Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Business Mistakes

You all may have read about the successes behind some of how these bawses – Rebekah Minkoff (Rebecca Minkoff), Ivan Lim (Brosa), Gary Elphick (Disrupt Sports),Jane Lu (Showpo), Alyce Tran (The Daily Edited) and Iyia Liu (Waist Trainer New Zealand Australia) – built their empire, but what you may not know are some of the mistakes that got them there.

In an ongoing collaboration with these entrepreneurs, who are speaking at a national retail event in Melbourne in May, Seamless Expo had the pleasure of reaching out to its friends and honing in on key mistakes they have learned along the way. And here are the top 10:

  1. Not Knowing Your Numbers

Numbers is the language that profit and loss speaks. Being financially literate means you understand what is making you a profit and what is causing you losses. When you know your margins, then you know where your business stands.

  1. Getting the Wrong Supplier

 Your supplier will affect your product. Ergo, your relationship with your supplier will affect your relationship with your customer. So do your homework, get samples of your products, and this, in turn, will help you make better decisions.

  1. Not Paying Attention to Your Last Mile

 Just as you can get the supplier wrong, getting the service delivery provider wrong affects your customers’ experience massively. Your relationship with your service delivery provider is the last journey which your product or service meets your customer. When you control your product (through all points of its journey) you can control your customers’ experience.

  1. Not Truly Understanding the Problem you are Solving

KISS. No, this is not a request. KISS is a prompt to Keep It Super Simple. This one was pretty straight forward and across the board. Making sure you clarify and communicate your understanding of the problem. Question your assumption about what you know about the problem before you start working on it.

  1. Not Following Your Gut When Hiring People

Your people make your culture and your company. Always follow your gut.

  1. Not Diversifying Marketing Channels

 Don’t invest it all in one channel. Make sure you expand your marketing channels, otherwise you run all your risk and reliance in one channel. When you diversify your channels, you spread your risk.

  1. Taking on Too Much

You need to let your business grow. And to do this, you need to step away sometimes. Instead of working for your business, you can start working on your business.

  1. Not Having a Partnership Agreement

Although this may seem unnecessary (or awkward) in a small company that’s just starting out, especially if you’re friends, it is still so crucial to have set agreements written out. This takes me back to my contract law days and I could not agree enough with this. You can avoid problems early, when clear roles and responsibilities are set out. Expectations are managed and you know who’s offering what to the business.

  1. Planning Too Much

Is “Perfection is the Killer of Production” an acceptable adage now? If not, it should be. Good things comes to those who hustle, and there is no set plan on how to hustle. Everyone does it differently, and finding your own hustle means taking action. So don’t over plan as you’ll be given curve balls and you need to roll with them.

  1. Don’t Over Rationalise

Learning as you go, and as you do, you’ll realise the details that actually goes into getting things done. There are no clear paths to success, no matter how rational or obvious it may seem.

Mistakes are our best teachers and there are plenty of lessons still along the way. If you’re reading this, I do hope you got value out of it and can take this back in whatever venture you pursue. There are some true principles in here that also speak to us about our outlook on life and how we manage our relationships with business, with our friends and with ourselves.

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