Young entrepreneurs are known to be creative and energetic with a unique ability to recognize a need in society, and create a business opportunity to fill that need in an exciting way. Starting a business is often a much larger task than one can imagine, as it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. While many businesses fail in the first few years, your chances of success will improve dramatically with a few simple steps.
Euran Daniels, an internationally renowned African American entrepreneur, helps us to take a deeper look into some mistakes young entrepreneurs make when first starting a business. He is an award-winning author, producer, and motivational speaker whose business ventures span across a range of industries, including tourism, technology, education, and entertainment. He is the founder of Daniels Tours LLC, Daniels Production Company LLC, and Daniels Creative Consulting LLC.
Daniels believes that starting a business is not so difficult; however, maintaining it can be challenging. As young entrepreneurs venture into business, the need for proper guidance is essential. Young entrepreneurs should strive to learn from those who have come before them. Connecting with veteran business owners can be a huge advantage as it can help avoid some obvious mistakes in the early stages of the business, and increase their chances of succeeding. Seeking this type of advice can save time, money, and much frustration. A simple conversation of guidance can help avoid terrible loses and can perhaps be the key to avoiding a complete failure of the business. Let’s look at some common mistakes young entrepreneurs make when starting a business.
- Lack of vision
It is not uncommon for young entrepreneurs to start a business without a clear vision. A vision is simply the ability to imagine, dream, plan and create an idea for the future. It should identify a target market and the overall goal the entrepreneur is striving to accomplish within a given period. A vision gives focus and a sense of direction to the entrepreneur and the employees of the company. Once a clear vision has been established, it is essential to write it down and make it plain. Research has shown that a business with a clear vision has far more chances of being successful. A clear vision is the start of a great foundation for any business to build upon.
- Not having a business plan
Very few entrepreneurs create a business plan when attempting to launch a business. Having a business plan simply documents the business objectives and strategies for achieving the overall goal. It is nearly impossible to secure funding and gain support of investors without a business plan. Investors will generally support a young energetic person with a business plan before someone with no business plan. When attempting to secure funding for the business, investors often ask to review the company’s business plan to better understand the company’s overall mission, goals, target audience, and strategies. This document can be simple or complex. There are several templates online that can assist with the layout of a business plan. Considering searching and utilizing online templates to get started with the company’s business plan.
- Lack of Research
Although young entrepreneurs are very creative and innovative, they often fail to research the need of a product or service prior to launching a business. Research is essential to understand the target audience and the needs of the consumer market. Markets are always changing and competitors are always adapting. The timing of the research is also key as the world, audience and competitors are constantly in motion. Successful entrepreneurs are constantly studying market needs and their competitors in an effort to remain the leader in their given industry. The more research an entrepreneur has access to increases the overall chances of the business being successful.
- Lack of Marketing
Young entrepreneurs spend a lot of time developing their product, but not enough time or effort marketing it. Getting your product in front of your target market is perhaps more important than developing it. A product is only successful if the target audience is aware it exists. Having a well thought out marketing plan will help consumers learn about your product and want to use it. Word-of-mouth is helpful when launching a business; however repetitive awareness of a brand or product is essential. There are many low-cost effective ways to market a product or service. Consider using online social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to reach your audience.
- Lack of passion
Entrepreneurship is a journey. This journey will have much success, along with some failures. While vision and strategy are incredibly important elements to any successful business, passion is equally vital. It is the primary driving factor for your vision and guides you through moments when everything else fails. Many young entrepreneurs are often financially driven vs. passion driven. Although everyone wants to be profitable, the journey of getting there must be empowered by another motivation. Studies have shown that many businesses show very little profits during the first few years of service, which means your business will need another driving force. Without passion, entrepreneurs will not have the motivation to keep moving forward when things get tough. If you are considering multiple business ventures, consider starting with the one you are most passionate about
- Lack of Priorities
Most entrepreneurs make a common mistake of starting a business with only one objective in mind; making money. While making money is key, there are other crucial priorities that must remain at the forefront. Making money will sustain the business for a short period of time; however, some problems may arise that money cannot solve. If the primary goal is to make money, the quality of service could be compromised. Although making money should be a priority, consider other key elements such as customer service and quality of service as equally important. Writing down priorities and organizing them is always helpful with keeping things in prospective.
- Lack of patience
Most businesses do not succeed overnight. Young entrepreneurs often pressure themselves into “quick success” and forget to allow time and space for growth. All successful businesses have a long history of ups and downs before they begin to enjoy real success. Entrepreneurs often sacrifice personal well-beings in hopes of getting fast results; however true success takes time to build momentum. Some good examples are Apple, FedEx, Reddit, Pandora, and SpaceX. These businesses did not do very well in the early years, but managed to become such successful over an extended period. Having a little patience could be the trick to making a small dream become a huge success.
- Lack of Customer Focus
Most entrepreneurs are consumed everyday with the overall operations of running a business and often lose focus of one key element – the customer. Without customers, there is no business. Reaching out to customers to understand their needs and overall experience is a hidden jewel that can easily be overlooked. Some entrepreneurs believe that if they start several businesses at the same time, they will be more successful. Starting many businesses simply means the entrepreneur is limited on the amount of time available to focus on key items to make one business more successful. Clearly understanding customers’ needs will help cultivate your vison and business plan into a more productive concept which will increase the chances of your business being successful.
- Lack of Flexibility
Entrepreneurs are often unwilling to adjust or tweak their idea for the overall success of the business. Markets and customer needs are constantly changing, so it is important for entrepreneurs to remain flexible and adapt with trends quickly. Failing to stay ahead of the competition can lead to loss in customers and sources of revenue. Staying on top of the latest industry developments and adjusting strategies accordingly will help the overall business succeed. There are many resources available to entrepreneurs, from mentors and advisors, to community leaders – all of which can provide valuable information on how to improve your product. Welcome the feedback and be willing to adapt. Your willingness to adapt could be the game changer.
Running a successful business is not easy, but with a bit of research, preparation, hard work and dedication, you can ensure that your business is on the road to success!