Common mistakes entrepreneurs make


Entrepreneurship is often a misunderstood profession. It’s a profession that takes a mastery of multiple disciplines and the flexibility of the world’s best contortionist.  Most of the people in your life will fail to understand and comprehend the journey you find yourself on; you’ll regularly be reminded, told, instructed and demanded to go and find a job!

Please don’t listen to those people, take the chance and embrace the pain and the poverty . Do something meaningful with your life because you have the chance to stand up and be a visionary.

Always seek knowledge and advice from those who have failed before you – they’ve learnt the hard lessons.  These are a couple of key areas where a fledgling entrepreneur might find their sprint to the finish diminished to a woeful faceplant down the 100m dash to success.

1. Sweating the small stuff

Too many people get bogged down in the detail and simply never start trading.  Research, strategic planning, business case studies, competitor analysis and more will simply mute your spirit, suck up your resources and delay the important task of generating revenue.

Formulate your idea, be flexible and correct on the move, find a way to monetise your business fast and keep the focus on what you need to do.  Most new businesses don’t have the luxury of cash to burn while creating and refining the plan or polishing the product and those that do forever regret the long-term consequences of the price of external capital.

2. Not paying attention to the small stuff

Now that you are focused on not sweating the small stuff, best we pay attention to the small stuff – so it doesn’t bite your already well-kicked backside.  Without removing the critical task of starting to trade, you do need to flesh out your idea, create a plan, get registered, get the right documentation and get compliant with tax and other regulations.

You will also have to find the resources you need, understand the market you’re operating in as well as tick off a never-ending myriad other things you never knew a business had to have or was required to have in order to operate.

3. Ego

Awesome, you’re now a CEO! That’s an important job title, but guess what?  In the world of entrepreneurship, the CEO is also the cleaner, the maintenance man, the courier, the receptionist and if you have staff, the person responsible for other people’s welfare.  Best you lose the ego fast – nothing will kill your business faster than the little evil thing called ego.  Plus, people tend to identify better with a real, honest and authentic person.

4. Procrastination

The world without a boss seems wonderful, no fixed hours, perhaps no need to go to an office and a ready supply of excuses means that procrastination can easily become your worst enemy.  Make a plan with deadlines.  Stick to that plan with the fervent devotion of a cult member and don’t allow others to demand your time because you don’t have a job.

5. Perseverance

This is simply the key to being an entrepreneur.  You will be rejected.  Over and over and over again.  Get used to it.  Don’t be discouraged, learn from the rejection, refine your plan, product or service while maintaining your vision and try again.  And then keep on going no matter what gets thrown at you.

About the author

Laurence Woodburn is a Fetola mentor and has two decades’ experience in a variety of commercial and industrial sectors including tech startups and the emerging markets. Added to this was exposure to commercial and domestic property, advertising and the digital realm. He has dealt with listed companies, the SME sector as well as the NGO world and Government Departments. Visit his website