The 7 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Never Make

Some mistakes can be costly, entrepreneurs should zealously guard themselves against succumbing to such risks

learn more about Venkat Ganapathy

By Venkat Ganapathy

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Entrepreneurs are always in the news – either for the right reason or for the wrong reason. Most of them, in recent times, has managed to grab eyeballs for the investments that they managed to attract. Some of them got exposed in the "me-too" scam and faced unexpected risks to their reputation.

Let us look at the seven mistakes that entrepreneurs should assiduously avoid

1. Losing Interest in the Business After a Heady Success!

How often have we heard an entrepreneur selling off his business with the claim that he has reached a saturation point and doesn't see anything of value beyond? After incubating and accelerating the startup and after assuming the risks, when you have achieved success – isn't it time to enjoy the success and then build the business? Success is easy, sustaining is challenging. How can you disown your baby that you so lovingly nurtured? Time for developing a radically different mindset to challenge your own dogmas, assumptions and excuses!

2. Hiring Family Members, Friends and Relatives for Building a Talent Pool

It is easy and enticing to avoid investing in efforts to build a competent, skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Family members and acquaintances are welcome to contribute but they can also demonstrate self-limiting behaviours when expected to have a bias towards performance. The right kind of people with the right set of attitudes and work ethic can prove to be the greatest assets for any organisation. As the old adage goes - familiarity breeds contempt. A professional organisation needs a professional approach when it comes to recruitment and selection.

3. Lose Track of Customer Requirements

After firmly entrenching themselves in the business ecosystem, many entrepreneurs lose track of customer needs. Communication channels with customers have to be thrown open so that there is an ongoing dialogue with your revenue generators. Customer issues have to be nixed and nipped in the bud before they flare up to something that is so serious that it can harm your business interests.

4. Have a Flexible Work Schedule That is Damaging to Business

Flexibility is certainly important to improve productivity; but not at the cost of flouting organisational rules and regulations. Cancelling important meetings with customers and abstaining from participating in crucial project reviews can be anathema for a growing organisation. Some entrepreneurs over-delegate without realizing the harm that it can cause to business. You expect employees to punch in at 9 am but if you are going to saunter into the office at 3 pm – that ends up flashing a wrong signal to employees. Leaders are expected to walk the talk. The trick is that even when you are delegating never overtly trust anyone blindly!

5. Mix Business and Friendship

Friendship deserves its attention outside business hours. The moment the entrepreneur starts mixing business with friendship, he is opening the doors to doom. No one can say when the crucial line will trespass and if that happens, things can become rather unpleasant. Friendship and networking should not be confused.

6. Set Unrealistic Targets as Part of an Overambitious Zeal to Turn Big!

Every entrepreneur dreams big. Nothing wrong with that. But big things take time to happen. Setting impossible targets as part of an overambitious drive will prove to be deleterious in the long run. Businesses need expansion but execution should happen only after much planning, due diligence and investing in thoughtful actions that aim to protect the business interests in the long term.

7. Invest Business Funds in Schemes to Build Personal Wealth.

Following a code of conduct and complying with the laws of the land has become prerequisite for long term sustainability of any business. Globalisation has resulted in opportunities galore but along with these opportunities, new risks are also emerging. Managing governance risks has become singularly important in the digital era. Transparency in the way the funds are managed is critical. It may be tempting to buy a tea estate with a portion of the funds that you have managed to attract but future repercussions will be severe.

Venkat Ganapathy

Associate Professor (Marketing), Presidency Business School, Bangalore

Venkatesh Ganapathy works as Associate Professor (Marketing) in Presidency Business School, Bangalore. He has worked in the industry for close to two decades out of which he was associated with a start-up for close to four years. He has trained and motivated students to become entrepreneurs and explore new career avenues.  He has over 50 research papers, several blogs and 12 books to his credit.

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