To be successful at anything at all, you have to know what to do and what not to do. If you miss out on these, there will be no guarantee that you will succeed.
Running a business as a student is no different. You need to know about the things that will make you successful. Once you identify what will make you successful, you then have to try them out. That is to say, you have to practice those things.
Most of the times, you only know if something will make you successful when others have done it and achieved success. If there is going to be an assurance that what you are doing will lead you to success, then others might have done it before you. You learn from them, replicate it and achieve that level of success they got to.
This is what we call the roadmap to success. However, this is not unique to success only. Failure on the other hand can either be replicated or avoided. If you follow what people did to fail, you will certainly fail.Failure can either be replicated or avoided, if you follow what people did to fail, you will certainly fail.Click To Tweet
Hence, it is important to understand the roadmap to failure. Once, you understand this roadmap, you have to do everything possible to avoid it or the things in it in order not to fail.
There are some practices that have been tried and tested, and known to lead to the failure of student entrepreneurs. As such, you as a student entrepreneur, need to know these and do your best to avoid them.
In this post, I discuss 5 very common mistakes that student entrepreneurs make which leads to their failures. These are mistakes that any student looking forward to start their own business or already managing a business in school should avoid in order to succeed.
Comparing yourself to other student entrepreneurs
One common mistake most student entrepreneurs make right from the start is comparing themselves with others. What they fail to realize is that most of the people they compare themselves to probably started before them. Some of which also had more resources at their disposal than they did.
There could be a whole lot of reasons why other student entrepreneurs are doing better than you. However, this should not discourage you at all.
By comparing yourself to them, you may force yourself to do things which may be beyond your reach. Such an action can easily lead to the downfall of the business.
If you ever want to look into the life of other student entrepreneurs, the only thing worth picking out from them is inspiration.
And nothing else!
How do you do that?
Look at it from this angle, they’re students who started their own businesses while in school and managed to become successful in both their businesses and academics.
Learn from their secrets to success and you can replicate some of them. Don’t go comparing yourself with them no matter your differences.
To be successful in your business together with your academics as well, you have to know yourself better.
If you really know yourself, you won’t compare yourself unnecessarily with other people. This is because you know your weaknesses and your strengths. Self-knowledge is very key to business success. In a previous post entitled, “How to build a business that earns you substantial income in school”, I explain delve into details on the importance of self-knowledge to the success of a student entrepreneur. I entreat you to take a read of that piece.
Instead of comparing yourself to other student entrepreneurs, just identify your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to use your strengths the more in your business entity.
For your weaknesses, I want you to put them in two different parts; the ones that will impact your business negatively and the ones that will have practically no impact on your business.
For those that will impact you negatively, ask yourself this; ” Is it something I can learn and get better at?”. If yes, then go ahead and make some time to learn it. If your answer was “No” to the question above, then you have to look for someone who has that as their strength. You either bring them on board as a partner or contract them. By contracting them, you will have to pay them as and when their services will be required.
Failure to set goals
Most often than not, young people like yourself come up with a business idea and they jump straight to starting the business. Your inability to plan ahead of time will lead you to failure in your business.
“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, this is the golden rule in life and business.
Once you start a business, you have a certain vision. That is, what you want to achieve by starting this business. Getting to this destination requires a lot of efforts. You will hardly get there by accident.
Come up with the ways by which you can achieve this vision. For instance, if you’re selling goods, then how many of them do you need to sell in order to achieve this vision? How long will it that take you? If you want to accelerate this process what and what do you need to do?
These and many more questions should guide you in setting your goals. Breakdown the bigger goals into smaller chunks. Like say, your goal is to sell 5000 pieces of an item in a year. Break it down into months, then weeks and then further into days. So, at the end of the day, your focus will be on how many to sell in a day.
This simple act of goal setting will help you tremendously in your business. This is because it helps you easily assess your strategies and pave a way to re-strategize to come back stronger.
At this point all what I want to tell you is go ahead, write down your goals and get to it. Don’t spend all your time talking about them and doing nothing about them.
Also make sure the goals that you set are SMART
S = SPECIFIC,
M = MEASURABLE,
A = ACHIEVABLE,
R = REALISTIC,
T = TIME BOUND
Inability to focus
Distractions on campus are very common. There are way more interesting things happening around you almost all the time. Thus, you are being pulled away from your business on a regular basis.
Entertainment events, football, club and society meetings and a whole lot of others. You sometimes feel like you need to be everywhere at the same time. This is because you enjoy most of these events and you don’t want to miss out on them. However, your business is also competing with these things for your time. Your academics with all its superpowers over you are also struggling to compete with all the others.
Furthermore, in your free times, your phone gets the best part of you. Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. on your phone will also not let you rest. Messages are rushing in often and you need to reply to them.
Sometimes you decide to just go to one of these social media platforms just to reply someone and you end up spending several minutes to hours scrolling through your feed, going down the rabbit hole.
This picture painted here is how bad the lack of focus for student entrepreneurs can be in school.
You need to be focused on achieving your plans or goals. Once, you’ve gone through the painful process of setting goals and planning your schedules, you have to focus on getting things done.
If you spend less time on your business, you are unlikely to make any mark with it unless if the kind of business you’re getting into doesn’t require much time. However, I personally, doubt that there is any business as such or even if such a business will be worth doing at all in case they exist. This means, once it’s a business, it requires time, ample time for that matter.
Since almost everything is now done on social media, it will be very difficult to totally eliminate it. Especially, if you’re deploying them for marketing your business. However, you should still be mindful of how long you spend on these platforms.
I have been a victim of the social media distractions for long and I promise that if you don’t control it, you will have less time for anything.
Even when it’s essential for you to use these platforms, you have to find a way around it such that you’re efficient at all other things (your academic most especially).
In order not to waste your time on social media, let me share with you how I overcame that form of distractions in school while running my business.
I went online to look for a solution to this problem and at the end of the day, this was what worked for me. I used various applications to schedule our social media posts for the week. One of the applications I fell so much in love with was Buffer. Apart from that I also use Hootsuite. They perform basically the same function except that my business has several social media accounts that’s why I use them together. By being able to schedule my posts, I am not tempted to scroll through feeds that will distract me. This is because I don’t visit the accounts at all. Once in a while, I check if we have any comments or private messages so I can reply to them. Do well to check these apps out and start using any of them.
Also, another huge mistake that young entrepreneurs especially student entrepreneurs make on a regular basis will regards to lack of focus is that they quickly jump unto various ideas.
Do well to focus on a particular business idea, work on it, get it running successfully before considering any other.
The best way to kill a man’s vision they say is to give him another vision that appeals to him the more. Some of these extra visions or ideas you have may actually be stealing your focus and distract you grossly. You can’t win if you’re distracted. Do well to keep your focus on what matters most at any point in time.The best way to kill a man's vision they say is to give him another vision that appeals to him the more.Click To Tweet
Your inability to wait patiently for the outcome you wish for is what will put you out of business.
If you start a business today, you don’t expect to succeed tomorrow. Even though we all hope for success in the shortest possible time, this isn’t something which usually happens. The journey to your success is a marathon not a sprint.
Understand this, put in the hard work now, be consistent and it shall surely pay off.
I have seen a number of students quit as early as 2 weeks into a business that they started.
If you start a business and in two weeks, you’re ready to quit, then it means you didn’t do your assignment well.
In order not for this to happen to you, you need to possess the right frame of mind for the purpose of starting your own business in school. Watch this video to understand the things you need to consider before starting your business.
Start the business with this mindset, that it will take quite some time before you start making positive cash flow. However, you just can’t stop until that time has come. “There is no pay for a job half done”.Your inability to wait patiently for the outcome you wish for is what will put you out of business.Click To Tweet
Not learning to sell
The number one advice that I give to all student entrepreneurs is ” Go, learn how to sell because where ever you find yourself you will be selling to people”.
That is the simple truth. Everywhere you find yourself, you will be selling something to someone. The only variables here are the things you’re selling and the people you’re selling to.
In most situations, you have to sell your personality to them first. Once they buy into your personality, they’re likely to buy any services that you to offer provided they need those services.
I know by now, you’re asking yourself, how do I learn to sell. Do I read books on selling or watch videos on selling?
You can actually do both or any other that comes to mind. But the only thing that is absolutely required to make you successful at selling is by doing it practically. So, get out of your comfort zone and go out there to sell to someone. In fact, you can try selling anything at all. Learn to convince people even when it’s not their will to buy it. What I do most of the time is, I go to people then offer to them a product that belongs to me and not actually for sale.
I convince them to buy and afterwards I let them know that, that product was actually my personal product but if they really needed one, I could get them one. That is my secret to how I started my book selling business in school. I will share that story with you in a later post. So, do well to be checking back here with time.
In fact, I cannot overemphasize the importance of learning how to sell as an instrument for your success in the business that you start.
If you’re not in a position to learn how to sell or you feel adding it to your duties will be too much for you or simply can’t be done, then you have to look for someone else who is good at selling. Bring such a person on board or better still form a team to play this role. That is how important selling is to whatsoever business you get to.
Don’t wait to finish building your product or starting your business before considering how you’re going to sell your products. Incorporate it into your planning right from the word go.
You’re privilege to know some of the problems you will likely face when you start, plan to start or sustain your own business.
Since you been introduced to the 5 most common ones, and been provided with ways to avoid them, do your best to avoid them and implement the strategies suggested for you in this post.
This will ensure your success in business if you’re diligent in them.
I wish you all the best in whatever business you start in school. Go and make it happen if you’re yet to.
If there are any other mistakes that you know of that I didn’t talk about in this post, do comment them below.