By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
What are some of the most common tech entrepreneur mistakes, and how can you avoid them?
Every entrepreneur makes mistakes — and any entrepreneur who claims they haven’t isn’t being honest. There’s no rulebook for building, launching, or growing a business, so much of the wisdom tech entrepreneurs gain comes from stumbling or falling flat on their faces.
The good news is, while you will undoubtedly make your own mistakes, you can avoid many common pitfalls by learning from others’ missteps.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes to help provide a smoother path to success in your B2B tech entrepreneurship journey — and proven tips to help you avoid them.
Failing to Understand the Market
Congratulations! You have a brilliant idea, and you’re mentally prepared to put everything on the line to transform that idea into a legitimate business. But before you do anything else, you need to make sure you’re intimately familiar with your market.
Start by defining your competition. Who are your direct and indirect competitors, and how is your solution different and better? How are your competitors setting themselves apart from each other? Look at their branding, messaging, business model, and dissect their offering.
Next, define your audience — not just the organizations you’ll be selling to, but the individuals within those organizations that are seeking your product or service. Who will be ultimately responsible for approving the purchase? How, exactly, will your offering change their lives? Get to know their pain points, habits, and the triggers that lead them to seek a new solution.
Taking on Too Much Yourself
Sometimes the attributes that make you a great entrepreneur can also lead to your downfall. For example, most entrepreneurs are naturally hyperfocused, goal-driven, and independent people. While you have no problem working in groups, you tend to take on a lot and move fast. But launching a sustainable business takes a village. Trying to do everything yourself will not only drive you to burnout, but it can also make you blind to some of the gaps or weak points that may threaten your success.
Ensure you bring the right people on board early, learn to delegate, and be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Most importantly, take breaks. Sometimes the best ideas and biggest breakthroughs happen when you’re mentally (or physically) thousands of miles from your work.
Waiting Too Long to Invest in the Right Tools
There’s no shortage of incredible software designed to help small and startup businesses work more efficiently and proactively. And while you should avoid throwing money at every shiny new tool you see, it’s crucial you don’t put off investing in the right tech. For example, adopting a powerful help desk software and invoicing and billing solution early on will save you countless hours and plenty of headaches. The more you can automate, the more time you’ll have to focus on your big-picture strategy and scaling your business.p
Neglecting Legal Protection
Although it might sound hyperbolic and alarmist, it’s essential you recognize a lawsuit or other legal concern could destroy your business and leave you in significant debt.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is having unrealistic expectations about what it takes to grow a company. Unfortunately, thanks to social media influencers boasting about tips on private jets and five-car garages, many people significantly underestimate the amount of time, money, and sweat equity it takes to get even the best idea off the ground.
Before you quit your nine-to-five, make sure you’re financially and mentally prepared for the work ahead. Consider finding a mentor to help you navigate uncharted territories early in your entrepreneurship journey and to help you create a solid business plan, then, as you launch and grow your company, help you continually seek new opportunities for innovation.
As any veteran entrepreneur will tell you, launching a business isn’t for the faint of heart. But while there are countless obstacles and unexpected hurdles along the way, it can also be one of the most gratifying paths you’ll ever take. By acknowledging common mistakes early on and taking the necessary steps to avoid those blunders, you’ll be much closer to achieving sustainable success.