We usually think of entrepreneurs as being young adults (e.g., 20-30). In fact, the Kauffman Foundation tracks entrepreneurship, and finds that the largest cohort is older adults approaching traditional retirement age. (Not surprising, when you realize that many are SharExers, people who like to share their experiences and expertise, have identified market needs, and have the time and resources to start a company.)
Regardless of your age, as a rookie, there are mistakes entrepreneurs are likely to make. Arlen Meyers shared some in “Business Model Rookie Mistakes”. Here are a few mistakes that you want to avoid:
- Going after too many customer segments
- Defining an industry segment, not a customer archetype or persona that you can clearly identify
- Creating a value proposition that focuses on features and technology, not benefits for specific personas
- Not quantifying the customer pain and what they would be willing to pay to get rid of it
- Grossly underestimating the barriers to adoption and penetration and the journey needed to go from early adopters to mass usage.
- Not appreciating the cost of customer acquisition in each market, particularly when there are incumbents
- Not planning on how to keep and grow customers once you get them
He notes that you also have to address your own role as the company scales up. As the company evolves, you need to work on the business, not just in it, or you become the bottleneck to growth. That means planning for plateaus where you can turn to new hiring, outsourcing, automation, new distribution channels, etc. which will support the larger company.
One way to help avoid such mistakes is to become part of a peer-advisory-group of other company leaders, and use a network of professionals to ensure use of resources. Consider Vistage Worldwide, where new members grow 2-3 faster than their competitors because they seek out ways to avoid being blindsided and making mistakes. See Vi-NY.com for more information.