There are several rules of business that, if followed, will make you truly successful, whatever your pursuit. Yet, time and again, we don’t take note.
Below are the 10 things to avoid if you want to kick butt in business.
1. Not solving a real problem
You need to evaluate whether or not your business ideas solve a real problem or addresses a real customer need. Then ask yourself if there are people out there actually looking for what you plan to offer, and how much they would be willing to spend to get it. It’s not rocket science.
Did you hear about how the Americans spent millions back in the ’70s trying to make a pen that worked in space? The Russians gave their astronauts a pencil.
2. Lack of Focus
Simple but true. When have you ever focused on several things and done truly well with ALL of them? Sure test them before you make a decision is fine, but choose one as soon as possible and stick with it.
3. Always starting something. Never finishing.
You need to develop a habit of finishing what you start and work on it daily. The less you pile on your plate (see No #2.) the less you’ll have to finish and that means you’re going to complete it!
Apply this liberally – from large projects to your daily activities. Finishing clearing out your office, enter in your expenses, install the anti-virus software, paint your toe nails, book that trip. Listen to Nike: JUST DO IT.
4. Being Cheap
It’s easy to not spend money when you don’t have much of it. But you have to invest in the important things. So make a list of basic items that are really necessary to get your idea off the ground such as the right servers or a domain hosting service.
Next list the items that would be worth investing in because they would likely give you a competitive advantage or strengthen your brand such as a professional Web designer or a marketing and PR specialist.
5. Spending Frivolously
Many people who keep spending money on creating ‘stuff’ because they either have too much money for their own good or still have an income to draw on. Stop putting off launching.
You don’t need the fancy website, the awesome promo video, the snazzy business cards. You just need to have a product or service that functions enough to solve a problem. So create a budget for every project you start, and stick to it religiously.
6. Avoiding the Competition
One of the biggest pet peeves Angel Investors have is hearing a pitch from an entrepreneur who says they have no competition. You want competition as that means there’s a market for your idea.
Unless you’re creating a new market with your product or service, you can pretty much guarantee someone’s doing what you’re planning to do in some shape or form.
Make sure you evaluate the competition you’ll encounter and do this for each of your business ideas and projects so you have a really good understanding of what you’re entering into.
7. Not Emulating the Best
Seek to emulate the best. They set a high standard which can be a little daunting to attempt to reach. What you can do is identify and incorporate the best practices of your market segment.
You can guarantee these smart people will be competing with you, so learn from them before you try to beat them. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just do it better.
8. Thinking you’re Superhuman
Start delegating as soon as possible and focus on the strategic side of the business, because that is where your time will be more effective. I’ve recently taken on not 1 but 3 fabulous interns, each with their own strengths.
I can now focus on business development and the things I love most.
9. Being Inflexible
Remember that your vision should be rock solid but your strategies need to be flexible and reflect the changes in the market place and your customers and tactics can change weekly if not daily.
10. Ignoring the Facts
It’s great to follow your intuition but if you don’t ever weigh in with the facts and do some measuring you will have no idea whether you’re really on track.
Always test and collect facts before making decisions. Why else do you have Google Analytics set up, click through tracking tools and Facebook Insights?
What other things do you think we could avoid as entrepreneurs?
By Natalie Sisson for forbes.com