Love is Blind: 5 Thinking Traps Entrepreneurs
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Passion is important for entrepreneurs. It will help you weather challenges, persist in your hard work and keep your eye on the prize. But passion can be detrimental to your business success if you’re just too in love.
You can be so in love with your idea that you don’t see its weaknesses. You can be so enamored with being a business owner that you don’t recognize what you can and cannot do. You might be so convinced that people need your product or service that you don’t think about whether they want it.
The following are just five of the thinking traps early entrepreneurs can fall into when they’re blinded by love.
Trap 1: Just Build It and They Will Come
This “Field of Dreams” fantasy can derail you. The reality is that your customers won’t come just because your idea, product or service is good, even if it is the very thing you know they need.
Your customers will come if you think about them before you build anything, if you think about what they want first and why. You might be so enthralled with your idea that you can’t see your offering from the customer’s perspective. Stand in your customer’s shoes to understand what they want, why they will choose you, and how you should present your product or service.
When you’re overly confident about your idea without testing its value to others, you’ll over-commit your time and money. Work at defining your target market. Test your ideas before you invest everything.
Confirmation bias plagues us all. There’s just too much going on every moment for our brains to process it all and make judgments about it. Instead, we take shortcuts. We use a preset paradigm to screen information. We tend to notice information that confirms what we already believe and discount any information that goes against this. You can actually fail to see, hear or note anything that challenges your opinion. Confirmation bias is true blindness.
In order to widen your attention and make better decisions about your business, you must solicit the opinions of others and work at paying better attention to things you might not want to believe. It would serve you to seek out evidence that is contrary to your opinions or you might end up operating on mistaken assumptions.
Don’t surround yourself with only people that agree with you and take care to consider potential customer views and behaviors. You may have to work at getting people to share their criticisms with you and challenge your thinking, but setting up a system of checks and balances is important for your success.
Independence is often a driving factor in the decision to start your own business. Doing everything yourself may seem necessary at first, but no one is good at everything and burnout is something to consider. Launching a business takes work but any help you can get, especially with aspects of your business that you don’t know much about or just don’t do very well, will only help you.
It may be hard for you to admit that you can’t handle everything well or you may find it very difficult not to micromanage others, but being able to delegate is the only way you can ever begin scaling your business. In order to grow, you’ll need to focus on primary activities at one point, and leave less important tasks to others.
Prioritizing is a key characteristic of successful businesses. Business success comes from working smarter rather than working harder. There are many things to get done in your business but it’s important to consider what the most important things to do really are and what you need in place for those things to happen. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself caught up in a tidal wave of a to-do list and swept far away from your profit and growth goals.
Put your personal efforts into the 20% of activities that will drive 80% of your profits. For this you need to put people, platforms and systems in place that leave you free to focus on those primary activities. Whenever you can, think about how to automate and delegate to make your life and your business run more smoothly.
Did you know that 80% of your sales will end up coming from just 20% of your customers? That’s why looking at your numbers can cause you to make faulty decisions. Your business depends upon building relationships.
You can see incredible numbers in your first month only to drop into the red before you reach your first anniversary. You might gain sales by offering a discount only to never see those customers again. You may chase numbers by selling many low-end products but never see sales increase of your big-ticket items.
Focusing on sales increases short-term perspective and limits long-term growth. Your success will not depend upon ads or gimmicks that only work temporarily. You don’t want to appeal to everyone: you want to build relationships with those important 20%.
It’s one thing to be driven; it’s another to be bullheaded. If you ignore evidence that your plan isn’t working, you’ll only find yourself wiser in hindsight as your business fails. Don’t stick with losing strategies: set goals and check on your progress frequently. Be agile.
Step back from your efforts frequently and try to get a wider view. You can’t will your way to success because your success depends upon the contributions of others.
Most importantly, try to gain self-awareness before you begin. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, your biases and preferred behaviors, and make a plan that leverages your best qualities and minimizes your worst.