13 Biggest Business Mistakes You Can Make
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

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(Image: File)

6. Building a Product Without Customer Feedback

We built an entire product without any customer feedback. As you can expect, it was a failure. We scratched it all and started with an MVP (minim viable product) launch. We leveraged our customers’ insights to build a truly superior product that’s dominating the market now.

— Syed Balkhi , OptinMonster

7. Not Paying for Quality

We’ve decided to go with cheaper freelancers in the past, and it really hurt us in the end. The quality of work was not up to par with what we needed and we ended up paying twice just to get the project done right. Now, we recognize that paying more for quality is always worth the cost.

— Brooke Bergman , Allied Business Network Inc.

8. Not Having a LaserTargeted Focus

Our most profitable years have been without question those spent focusing on building up just one aspect of the business at any given time. When you’re spinning several plates at once, you get mediocre results across the board. However, once you laser focus on one specific area (before moving onto the next), it opens up your creativity, frees your mind from distractions and the results are second to none.

— Alex Miller, PosiRank LLC

9. Getting Caught Up With Side Projects

Entrepreneurs tend to have a million different business ideas constantly floating in their heads. However, it is important that once you’ve picked one to run with, you stick with it even if you get excited about something else. Early on, we got caught up in various projects that had nothing to do with our core business, and it almost caused us to fail. We found success once we found focus.

— James Simpson , GoldFire Studios

10. Not Focusing on Building the Team

One of my biggest mistakes was not focusing on building my team fast enough. It’s always tough to balance building your product with building your team. Looking back, I would have spent more time putting our development team in place quicker instead of working on the product myself. Making an initial upfront investment to ensure your team is in place to scale the product is super important.

— Arian Radmand , CoachUp

11. Chasing the VC’s Dream

Feedback is indispensable, but too much of anything isn’t healthy. When raising our Series A, we acted on feedback from numerous venture capitalists and, before we knew, we had pivoted too far from our core business in an effort to become “investible.” This proved disastrous. After a hard knock, we retraced our steps and eventually raised capital from likeminded investors to build a sustainable business.

— Vishal Shah , NoPaperForms

12. Focusing on the Wrong Thing

The biggest mistake we made was spending our first year obsessing over a product that no one actually wanted. Instead, we should have made the minimum viable product; a barebones version to test the market. It would have saved us time, capital and stress. Mistakes can’t always be avoided, but you can try and mitigate their impact by making smaller and quicker ones.

— Ross Cohen , BeenVerified

13. Being Too Ahead of the Market

My first startup in 2004 failed. The biggest mistake I made was trying to push ideas that were ahead of their time. We were working on a mobile social network that used location based technology. The world wasn’t ready for it. I overcame this by going into sales to prove I could sell. I also got back into coding, and the relationships I developed over the next few years led to Movable Ink.

— Vivek Sharma , Movable Ink

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