Top 10 Rookie Mistakes for Entrepreneurs

Clifton House Regional office for Tenon; a lea...

Many people who start businesses, including me, have little or no experience and just jump in. Over the years, I have compared notes with many fellow entrepreneurs, and I have seen them make the same mistakes over and over again — I recognize them because I have made them all, too. Here is my list of the biggest rookie mistakes:

1. Keeping your rent as low as possible. The key to business is to keep expenses low, right? Wrong. Sometimes it is worth paying more rent if it will generate more customers, if it gives a better image and inspires confidence, if it helps attract the right employees or if it makes it easier to deal with suppliers. In retail, this one mistake can determine success or failure.

2. Hiring someone you know and trust. Competence is more important. While hiring friends and relatives can work, it severely limits the pool from which you choose, leaving out people who could be much more qualified. Friends and relatives can also carry baggage. They can also be very hard to manage, which leads to my ultimate advice: if you can’t fire ‘em, don’t hire ‘em.

3. Buying used equipment to keep expenses down. This, too, works sometimes, but it is often shortsighted. For example, buying a used truck with 100,000 miles on it will guarantee that you will spend valuable time and money fixing the truck when it should be out taking care of customers. Can you really afford downtime with any machine?

via The Top 10 Rookie Mistakes for Entrepreneurs – NYTimes.com.

Think of yourself as a start-up company

Getting my feet wet

The January 2012 cover story of Fast Company magazine was all about Generation Flux.You’ve heard of Gen X, Gen Y and more, but what is Generation Flux?

Our business world has been through some tumultuous times: Recessions, financial meltdowns, the massive disruption of technology, natural disasters, nations defaulting on their debt, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and much more.

For every catastrophe and massive shift emerge new breakthroughs and advances. During these past few years, we’ve also seen some of the most interesting companies flourish and grow Apple, Facebook, Lululemon, Amazon, Twitter and more, we’ve seen medical advances at an unprecedented pace and the introduction of new technologies that will forever change our future. In short, this is a time of flux … uncertainty. This makes it hard to chart a course — let alone pull together a five-year plan.Have you taken a look at your investment portfolio recently? Do you honestly think that there is a reliable long view out there? It is with this sense of pandemonium that Fast Company has dubbed us — all of us — Generation Flux.

“To thrive in this climate requires a whole new approach,” states the magazine’s article, This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New And Chaotic Frontier Of Business. “ … some people will thrive.They are the members of Generation Flux. This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mindset that embraces instability, that tolerates — and even enjoys — recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions — educational, corporate, political — are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.”

Are you freaked out yet?

via Joel: Think of yourself as a start-up company.