Afraid of getting burned as a business owner? You’re not alone. There are plenty of potential pitfalls and scams for entrepreneurs to avoid: it’s almost like there’s a constant cloud over us as we try to focus on our business versus falling prey to missteps.
Partnerships that go nowhere. Investing in marketing channels that result in no ROI. “Sure things” that are total risks. The list goes on and on.
The key to avoiding problematic scenarios is having the right mindset and knowing which questions to ask prior to making any significant business decision. Keep the following tips in mind to get your head right and understand what you need to do to stay level-headed as an entrepreneur.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Simply put, you need to treat your business as a marathon versus a sprint. Anything that smells like a get-rich-quick scheme is often much more trouble than it’s worth.
Ask Lots of Questions
Taking a step back instead of jumping into anything is always sound advice, but it’s especially important when dealing with money or business investments. There’s no harm in asking questions, especially if it’s for the sake of keeping more money in your pocket.
For example, Tim Sykes’ guide to choosing penny stocks is a prime example of being level-headed and doing your homework prior to investing a dime. Just as nobody should blindly buy a stock because someone said so, you shouldn’t make rash decisions yourself. Asking questions doesn’t have to result in analysis paralysis or mean you’re indecisive: it’s simply a way to keep yourself in check.
Keep Your Friends Close
The importance of having a good, strong network of personal and professional relationships can’t be overstated. Sometimes you just plain need to talk out your thoughts with people that you can trust. Doing so can help you avoid questionable decisions.
On a similar note, working with people within your network also means fewer opportunities to connect with total strangers that could burn your business. Whether looking to either hire to seek out a consultant, for example, start with your network and branch out from there.
Trust the Process of Trial and Error
Believe it or not, failing has its benefits for business owners.
Sometimes you simply have to see for yourself if an investment is worth your time and be willing to fail in the process. After all, there’s no better way to learn than by experiencing something firsthand, right?
Simply accept that being an entrepreneur requires a bit of trial-and-error. It may be cliche, but there’s nothing quite like learning from your mistakes to avoid making them again in the future.
Stick to Your Principles
Having ethics goes hand in hand with being an entrepreneur. Whether it’s sketchy business practices or scummy marketing, strive to stick to your guns when it comes to your morals and values. Compromising your beliefs for the sake of business will only leave you with feelings of regret in the long run.
Trust Your Gut
Finally, sometimes you just have to trust your instincts and walk away from potential opportunities. Learning to trust your intuition takes time and might go ahead the conventional wisdom of “following the money” or only making data-driven decisions. Even so, sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and move on: this rings true for problem clients, marketing channels and other investments that simply aren’t worth the stress they bring.
No entrepreneur wants to get burned by bad business decisions; however, avoiding missteps is easier said than done these days. By sticking to these six tips, though, you can keep yourself grounded and detect trouble when it does arise.