It is heartening to hear, that even the most successful entrepreneurs have made some mistakes along the way. Here are some ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts:
Do remember that a brand follows a great service or product, not the other way around.
Don’t project your hopes for the product or service onto your customer; what do they actually want?
Do ensure your product or service has ‘natural inertia’ which means that it has to have enough of a differential on the current market to warrant customers using that product or service, and to ensure others don’t copy what you are doing.
Don’t fail to understand your customer – be the customer yourself.
Do recognise that your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect before your launch – go for a ‘beta launch’, or is it possible to pitch and sell your product or service before it’s fully developed?
Don’t delay getting early professional help and advice, e.g., legal and accountancy advice, for the sake of saving early costs – it will save you in the longer term.
Do try doing a ‘Mum test’ before you pitch your business idea! If you can clearly and succinctly describe and explain your business idea to your Mum, then it’s more likely others will get it.
Don’t settle for people who are ‘fit for purpose’. Aim to hire the best that you can possibly afford.
Do be wary of bartering equity in return for expertise – you might regret it later on!
Don’t overlook the importance of having very clear financial objectives from the outset - entrepreneurship can be a financially risky.
This article is based on 2016 interviews by Nicola Gardiner with Oxfordshire-based entrepreneurs and those who support local entrepreneurs.