I love to find articles about building a business, written by men and women who have actually done that! Particularly those who were (and many times still are) branded as rebels and dangerous risk takers. Many have suffered and failed, but those that survived have thrived greatly.
One such legendary rebel is noted entrepreneur and businessman Sir Richard Branson. He has taken incredible chances and risks and has lost some and others he has won big. He continues to speculate and take risks as a leading pioneer in aerospace commerce.
The article I found was an interview in the on-line magazine, Entrepreneur.com. The article was called “Richard Branson on How to Avoid Common Startup Mistakes” and I wanted to share a few of the questions and answers with you from that article. This is just a few segments from this very interesting interview.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting out?
A: Making mistakes is part of the process of building a company; quickly recovering from them is what’s most important. It’s all part of the adventure of entrepreneurship, which will require all of your stamina, drive and determination.
But your way forward is not entirely uncharted: When you notice an opportunity that has never occurred to anyone else, there are certain steps to turning your vision to reality. You must formulate an innovative business plan, find funding, hire the right people to carry out the plan, and then step back from your role in the business at exactly the right moment.
Let’s take a look at a few of these steps:
Step 1: Stay on Target
A mistake often associated with the first step is signaled by an entrepreneur’s inability to clearly and concisely convey his idea. You have to be able to generate buy-in from investors, partners and potential employees, so nail down your “elevator speech” – what you would say if you ran into an important potential investor in an elevator. Try using a Twitter-like template to refine the essence of your concept into just 140 characters. Once you’ve done that, expand your message to a maximum of 500 characters. Remember the shorter your pitch is, the clearer it will be.
Step 2: Be Realistic About Costs
Don’t shortchange your start-up when estimating the funds you will require-you’ll just diminish your chances of success. Keeping your expenses under control is vital, but don’t confuse capitalizations with costs. The playing field is littered with undercapitalized start-ups that were doomed from the outset.
Step 3: Hire the People You Need, Not the People You Like
At tempting as it may be to staff your new business with friends and relatives; this is likely to be a serious mistake. If they don’t work out, asking them to leave will be very tough.
Step 4: Know When to Say Goodbye
A great entrepreneur knows when the time has come to leave the CEO role. It’s seldom easy, but it has to be done: few entrepreneurs make great managers. In my own case, managing the daily operations of a business simply isn’t in my DNA.
Stepping back doesn’t mean turning your back on your business. Founders shouldn’t hesitate to re-insert themselves into their businesses when necessary.
Building your business isn’t easy but I specialize in helping business people grow and prosper no matter the economy. That’s what I do so let me know if I can help. Give me a call or write today. I’m open for business! And as always,