I have had an interesting journey in business and I made many crazy mistakes during my early years. I literally laugh when I look back because some mistakes were just too dumb. I will share with you a few of my many dumb mistakes.
A few times a thought of quitting crossed my mind. In fact, more than once I spent over two sleepless weeks contemplating on the next move after quitting. When I look back I think it was extremely unreasonable of me to think of quitting because I wouldn’t have become who I am today. I wasted time thinking of quitting, time that I should have used fighting for the business.
- CEO Too Early
I started acting like a boss instead of an employee. I was trying to over organize too early by putting a secretary & Personal assistant in place when it was far from being necessary. I hired sales people and begun feeling like I should not be in sales, forgetting that the most important role of a startup entrepreneur is sales. Company sales nosedived as a result and I had difficulties maintaining operations.
- Advise From Too Many People
When I was starting out I had this edge to fully consult. There is nothing wrong with that but the biggest question is ‘Who are you consulting?’ I had too many people giving me many different and contradicting ways of how I can grow as an entrepreneur which confused me in the process. I was once convinced that selling a wide range of products is the best way of winning more customers but that proved to be the worst nightmare.
- Living The Dream Too Early
I had a crazy way of living my dream too early. During our traditional wedding ceremonies, we were required to present monetary gifts one at a time. Whenever it was my turn I would be out there splashing out money for the show. I did the same at family events like funerals which required my contribution. I would contribute fifty if not a hundred times more than my peers like cousins at the expense of the business. Before long the business showed me the EXIT door.
- Not Having A Schedule
I had no systematic approach to business, no proper planned out strategy when I was starting out. As a consequence I found myself stagnated and not progressing because I would wake up and face whichever direction the spirit led scouting for sales without a strategy. Now that I know, I think I was dumb to make such an unreasonable mistake when starting out.
- More Employees Means Growth
At one point I was so interested in seeing my business grow and was mistaken of the view that the more employees I had the bigger the business was. At one time I had more employees than necessary and it cost me savings and direction which eventually caused me stress. I have since learned that you can have a small but effective team achieving so much more than a bigger ineffective team.
These are amongst the many mistakes I made but now I know and I have grown passed such silly mistakes. I hope you have picked one or two lessons.
By: Dumisani Ncube
Founder/Group Chairman, DLN Group