Create your own destiny. Be your own boss. For decades, the siren song of starting your own business has called to those with an entrepreneurial spirit. This appeal has only grown in the 21st century, as traditional career models have shifted amid the shrinking middle classes and increasing job automation.
Many governments around the world have recognized this shift and now engage a number of programs to support small business owners. Despite these supports, more than 60% of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of opening, according to numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
However, these statistics are not meant to discourage, but rather to provide insight. It is easy to get caught up in the romance of starting your own business, and become yet another failed business statistic. Invest in your business education to avoid the top five mistakes new entrepreneurs always make.
1. They have no direction.
According to a report studying corporate insolvencies by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, 44% of businesses suffered from poor strategic management. A business plan is essential to securing initial investment and supports. However, a well developed business plan will also provide a roadmap for your future success, by clearly defining strategic priorities and long term goals. Seek out industry expertise to ensure you are exploring your passion with the best possible chance of success.
2. They fail to develop a support system.
Entering the fashion industry is not easy. Successful entrepreneurs require a combination of creative innovation and business sense to see their hard work get off the ground. Most people new to the business have experience in one area, but lack in another. Securing mentorship will ensure you have all the tools you need to grow success. Investing your time and money in a course will provide you with opportunities to network with colleagues, as well as expertise from industry veterans.
3. They refuse to delegate.
You can not be all things to all people. While successful entrepreneurs resolve to learn everything they can about their industry, it is not essential or wise to complete every task yourself. Seek expertise on how to effectively prioritise and delegate to avoid spreading yourself too thin. The best managers also use these opportunities to learn from those who work with and for them. Learning to delegate early also gives you a chance to offload some of the day-to-day operations with growing success, and shift your focus back to the creative side.
4. They do not identify their target market.
Many business schools advise new graduates to develop a picture of their Ideal Customer when creating a marketing strategy. Envisioning your Ideal Customer helps you make decisions about pricing, location, and trends. Enlisting the advice of a mentor or business school will help you gather the most reliable information about your Ideal Customer.
5. They neglect to engage with their market in a meaningful way.
Most business owners are aware of the need to develop their brand on social media. However, what I often see is entrepreneurs failing to engage with their market on social media or elsewhere in a meaningful way. It is not enough to create a Facebook and Instagram and leave it at that. The most successful businesses locate their target demographic (online and in-person), understand what they are looking for, and communicate with their customers on a consistent and reliable basis.
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