Your dream venture might never happen not because it’s not a good idea or it’s not needed, but because it might be under resourced. Entrepreneurs in their zeal to get their dreams birthed usually shortchange the true cost of what it takes to create a sustainable business. Here’s some of the most common mistakes:
You don’t pay yourself enough. In order to get the business going, entrepreneurs will often pay themselves very little or nothing at all. That’s not a sustainable model. If the business cannot pay you a decent wage in a short period of time, then rethink your model altogether.
Your financials, income/expense projections are unrealistic. I was guilty of this for years. Being optimistic, I have always projected high on the income, and being very frugal, I default to thinking things cost a lot less than they actually do. Unrealistic targets can put too much stress on a new venture. If you are new at this, find someone whom you can trust with business questions and have that person check your assumptions. Assume the best case scenario but be prepared for the worst.
You don’t have enough margins for error. Some ventures feel like the Apollo 11 mission to the moon: in order for it to survive everything has to go just right. That’s seldom the way things go. Contingency = good business.
You don’t understand sales and marketing. A great service business, non profit, or product that no one knows about will put you out of business. A mediocre product in the hands of a great sales and marketing person or team has a much better chance to make it than something great without a champion to sell it. And that’s even more true when it comes to churches and not for profits.
You don’t have the right people around you. I have seen men and women with great vision, passion and talent whose dreams have never materialized because they did not have the right team, whether paid, volunteer or even advisory, to pull it off. I wrote more about it here. The right people is critical to making it happen.
Have you ever thought of starting your own business?