BY AJAY MADHUKAR ON SEPTEMBER 28, 2015
We can’t deny that entrepreneurship is a growing trend, especially here in Malaysia. In an average week, you might meet at least one person that’s either some sort of an entrepreneur or someone that’s about to quit their boring 9-to-5 job (seems like everyone wants to be their own boss) to pursue their dream of becoming the next Malaysian Richard Branson.
There’s no doubt that entrepreneurship is a path that’s filled with thrills and promises of golden rewards but it’s also one that’s filled with inevitable risks.
While there are obviously some entrepreneurs that are more risk-averse than the rest, there’s no denying that you have to develop the skills to weigh the risks involved in each and every business decision.
While you may think that you’re an outlier that won’t fall susceptible to the mishaps of being an entrepreneur, here are a few things that you might be taking for granted in regards to your business.
1. Skipping employee background checks
Your team is your most valuable asset that you constantly need to prune and train on your journey of being successful. Often times, it also means that you may need to add new people that will bring in fresh perspective and expertise into your team. And that means conducting piles of interviews with applicants that all say the same thing:
“I’m very passionate about _________.”
To thin out the crowd, you need to invest some time into checking their profiles on LinkedIn, having a word with their former employers and stalking them on social media. In essence, the background checks and a stringent interview process should not be compromised or overlooked.
2. Overspending on unnecessary things
As an entrepreneur, you need to know when to plan and stick to a budget, and when to relax and splurge on entertainment and other perks. You don’t always have to follow the “Google” norm and create an awesome work environment when you can only afford the bare minimum.
Good working culture has its significance; however, you don’t need a flat screen HD TV and a pool table to cultivate it in the workplace. Besides, if you have the right employees who are already intrinsically motivated to do their best, you won’t need a glamourous office.
3. Not insuring your business
This is a big one. While entrepreneurship may promise great rewards, it may also prove deadly, not because you don’t pay attention to how badly the Ringgit is doing every hour, but because of some factors that are way beyond your control.
Fires, burglary, floods, accidents and other acts of nature may just be the gun to put an end to all of your entrepreneurial dreams.
To protect yourself and your business, make sure you invest some of your funds into a SME insurance. SME insurances that are provided by certain parties such as AXA SME SmartBusiness insurance are specially designed to cater the protection needs of the businesses.
This is so that if things ever turn sour (one cannot deny the possibility is very high when it comes to entrepreneurship), at least you have something to fall back on.
4. Being overly stingy with crucial necessities
If you’ve ever followed Aziz Ansari’s entrepreneurial stint on Parks & Recreation, you should be aware of this principle. You have to spend money to make money–well, obviously not all your money.
A good way to illustrate this principle is to think about how you’d purchase a website for your company. It always makes sense to purchase a good website as opposed to a cheap and lousy looking website.
While purchasing an awesome and a professional looking website may cut a little into your pockets, they tend to make your business look more professional and trustworthy which will eventually turn to leads.
Being smart in knowing where and when to spend your money helps a lot in the long run.
5. Underestimating the time necessary to manage a business
If you’re trying to make it as an entrepreneur, chances are you’re always preoccupied with work and it’s very difficult to maintain your personal relationships. You end up pursuing your definition of success while unconsciously ignoring the people that matter the most to you.
Balancing your personal and professional lives while communicating your vision to the people who matter most to you will definitely help to manage expectations from others and yourself.
6. Thinking that you are the only person you need to depend on
No man is an island. If you’re looking to build something that can truly have an impact in your industry and in your society, then you need to realise the strength in having a unified and diverse team.
Even though you might have been the sole founder of your business, there’s always a limit to how much you know and how much you can do. And that’s where other members of your team can play an important role.
Different people—be they your co-founders, team members or mentors—bring in a wide range of skills, expertise and insights that you can strategically use to obtain a competitive advantage. Take Google for example, they emphasise a great deal on diversity because they understand that it unlocks true creativity.
Even Fong Kam Ling, the founder of local startup CLOSETStyles said, “I guess there isn’t anyone that smart who can build a unicorn alone. It’s the team!” In case you didn’t know, a “unicorn” in the investment industry refer to companies that have soared to a $1 billion valuation or higher, based on fundraising.
Often times, it’s these factors that entrepreneurs tend to overlook which have the potential to either make or break your business. Although a common business principle is to fail often and fast, it definitely helps to do what it takes to avoid failures that are just plain unnecessary in the first place.