Joe Falls is co-founder and CMO of LeapTheory.com. Passionate about all things digital marketing, technology and startups.
Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to grow quickly and avoid pitfalls that can slow it down? I have started several companies in my life and many of them have failed. The beauty of those failures is that I have been able to overcome the accumulation of mistakes and bad habits that I can now share with you.
I have always dreamed of becoming a successful tech entrepreneur, but for years I was content to experiment with side activities that had limited profitability. After many starts and after finding some great partners, I was finally able to create a company that is now hitting eight figures two years after launch. But to get there, I had to learn to avoid some mistakes that held me back.
1. Lack of Decisiveness
As a founder of a company, there are many obstacles and problems that cannot be foreseen, occurring by the minute, by the hour and by the day.
Many of these issues have a real impact on the company or its culture. It can be tempting to watch things turn out in hopes that the problems will resolve themselves; it’s easier to be lazy and avoid problems in the hope that they can improve.
But trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably doesn’t, and taking immediate action will save you a lot of time, energy and money.
2. Not understanding the command
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to understand how your business makes or will make money; it’s your idea after all. But it never ceases to amaze me how many companies don’t quite understand how they make money – simply because they haven’t checked.
For example, if you are a tire company, you may think that your business model is to make great tires and people will come to you. In reality, there are many more variables at play to succeed as a business. You need to understand how your customers find you (your marketing), how well you retain them (product quality and sales), how to price each product, and probably many other things that I don’t know since that’s not my specific industry.
Businesses can generally be reduced to a formula with variables that can be improved or scaled to generate revenue. Every founder needs to understand what those variables are and how they can be improved instead of sitting back and hoping someone else will figure it out for them.
3. Inadequate Risk Tolerance
Starting a business is a big risk. If you’re not willing to accept the chance that you might fail, you’ve already failed. If you can’t get over this, you might as well give up.
Once the income comes in, the risks you take can get even bigger. Learn to assess situations calmly and understand the realistic chance that you will lose money. Is it a “lose it all” type risk? Then you may want to skip it.
The goal is clear; look for low-risk, high-reward opportunities, but never let fear guide your decision and keep a clear head.
When I stopped letting these three things hold me back, I was able to unlock a new opportunity to scale my business. Ultimately, you can wrap all this up in being smart and not let fear hold you back.
If you challenge yourself properly and do the hard work of diving into tasks and putting yourself in situations that make you slightly uncomfortable, you will be surprised at how quickly your business can grow.