Starting A Business: Are You A Player Or Are You Playing?

Roulette wheel.I am often asked what the worst possible mistake is when starting a business.

The worst possible marketing mistake when starting a business is underestimating the time and capital required for effectively promoting your business in the marketplace. You need time and money to market and marketing needs to be preeminent in your business.

Who Are You Trying To Impress?

All budding entrepreneurs seem to know how important image is in business, unfortunately many neophytes focus on image alone. Will Rogers provides a succinct definition that can be applied to this type of behaviour, “Spending money you don’t have buying things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like.”

I refer to this as “playing” at business. Many new entrepreneurs splash out start up capital on the trappings of “success” without the sales to support them. They want the benefits of business success without paying the price. These poor misguided souls have style but no substance.

It’s always easy to identify people “playing” at business. When starting up their businesses they do some or all the following…

Buy all new office equipment, new computers, the latest software, and new office furniture. Rent trendy offices in the right part of town and pay to have them decorated. Install phone lines, fax lines, high speed Internet lines, and lease an expensive company car.

While sitting amidst their finery those “playing” at business think they have all the bases covered. The only overlooked detail within their shiny new offices is a remotely realistic plan to generate revenue.

Oftentimes these overburdened and under-capitalized businesses fail. Inevitably, those “playing” at business are the same people who will tell you how embittered they are about their negative experience in business. They will also wildly lament about all of the money they’ve lost. You see the same pattern endlessly repeat itself with predictably appalling results. It’s sad, and preventable.

Ultimately, truly successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of cash flow over image. If you are going into any business remember that it will cost twice as much and take twice as long as you expect to build your customer base.

Hewlett Packard Started Out In A Shed

Remember that many great companies started in garages and basements. Don’t overburden your start up business with image based commitments. I’d rather start out in a shed and move out when the business was rolling than move out, spend money unnecessarily, and end up permanently living in a shed.

Want To Be A Player?

With few exceptions, successful entrepreneurs are usually the result of substance over style, sacrifice over self-indulgence. Whether you are just starting up or are running an established business have a laser like focus on the most important aspect of business, generating sales leads and closing sales.

Once you’re successfully and firmly established go out and buy the BMW. Until then remember the three most important elements of business: sales, sales, and sales.

Andrew Shedden
 

Andrew is the president of Broadfield Communications. When he's not working he likes reading history and biographies. He enjoys classic cars, music, and everything about rural settings. He loves to travel the world.

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