Thursday, 9 February 2012

Don't Lick That! 10 Common Mistakes.

If you rode the school bus as a kid here in Canada, you know what the inside of the window frames look like when it dips below -25 or so. Yup, they build up a layer of frost that looks sooooo tasty that you just have to lick it. Everyone from your teacher to your parents to your grandparents to that weird uncle that lives in his van has told you , "Do not lick frosty metal." But you do it anyway. Your tongue sticks just like they said it would. You try to counter the bumps the bus hits as your tongue fuses itself to the window frame, but sure enough, you mistime one and riiiip! Den you thalk like dis fou aboud fou houwahs.

We humans are strange beasts. Despite repeated warnings, there are some things we just have to learn the hard way. It is the same when it comes to entrepreneurship. Have you heard these warnings?

  1. Don't assume everyone will love your product just because you and your mom think it is the world's greatest thing.
  2. Do not think that you can handle every little bit of the business yourself just because Tim Horton's introduced a bigger coffee cup.
  3. Do not over promise on what you can deliver in the early stages. That rush order of 5000 hand made puffy slippers will not make itself and your friends will hate you for inviting them to a sweatshop party.
  4. Do not start a business without clear goals. You will not know where you are going and even if you were where you wanted to be you wouldn't know it ... and that sucks.
  5. Do not underestimate costs. Yes, you will have to pay for enough bandwidth to handle an online store. No, they will not give it to you on a trade for your old guitar. 
  6. Do not ignore your instincts. The numbers may point one way, but if your gut points another, listen to it. Unless your gut is just constantly pointing toward the fridge. 
  7. Do not view customers simply as a way to make money. They will hate you.
  8. Do not view employees as a place to save money. They will hate you.
  9. Do not view equipment as a way to save money. Your equipment won't hate you if you buy cheap version of it. But your customers will hate you. Your employees will hate you. Eventually you will hate you.
  10. Do not give up! Seriously, never give up. Change course, adjust strategy, tweak everything, just don;t give up. 
Just as a kid can't help but lick that school bus window frame, most entrepreneurs will make at least one of these mistakes despite all the warnings out there. So really, this blog seems like a waste of time eh? Go lick frosty metal. 

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