Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should NOT Make - based on frequently heard statements.
By Prof. Liora Katzenstein, President, ISEMI - Entrepreneurship in Israel
- "The Product will sell itself"
If you believe this, and don't do the required marketing - at the right time, in the right way, on a regular basis - the probability is very high that you will fail.
- "We will raise the money later"
Don't be sure that you can raise it later. Markets change, investor interest changes, new competitors appear. So, when you have the chance for an investment, take the money and run.
- "Why do we need a lawyer/accountant/consultant, etc?"
You need the best possible professional help you can get, to prevent the mistakes that can destroy your business, and to give you the best chance to succeed. You may think professionals are too expensive, but, it is much more expensive in the long run without them.
- "We will make the decisions informally. No need to put anything on paper".
Write everything down, at least in draft form, so when people remember things differently, you have a document that you can refer to.
- "Tell the customer it will take a week, and then we'll see what we can do".
Don't make promises to customers that you can't keep. Develop a reputation for credibility and reliability. If you can't meet a tight schedule, be honest about it. Build your customer base to last. Build long-term relationships. Don't see them as one-time buyers; you need them to come back again and again and to recommend you to others.
- "The customer will take care of the adjustments".
The customer does not understand your product the way you do. Don't make him struggle with it; help him by offering easily accessible, professional support.
- Competition? What competition?"
Don't assume that you have no competition, or that it is not serious. There are lots of people in your field, in many parts of the world, who may be designing a product that is just as good or better than yours, or that is being introduced to the market before yours is ready. Be aware and make plans accordingly.
- "Clearer than this … impossible!"
You designed and developed your product. Everything is clear to you. Remember that the customer needs very clear, explicit, simple documentation. Have a technical writer, mother-tongue English if possible, prepare high-level material.
- "No need for written agreements; we're old buddies".
Write everything down and get everyone to sign. People can easily forget or choose to forget what was agreed. People outside the immediate circle will soon join you, and they need to know exactly what agreements are in place. Friendships don't last forever, especially when money - or the lack of it - is involved.
- "They are really getting on our nerves, these investors".
Investors have put a lot of money into your company, taken a big risk, and stand to lose everything if you don't make it. They have every right to receive regular, honest reports, and to have their advice at least listened to seriously.