Source | Entrepreneur
There’s an old saying about first time entrepreneurs — they don’t know what they don’t know.
It can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, this ignorance can work in your favor. First time entrepreneurs have the advantage of unchecked optimism, wide-eyed enthusiasm, and they aren’t slowed down by the apprehensions that caution more seasoned entrepreneurs. But more often than not, this ignorance holds them back. If you’re a first time entrepreneur with an early stage business, there are mistakes that you are making right now that are preventing your business from taking off — mistakes that you probably don’t even realize you’re making.
These mistakes manifest in subtle ways, or don’t impact your life or business until years later, when it’s too late. In the end, you always end up learning them the same way — the hard way.
That’s why I’ve put this list together. These are things I’ve gleaned from the dozens of successful entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed for my podcast, combined with the lessons from my own entrepreneurial experience. You see, I’ve spent more than a decade launching companies like SnackNation, and believe me, I’ve made my fair share of these mistakes too. Here are the top three mistakes that early stage entrepreneurs make and how to fix them, so you can learn the smart way, not the hard way.
Mistake 1. Starting a business without thinking about scale.
My Kolbe score registers me as a high “Quick Start,” meaning that I have an appetite for initiating change and disruption. As an entrepreneur, it means I love taking a new idea and getting it off the ground.
I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you are Quick Starts too. As entrepreneurs, when we see that there’s a problem to solve and that we’re in a position to solve it, we are champing at the bit to get started. We start off so passionately, virtually obsessed with our new idea and getting it off the ground. The problem comes when we fail to think about the next steps.
When I started my first healthy vending business right out of college, I was so inspired. I knew that there was a need for healthier nutrition options at places like hospitals and health clubs, and all I wanted to do was jump in and get things off the ground as fast as possible. What I didn’t realize was how difficult this concept would be to scale. It wasn’t until I had friends and relatives stocking vending machines for me in other states that I realized I needed a more efficient solution.
Eventually my partners and I solved the problem, but I didn’t give it enough consideration early on — and paid the price.