This is One of the Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
The next seven episodes are dedicated to something that I have been known for now for a long time, and it’s this concept of the seven biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make. Now if you’ve listened to some of my previous episodes, you’d know how I feel about failure. Listen, I have failed in business more times than you can imagine, and behind every one of those failures was a success. A success that was bigger than any success that I had before.
So what I want to talk to you about are the things that I’ve learned as a result of 23 years in business. And making mistakes myself and watching other people make mistakes.
So this series of 7 episodes is going to be each of the mistakes. And today I’m going to start you off with the number one mistake which I believe is the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make, and it’s the one that stops people from their dream of having a profitable business.
The First Mistake Entrepreneurs Make is Wasting Resources on Unnecessary Company Infrastructure
So for any of you who’ve ever started a business, and it never got anywhere, or you started a business, and it looked like it was off to a good start and it didn’t end up getting where you want it to be, or you have a business now that is struggling. Listen very carefully to this because the number one biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is this, they invest in infrastructure that is not yet needed in their business.
Now what’s the number 1 example I can give you? Business cards, letterhead, websites, all that kind of stuff. If you look at any of the businesses I run, I’ve had businesses that I’ve had for a couple of years and I still don’t have these pretty fancy business cards.
I don’t have a super substantial website. Why? Because that’s not what really sells. See, the value of really nice business cards, you think is that its magically going to get you all this business. But the reality is, it’s not. Business cards are going to make you happy feel professional but they do absolutely nothing to help you get more business.
In fact, one of the first things I do with salespeople is that I tell them that they are not going to be given business cards. Often, I don’t give my salespeople business cards, I don’t give them brochures, I don’t give them pamphlets, I don’t give them any handouts to give to people. Why? Because if you’re truly going to go out there and sell, you don’t need business cards and all this fancy stuff to do it. You just do it by communicating with people and by following up with people.
Now, am I saying that those things should never be used? No, of course not. I have business cards, I have websites for almost all of my companies. And they are an important tool to have but most entrepreneurs end up wasting the most precious moments in the start of a business on building all this infrastructure.
I remember one of the first businesses I started to this day, I went out and I bought a new desk because I thought this is going to be a really big business. I need to have a new desk. I remember getting that new desk and saying, well I have to have a leather chair because that’s what the fancy CEO’s I know have. And I got myself business cards. They were the nicest business cards.
I paid someone to design a logo for me. I had all this stuff done and back when they didn’t have websites. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have to spend a couple of grand on websites. But I had letterhead made, I had envelopes made.
All this stuff that I had invested in, all this time, all this money and I had everything because I was scared of going out there without these things.
Now, if you look at the businesses that I’ve started in the last 10 years, as a much more experienced business person, I remember when I started my recycling company. And here was a business that I was starting at a time where I actually could have invested substantial money in this thing and I was planning on making this a big company.
And today it is a huge company, but the first logo that I was going to pay someone to do it and I said forget it, I don’t need someone to design a logo for me.
What I did is that I took the first letter of each of the word in the businesses’ name and I took those letters, went into Microsoft Word and literally typed the letters. Scrunched them together so they overlay each other a little bit, and that became my logo.
Now months later, I paid someone else to change it and then several years later, I paid someone even more to change it again. But that’s all I did and that’s all you need.
So if you’re starting a new business, stop being focused on all the stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s something that I see everywhere.
The Only Thing You Need to Focus on in the Beginning is Sales and Your Customer Acquisition Strategy
People are so focused on that. So let’s say you’re starting a new restaurant, stop focusing on the prettiest menu, that I’ve got to have this and I’ve got to have that. Listen, If you’ve got a restaurant, you serve people good food, you serve them the best food in town, and I’ll guarantee you they’ll keep coming back. You give them the best service in the world on top of the amazing food, and you’re going to have raving fans. It doesn’t matter how nice your menus are.
You can handwrite your menu every morning; it makes no difference. In fact, sometimes when you invest too much in the fancy stuff, people’s expectations change from what they think your business is. And they stop looking at the quality and they start looking at all the glitz and the glamour. What is your customer acquisition strategy?
And what I want you to do is first creating a business that is financially viable. That is your first goal. Not trying to do fancy things that make you feel good. So say no to the business cards early on and certainly not fancy business cards. Don’t waste your time on fancy logos, don’t waste your time on fancy websites, don’t waste your time on all the little things that make you feel like a business person like I’m a CEO now. In fact, put away those stupid titles.
People start businesses and they’re one person, and suddenly they’re calling themselves CEO. I’m like, what are you the CEO of? Yourself? Call yourself a Salesperson. Get yourself a title of something else. Because believe it or not, telling people you’re a CEO is not helping you.
You could call yourself a Senior Representative and that will actually help you make sales and help you make business as oppose to calling yourself the president and CEO of a one-man company or one-woman company. Well, it’s not at all impressive when you put it that way.
So stop being focused on those things and get focused on creating something that is going to create money for you, that’s going to make revenue for you, that’s going to create profits for you.
Now, in the next six episodes, we’re going to go through 6 more of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make. And again, this comes from decades of experience and having been a person who’s made a lot of mistakes in business. But I’ve always, always been proud of the fact that I learned from my mistakes, I make sure I don’t make them again and most important of all, I’ve always practiced teaching others my mistakes so that they don’t have to make those mistakes.
If you don’t have a business and you’re looking to start one day, these seven steps are going to be critical for you to understand because you don’t want to be making these mistakes. Hey, I’m here as your business coach, I hope you pick up a copy of my book if you haven’t already. Get the Business Bible; it’s an essential tool for any business person to have or anyone who wants to start a business.
But I’ll tell you what the Business Bible doesn’t have, the seven biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, at least not in the current edition. So you can only get it here, come back to my podcast and next week I’m going to talk to you about the second biggest mistake entrepreneurs make.
And let me tell you it has to do with the services or the products that you create and it’s something that I’ve seen sink companies all over the place. So don’t fall victim to it, join me next time as I talk about that. And for this week, I want to tell you to get out there, do whatever you can as an entrepreneur to succeed but always make sure to lead with your heart.