Source | FastCompany : By CHRISTINA NICHOLSON
Business owners make a lot of mistakes, especially first-timers—I’m one, and I know I have. But some entrepreneurs’ entire businesses are based on helping others start their own. And since those experts interact with hundreds and even thousands of first-time entrepreneurs each week, they have a wider view than most of the types of errors new business owners keep making as we head toward 2017. These are a few of the most common they’ve seen over and over again in the past year.
Regina Anaejionu is an “infopreneur” whose online courses, books, and workshops help people get started with their own freelancing, self-publishing, and coaching businesses. With more than 10,000 students enrolled in her courses, Anaejionu knows a thing or two about what those newbies typically get wrong.
“No business person grows a successful company completely on their own,” she says. “Collaborators, motivated early adopters who spread the word, and influencers can all help a first-time business owner reach a willing audience, but knowing how and when to connect with these people seems to be something entrepreneurs find difficult,” Anaejionu explains.
“It’s like we all read the same terrible book on how to approach someone you don’t know when you want something from them. The answer is not cold-pitching them and offering nothing of value in return.”
The solution. “Practice connecting with people before you want or need anything from them,” Anaejionu advises. “Begin to find potential collaborators and influencers in your industry or audience and buy their products, share their content, engage in conversations, ask questions, and establish some good, old-fashioned human connections.”
“Super successful and surprising business stories obviously receive more press and attention than stories of startups and companies that grow slowly, or companies that fail, or businesses that are successful but haven’t seemed newsworthy yet,” Anaejionu adds. “This can cause many first-time business owners to create unrealistic expectations of their experience, their income, [and] the process of getting a business off the ground.”
The solution. “Try to join in-person or online communities with more business owners in a similar stage. Listen to the stories, frustrations, triumphs, and ideas of others, and try to learn from them as you go,” Anaejionu recommends. Then, “clearly define what success is to you, so that the way you measure your happiness is not dependent upon the latest startup funding story, income report, or fancy entrepreneur interview you read.”
Lewis Howes is the New York Times best-selling author of The School of Greatness as well as a lifestyle entrepreneur, business coach, and speaker. His popular podcast, which shares his book’s title, has been downloaded more than 25 million times since it launched in 2013.
According to Howes, emotional intelligence is sorely underappreciated by many new entrepreneurs. “The more I learn about how to manage and understand my emotions,” he says, “it helps me understand other people. This is massive for relationships, hiring, and much more.”
The solution. It’s all about whom you interact with and how. “I’ve been able to find solid people to bring on my team and invest in their development, which has paid off big time,” says Howes. “This is also a big part of how I’ve been able to develop so many relationships with influencers and highly successful people,” he adds.