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5 Business Mistakes to Avoid for Millennial Entrepreneurs Harness your fear and channelise it into your passion

By Alphonse Reddy

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In The Alchemist, author Paulo Coelho said, "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure." Here are 5 areas that start-up founders need to steer clear of if they are to chase their dream of building a successful brand.

Don't Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

It is natural for start-up founders to feel fear at every stage of whether their idea will work or not, raising funds or even hiring and retaining the right team, they have to overcome their fears and take risks to achieve their dreams. How can you know the promise the other side holds unless you don't jump over? In fact, some of the mistakes you make could be very valuable lessons that will stand your business in good stead in the long run. According to business magnate Richard Branson, "Fear is a healthy human emotion, so long as you don't let it get in the way of opportunity. You should never let fear hold you back from achieving your full potential. Harness it and channel it into a passion." Powerful words from a powerful man.

Don't Steer Away From Your Core Strength

Just like every individual in this world is unique, so is every business. You might be good in some things and terrible at others. Stick to your core strengths, rather than copying what others are doing. If you are good at something, you'll be motivated to dedicate your time taking it to the next level. Billionaire Mark Cuban once popularly said, "A lot of people talk about passion, but it is not necessary that you will be good at it, instead, pay attention to those things that you are good at." If you do feel compelled to move away from focusing on your core strengths, you will find that you waste precious time and energy struggling to master something that wasn't your forte in the first place, and time, for any start-up is precious. Lots of entrepreneurs keep toying with different ideas when they aren't confident about their own, only to finally get back to their original idea to finally embrace what they love doing best and knowing most about.

Don't Do Too Much Too Soon

The adage, "slow and steady wins the race" holds true for entrepreneurs of start-ups. Don't rush into anything headlong without studying the pros and cons of the industry your business falls under. Once you enter the market, you'll learn along the way. Be open to learning and experimenting, yet don't be over-ambitious. Give yourself time to assess the market before making any mistakes and incurring unnecessary costs that could have been easily avoided. Remember, you want your product to sell and have a long-term brand recall because of the value it offers. Scaling up too fast is a dangerous proposition. Without ballpark estimates at every stage, you run the risk of overspending, thereby burning a hole in your pocket. Let your business grow at a natural steady pace and don't get carried away.

Don't Misinterpret Your Market

You should know the industry and the market your product will sell in like the back of your hand. Thorough market research ensures you are within budget and are not overestimating or underestimating costs. You should know where exactly your product stands in the market, what are your customers' needs and who your competitors are in the market. While your product could bring something new and different to customers, remember to factor in the broader preferences of your target audience. You should be practical about how to create a demand for your product while at the same cater to the basic needs of the consumers.

Don't Give Up Easily

Some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world saw many failures before they wrote out their success stories. Henry Ford went broke five times and was advised to stay away from the automobile industry but was so possessed about his idea that he refused to give up. Armed with sheer determination, strong convictions and a never-say-die attitude, these entrepreneurs found the success they finally craved. While you cannot overlook continuous losses, you should learn how to re-strategise your business plan and keep at it till it reaps profits. Treat it like a learning ground where you stay flexible through the ups and downs. At every stage, you have to think on your heels and never get complacent. Once you have decided to pursue your dream of entrepreneurship, make a resolution not to get out of it until you have given it your best shot.

Alphonse Reddy

Founder and CEO, Sunday Mattresses

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