Launching a business is a scary and exhilarating time for any entrepreneur, just ask YSN.com member Kristopher Simmons. He’s president and CEO of Fire Eye Productions, a digital media service provider, and was named Tennessee’s SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. He shared his thoughts on a few common mistakes made by business owners.
1. What if you grew your company too fast? You find that you have too many people, not enough work and not enough money. You’ve got two options, sell more or reduce your overhead. Selling more isn’t something you can affect overnight. Reducing overhead IS something you can do within 24 hours. Letting people go is never a fun thing to do as an entrepreneur but holding on to employees for too long can thrust you into major financial trouble. The key is to not make the same mistake twice. After you “right-size” your company today, don’t fall into the same trap again. When you get another burst in revenue, remember what it felt like to fire people because you didn’t have enough money to keep them on board. That should be all the fuel you need to focus on getting more work accomplished with less people.
2. What if you underestimated your cash needs in the first years of starting up? Talk with successful entrepreneurs about what you should do to correct the situation. You’ll find that they will have a wealth of information that will help you and a few of them may even want to help by investing in your business. As always, work very hard to keep costs down no matter how long you’ve been in business. There will ALWAYS be cash flow management concerns – no matter how large or small your business is.
3. What if you receive a negative review or bad word-of-mouth? Never retaliate! Stay above the situation with absolute professionalism. Lastly, learn from it. Did you do something wrong that should be corrected? Can you call the person that gave the bad review and right the situation? What can you do for them that will make them happy? Sometimes you can’t do anything to change it. Again, learn from it and try to avoid similar situations in the future. It’s impossible to make everyone 100 percent happy. It’s how you handle the people who aren’t happy that will determine your overall success.