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Avoid These Pitfalls of Entrepreneurship

Maria Elena Duron

Either by choice or by circumstance, entrepreneurs launch into their businesses determined to make a living. They're then often accosted by fear, uncertainty, time demands, cash flow concerns and a barrage of advertisers eager for them to spend their money for reach and visibility in the marketplace. All of that is just on the business front. On the personal side, there are also concerns about disappointment and their responsibilities to their families.

When someone becomes an entrepreneur and launches into a business venture, his or her frame of mind is often to start fresh. It's out with the old and in with the new. Plus, best practices learned at corporations are thrown out as old, outdated forms of themselves. It's in that freeing feeling of striking out on your own that entrepreneurs' mindsets fail them.

What got you there will get you here

A common saying among entrepreneurial circles is: "What got you here won't get you there." In the case of a newly developing entrepreneur, a better decision is to make use of that wisdom that you put the time in for.

Here's what likely got an entrepreneur to this point in his or her career: being on time, scheduling events, creating and following systems and processes, taking notes and honing project management skills. That valuable wisdom that can be applied to this new venture.

The allure of the brave new entrepreneurial world leaves people wondering what to do next. Often, home-based entrepreneurs find themselves busy with daily tasks and chores related to the household, the children or the yard. Or they're lured into being in constant weekend mode, filling their days with volunteer, sports and church activities.

Entrepreneur must employ themselves -- much like their past employers expected them to start work on time, deliver and contribute to the company during working hours and diligently follow through with commitments. Entrepreneurs must do all of this for the hardest and most demanding boss they'll ever work for -- themselves.

Compound that with no guarantee of a paycheck or a sure climb up the corporate ladder, and many entrepreneurs abandon what rewarded them with success in the corporate world. They're not giving their own business the schedule and work ethic they once gave to previous employers. Successful entrepreneurs benefit from what they learned doing corporate time and apply that same commitment, dedication and structure to their own endeavor.

Networking matters even more

In the corporate world, networking and focusing efforts on influencers and a high-return individuals is quite common. New entrepreneurs are often all too ready to dismiss this business practice. Even more prevalent in the entrepreneurial world is the practical belief that people do business with people they know, like and trust. The only way that trust can be built is through relationships and communication. The only way communication and visibility can happen is through connections and introductions. And those happen through networking. Identifying a couple key events with a clear plan of what the desired outcome is helps entrepreneurs rationalize and plan networking events with precision and focus.

To this date, Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" still applies and provides insights and structure into beginning and developing lasting relationships that yield great results on the personal and business landscapes.

Focus on learning your industry

Entrepreneurs often wait a long time for their businesses to come to fruition, and when they do, the focus is on building and developing the business. At that point, education in the industry often takes a back seat. This mistake often goes undetected until a competitor creates momentum and overtakes them.

Successful entrepreneurs stay focused on learning their craft or industry. Their appetites for cutting-edge information about their industry is voracious and serves them by positioning them as people who stay current and connected in their field. The most successful take advantage of industry and networking events, as well as opportunities to learn about their industry.

The most successful entrepreneurs bring with them best practices they honed on the job, a drive for networking and a clear understanding that people do business with and through the assistance of others. They also understand that staying at the forefront of their industry is vital to their entrepreneurial success.

Maria Elena Duron is a brand relationship trainer, national presenter, author and small business marketing coach specializing in helping individuals, teams, businesses and organizations apply the concepts of the book "The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace" in their daily business and interactions with customers. She is editor-in-chief of the Personal Branding Blog .



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