With my entrepreneurial spirit, I thought I had the best business idea ever. There were new technologies and an upcoming sales trend in the events planning industry. They sparked a new ambition in me, and I thought I was ready with a fool-proof enterprising idea. Unfortunately, it never worked but I kept asking myself why. It was not until I met a business mogul that I realized I made a few mistakes. I am sharing them today so you can learn before starting any business.
Marketing in business is a never-ending aspect. I thought that the few paid ads on Facebook would cut it forever. What I didn’t know is that prospecting is an ongoing process whether I am doing it one-on-one or on my social media walls. The important thing is to direct campaigns where the target audience is. For example, nowadays you can use GIFs to promote your brand on the correct social media channels, but they need to be relevant and consistently posted. It can be costly but worthwhile in the long run. People don’t buy products and services the first day they see them. We need to keep reminding them that the commodities still exist with persistent marketing strategies.
When I started my event planning company, I was already into freelance photography and still pursuing a managerial course. The problem is I didn’t want to walk away from photography as it has always been my passion. I couldn’t drop my studies either. Because the events company was still new, I figured out there wouldn’t be much to earn even if I ran it full time. These commitments did not allow me to give my new business my full attention. After eight months, it had still not taken off and so I gave up. This is what happens to many business people. They are quick to start something but day to day life commitments do not allow them to focus on their new venture. Opening a business as a side hustle is not something I would advise young entrepreneurs to do, unless they have tried it before.
An idea may be compelling and exciting but if there is no demand for the product or service, it may not solve any problems. The demand for a commodity has a lot to do with sales. No business can survive without sales revenue. However, many consumers don’t know if they need a product until they see it. What if we show them and they still don’t show interest? How good is the product? Most successful entrepreneurs start by identifying existing needs, then they fulfil the desires of the community. Otherwise, without pain and desire in the market, we cannot have a successful business.
Not many people understand the term ‘it’s just business’. Many times, I was told to never mix business with pleasure, friendship, and family. I learned this lesson the hard way when I rented out my tents, seats, and PA system to a former schoolmate. Claire had a big birthday party in town, and she needed the facilities to host her guests. I quoted the price and gave a discount for friendship’s sake. Normally, I would charge clients before they hire my equipment, but this time Claire was to pay after the party. A few days later I called to ask for the payment and her response was: “I thought we were friends”. And that’s how our friendship broke. She clearly didn’t understand business and my biggest mistake was not setting the rules and boundaries.
Sales don’t come out of the blue. It takes time to build a clientele base to pay off the capital. Meanwhile, we still need money to add stock and pay staff. Success requires constant cash flow. Without money on the table, we might end up in a line of credit even before the venture starts pumping.
At one point in life, we get new enterprising ideas. But very few take time to determine if it’s worth it. We are quick to jump on to bandwagons without doing enough research. Unfortunately, some ventures are bound to fail. Sometimes we get signs that our schemes are not that great, yet we ignore them. Failing in business is terrible but a good life lesson. But we can avoid loss of time and resources if we stop getting into business blindly.