I just watched the DVD of the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith. Will Smith’s character signed a dealership agreement with a bone density scanner machine company to become the exclusive distributor in the San Francisco area. He had such great expectations about the business, which unfortunately turned out to be unrealistic. Doctors found his machines to be expensive and an “unnecessary luxury.”
Like Smith’s character in the movie, one of the common mistakes made by startup entrepreneurs is setting unrealistic expectations about the business.
When we start our businesses, we are often so full of optimism that things will go out really, really well. Whether joining an MLM network, or starting an online business, or starting a retail store, we dream that cash will start rolling in. We think that things will work out as we have planned — which is all good, of course, as we need to be optimistic about the prospects of the business.
Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t work out as we hope it to be. We open an online store, only to find 6 months down the road that we have not received any sales — despite spending and spending on pay per click advertising or printing tons of flyers. Or we join a network marketing program only to find that selling the products or recruiting new members is very hard to do.
How did it all go wrong? It may be a combination of naivete, or unrealistic expectations.
I remember the first time I did a business plan. When it came to the financials, my projections were off the charts! I felt confident that things will work out just as I had planned that right from the get-go, I projected that the business will earn, and continue earning month after month. Of course, it did not happen.
When I talk to other new entrepreneurs, I find that I am not alone, and it’s a common mistake committed by too-eager prospective business owners. Here are some steps to avoid this problem:
1. Research and understand the business thoroughly. Read about the business from books. Search forums where other business owners congregate.
2. Talk to others already doing the business. You will find that some entrepreneurs are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Use resources such as Yahoo Answers or forums to ask about other people’s experiences.
3. Find a mentor. Go to your nearest Small Business Development Center or SCORE offices and check if you can find someone in the same industry who may be willing to work with you and help you. Or join your local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
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