idea. Often it is tempting to chase financing through equity or debt. Both both options have higher costs than letting your business do what you say it will do.
And that is to generate revenue and achieve sales results.
Experience shows that advisers, equity, licenses, technology, office space and other business challenges all get out of the way when explosive sales are driving the business model.
So get firmly in your mind that massive sales fixes damn near everything.
2. No marketing plan for the better mousetrap
Even though sales is the top line, it is marketing that drives sales.
In today’s digital age, marketing can take many forms.
From traditional to digital, from events to pop-up stores, from affiliate relationships to social media and SERP it is all about targeted promotions.
By getting your message into the minds and emotions of the right audience you boost your conversion rates.
Marketing is a must have on your checklist.
3. Not trusting the research data
Modern marketing is like being a data scientist.
With all of the analytic data, search engine results, click through rates, social proof and conversion functionality don’t just rely on your gut instinct.
As an entrepreneur we are risk takers by definition.
However, you want to take calculated risks that increase your chances of success and winning.
So if the data is going contrary to how you feel, or the market is reacting differently to your internal spidey-senses, don’t just ignore it.
Dig deeper or hedge your bets until you get better alignment.
4. Weak execution of a strong plan
How many times have we heard “it’s all about execution”.
It’s the action step that matters most in the marketplace. All of the focus groups, beta testing and prototypes don’t mean a hill of beans if the product launch is poorly executed.
Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the analysis and trying to create a perfect plan that the execution fails.
You don’t want your deliverable here to be weak sauce. Instead,
take your epic strategic plan and bring maximum delivery across all of the key areas.
Technology, manufacturing, financial, customer service, marketing, sales and the entire supply chain need to be top notch.
5. Not having a well-defined USP
No matter what the product or service you will have some degree of competition.
In today’s global marketplace, where everyone is a few key strokes away, your business won’t exist in a competition-free bubble.
Even for small niche products your target consumer can most likely source something similar from someone else cheaper.
So what makes you unique?
What elements do you bring even to a crowded space that none of the competitors can deliver? This is part of your brand promise.
It stops you from being a commodity.
Now the audience doesn’t just want the app — they want your app. Your product, your service, your brand and this is your unique sales proposition.
6. Not building a team
Many times entrepreneurs think they can do everything.
And if you’ve bootstrapped your idea from nothing, you’re probably right.
I remember going to a meeting with my business partner in New York City. The company brought in a team of about twelve different people to the conference room. And each of their full-time job functions was handled by either me or my partner.
But that is not the best approach to grow, scale and capitalize on your opportunity.
Find and attract the talent to support you and to perform in areas that require specialization.
Bring them on with cash, equity, visibility, platform access or whatever it takes.
That way you can spend your time focused on doing real boss work and truly growing the venture.
7. Scale too fast
The only thing that will kill your business worst than being slow to market is to scale too fast.
Many times entrepreneurs burn through cash, resources and people trying to present the biggest baby on the block.
But if the infrastructure, testing, plan and execution are skipped over, the baby falls down and won’t grow into adulthood.
Manage your growth.
This is where a board of advisors, mentors, and directors can play an extremely valuable role.
You need people who can see around corners and down dark alleys before you take those dangerous steps.
This is how you avoid the pitfalls. If you’re smart enough to listen and follow wise counsel.
So if you are a young entrepreneur, avoid these seven deadly trapdoors and protect your startup.
Your vision of working for yourself, helping people and filling a hole in the marketplace deserves your commitment to apply the knowledge.
Now over to you. Step carefully.