Don’t you get just a bit uneasy when you hear statements like “do what you love, the money will follow”? It’s the kind of statement that can get you into a lot of trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.
One of the biggest mistakes is thinking that your hobby or passion automatically leads to money. But the so-called gurus leave out the crucial step – the time that it will take to acquire and develop skills that enable you to sell your products or service at a commercially viable level.
The other day I came across someone who wants to start a doggy parlour but has never washed and groomed more than their own dog. It takes time to learn the skill to wash and groom several dogs a day and know about the requirements for different types of dogs such as poodles, chows and and pugs. Yes, the would-be doggy parlour owner can learn these things but would need to realise that such skills are required over time. It may take up to a year before you have reached a professional level where dog owners will seek you out for your expertise.
The other big mistake is to invest heavily in equipment, facilities such as adding an extra workshop or room to the house, buying a delivery van and even hiring an employee before you have sold one of your home-made products, attracted one client who wants their dog groomed and cleaned, or set up a website.
It depends on the type of product you have or service buts it would make far more sense to sell at least 10 of your new products to test demand before you lay out big investments. There is a natural tendency or temptation to concentrate on all the peripheral activities of starting a business such as business cards, a website, a glossy brochure and a studio photo shoot. All these things can add to your business marketing as your business develops but in the beginning they could be just massive and unrecoverable expenditure.
Another thing is coming up with an idea for a product or service and developing it to a point where it is adequate. This is the point where many people stop their thinking and do not continue to be generative in their thinking. Why it’s important to go beyond the adequate is because there will be at least 45 competitors out there who have reached a similar level of thinking to you. As Edward de Bono notes, with lateral thinking you can go beyond the adequate through insight restructuring.
Yet another mistake is to continue trying to sell your product or service when you know that demand is slipping or tapering off. It takes an entrepreneur who has a sharp understanding of the marketplace and customers to know when a product or service should be changed or redeveloped. An example of this is how well tablet computers have taken off, replacing laptops. A lot of people don’t need a full laptop and can easily make do with the functionality from a tablet for most of their requirements. A small home-based chilli sauce maker may eventually go out of business if they just continue to make one brand of ultra-hot chilli sauce and not offer mild, medium and mild varieties. They may also find that their chilli sauce is not doing as well as anticipated and branch out into other type of sauces including salad dressings.
The biggest mistake that many of us make is to just sit around waiting for things to happen, ideas to pop out of the blue and money to flow unexpectedly into our banking accounts. Yes, we all make these mistakes but that’s just part of getting up and creating movement in our lives and learning as we go along.