Yesterday, we had another instalment of My Biggest Blunders – Failing Forward, a platform where entrepreneurs and professionals share blunders they made on their journeys of their building businesses and careers.
In this session we had three speakers, a candle manufacturing business, a theatre production company and a social enterprise providing books and computers to schools.
The following are the lessons from last night’s session:
1. Do background checks – When you deal with a new service provider, always do background checks. Don’t just accept a service provider without vetting them. Don’t be pressured by a service provider to use them, before doing their background checks first.
2. Ask for references and contact them – Ask for references a new service provider’s previous clients and contact them and ask them for their review of the prospective service provider. Check their websites, social media accounts. Check if they are listed on Hello Peter [a platform where customers list their experiences of companies that gave them bad service]
3. Get proof of ownership of product – Ask for proof of the service provider doing the work they are selling. For example, ask them for pictures of them in action executing their service.
4. Listen to your intuition – Listen to your intuition. When it feels like it is too good to be true, often it probably is.
5. Understand the business – When you consider entering into the entertainment industry, spend time learning the industry. Learn things like contacts, royalties, how to deal with agents, customer behaviours etc.
6. Always want to know more – Ask more questions, get a mentor, learn from mistakes of other artists, do more research.
7. Read more, don’t just want to be an artist – Just because you are an artist does not mean you should not read about business. Read more business books, business magazines and follow business trends. You are an artist but you are also an entrepreneur. The idea is not to be an expert entrepreneur, but at least understand how the entertainment business operates.
8. Break the chain and be an entrepreneur – If you don’t come from a lineage of entrepreneurs in your family, have the courage to be the first to break the chain. You family may not understand or take artists as a viable sustainable career option, but have the courage to break that cycle and venture out.
9. Build structures in your organisation – When you run a social enterprise, ensure that you have structures where your team knows who to report to. Each team member should know who they are reporting to in terms of accountability and who is responsible for making decisions in the team.
10. Build systems and processes in the organization – This will ensure that every team members knows what they are supposed to do and they are accountable for. This way you avoid chaos management in your business.
11. Continuous development of the team and its leader – Always be reading, learn from others, get a mentor. Invest in short-courses. Invest in ongoing learning. There are many free and affordable online courses.
12. Approach your NPO as a business – Just because you are a Non-Profit Oranisation [NPO] does not mean you should not run it like a For-Profit business. Adopt the best practice methods, principles, philosophy and approach of a For-Profit in your NPO.
Entrepreneurship is hard, one of the best ways to grow as an entrepreneur is to learn from the mistakes of others.
You are going to make mistakes, that’s guaranteed, but at least don’t make mistakes that you could have avoided by learning from others’ mistakes.
For recordings of stories behind the above entrepreneurs lessons, subscribe to our My Biggest Blunders YouTube channel. In the channel you will also find remarkable stories of other amazing entrepreneurs as well.
I wish you all the best.