“The 5 Big Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Never Make”

This article is an example speech project delivered by Oliver Tidman – a member of Waverley Communicators club. Oliver is the founder of Tidman Legal, an Edinburgh based law firm specialising in intellectual property, technology and business law for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. 

 

Starting out on any business journey is an exciting prospect. However, taking the leap of faith can be extremely daunting for the uninitiated! Someone once told me, ‘The net doesn’t appear until you’ve jumped!’ This is one of the truest things I’ve ever heard.

I have helped numerous business owners face challenges during their careers, and I include my own business within that list, but deciding to start-up or even change direction requires strength, courage and most importantly stamina!

On that basis, I have prepared a brief guide – by no means a bible on the subject – as to the five biggest mistakes entrepreneurs should never make. Let us begin with the first mistake.

1. Don’t give a bleep bleep; get out there and sell!

I was talking with a friend of mine last week about other people’s opinions on different topics. I asked him if he had ever heard of the ’20-40-60 Rule’? He hadn’t and was quite impressed with it.

The ’20-40-60 Rule’ is:

At 20, you care about what everybody thinks.
At 40, you don’t care about what anybody thinks.
At 60, you realize that people were not thinking about you to begin with!!

How many things do we do on a daily basis because we want to impress someone? How many things do we not do because we are embarrassed? How many times do we look back with regret for not doing something that we wanted to do? Life is to be enjoyed. We shouldn’t be holding ourselves back from doing the things we love because of the reaction we might get from someone else.

Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Everyone has the freedom to do what they want as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others. Why deprive yourself of something you want or want to do because you are afraid of what your friend, neighbour, workmate or relative might think.

The 20-40-60 Rule is surprisingly true. As people get older, they seem to care less and less about what other people think. If we realize now that in reality nobody is really analyzing the things we do, we can go out and do the things we want.

2. Don’t be a serial offender

Since it’s difficult to start a business by doing just one thing, entrepreneurs should avoid the trap of consecutively producing, marketing and selling.

By this I mean it is necessary for entrepreneurs to do all three at the same time! Thinking in a chronological order is prohibitive to growth.

3. Don’t mirror hire

If you are good at numbers, you should not focus on hiring someone who is also quantitative. For example, you should hire a good salesperson who has a different skill set and can pick up some of your slack. You may not have the most in common with this person, but then again, building a business is not about getting along with everyone!

4. Don’t scale too fast – you’ve got time!

There is a common misconception that entrepreneurs should scale their companies quickly in order to stay afloat. Remember, it is rare for start-ups to fail because they can’t scale their business fast enough. Selling your product or services should be the number one priority for new entrepreneurs. Scaling-up will then come at a natural pace so you’ve got time.

5. Don’t focus on the 1%

To illustrate, the UK pet population has over 8.5 million dogs. Each dog must eat and at least three times a day. If you could capture just 1% of that market, that’s 85,000 dogs and at least 255,000 cans of dog food each day!

There are two fundamental flaws with this. Getting 1% of any market is not that easy and, secondly, no investor ever wants to hear that you are only going to targeting 1% of the market.

Therefore, to stay on the road to business success, it is important for entrepreneurs to estimate their own sales rather than a slice of a total big market.

If you avoid these 5 big mistakes, you will go through good times, excitement and growth on your entrepreneurial journey. The feeling of welcoming your first customer and telling your friends and family. Elation when your first payments start coming in and testimonials and reviews from your customers for a job well done. The immense satisfaction knowing that you are helping your customers or your customers’ businesses to grow.

One of the biggest values I have found from running my own business is the sense of adventure that I experienced as a child and the free-reign to imagine where this adventure will take me. Furthermore, I can see in my clients what it is like to start to imagine what they can do with their own businesses.

Hopefully you will experience the same freedom of working for yourself, spending more time with your family and enjoy watching your children grow up.

Division S Contest – Sat 15th Oct!

Waverley Communicators have much to celebrate and be excited about as host for the Division S contest this Saturday 15th October at our regular meeting venue, 28 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EP from 12:00-16:30. Club level winners (see previous post) all excelled and did us proud. Richard McMahon came third in Table Topics, Catherine Dignan and Lauren Campbell did not place this time but we’re still in the game with John Wood.

John Wood’s award was extra special because it was the new Area 33 perpetual trophy for winner of Table Topics. It’s called ‘The Oscar Merkx memorial award’ in memory of the distinguished toastmaster Oscar Merkx who died last year from cancer. John is the first to receive this award.

Watch the immediate past president of District 71, Kevin Lee’s  announcement of this award, he touches on Oscar Merkx’s vibrant personality and commitment to Toastmasters.

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Thanks to all who provided pictures — I hope our club president Patrick speaks for all when he says, “I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to take any”.

There are still some supporting roles to be filled if you will be attending on Saturday and can help, do let your club’s officers know.

Rachael M

Congrats Humorous Speech & Table Topics Winners

Well done to all participants of last week’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. The next round will see 1st and 2nd place in both contests compete at the area contest.

The Humorous Speech Contest is a great event to attend; enjoy speeches and Table Topics from the winners of the other Areas in Division S and meet fellow Toastmasters from all over Scotland. The contest is in Linlithgow at the Lowport Centre Sunday 2nd October 1pm. Join the Toastmasters Area 33 Division Scotland event to indicate your attendance and receive updates.

NB: Members who are in a position to help with organising the area contest (such as filling roles), please leave a message in the Facebook event — it would be much appreciated.

Congratulations to all and best of luck to our superstars carrying on to area level. And if you do need a funny boost or tip for the coming battle, watch the video in this flashback blog from 2013.

Here are a few snaps of club president Patrick Bundy presenting awards for the contest:

Humorous speech: 1st Catherine Dignan, 2nd Lauren Campbell.

Table topics: 1st John Wood, 2nd Richard McMahon, 3rd Moira Beaton.

 

 John Woodimg_20160915_2105041  Richard McMahonimg_20160915_2104191  Moira Beatonimg_20160915_2103451
 Lauren Campbellimg_20160915_2101391  hs-contest  Catherine Dignanimg_20160915_2102351

Imgs by: Eduard Kutaš

 

Rachael M

Wav. Communicators

“Fun with Flags”

Temporary venue change: 4th August and 18th August meeting will be at the English Speaking Union, 23 Atholl Crescent.

It’s that time of the year, love it or hate it, it makes for great conversations around the lunch table. Edinburgh prides itself in being an integrated society with a diverse footprint from different nationalities. There isn’t a better time when this is more evident than the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe where we will see many flags represented in a variety of shows.

It’s easy to forget the preparation that goes into delivering a fantastic performance. Body language speaks volumes and can be the deciding factor in whether you successfully convey your message: be it through speech, dance, song or art. It is one of the areas we are evaluated on when delivering a speech in Toastmasters. Don’t worry you won’t be expected to sing or dance during our Waverley Communicators meetings, though you can if you are so inclined during your prepared speech :D. Here’s some fun facts from ‘Sheldon’ in the Big Bang Theory. On a less funny but equally useful note, Toastmasters International’s April article provides tips on ‘breaking language barriers‘ which includes being mindful of your body language.

While you prepare to fly your flag, join in the Fringe or perhaps avoid the small irritations that may come with it, do consider what your message may be and how you would deliver it if you had a platform. We do have a platform to help you bring out the best speaker in you.

As is tradition around this time, we will make way for the creative Fringe revellers. Our August 4th and 18th meetings will be moved to English Speaking Union, 23 Atholl Cres, Edinburgh EH3 8HQ. We will return to our usual location at 28 York Place thereafter (1st Sept’s meeting onward).

‘Like’ the Waverley Communicators Facebook page for up to date notices of any changes.

 

Rachael M  – WCC

 

 

International Speech & Evaluation Contest: Meet our representatives

Toastmasters Area 30 Contest

I am delighted to announce that Waverley Communicators will be represented by two excellent speakers at this year’s International Speech & Evaluation Contest. Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition, each year thousands of toastmasters compete in a variety of contests. For International Speech Contest, contestants present a five- to seven- minute speech on any subject they choose.

You may have spotted the beginning of the contest on our Facebook page, where a number of our members participated and delivered brilliant speeches. The winners of the internal competition, Wen Chen (Mosy) and Michael McLernan then went on to represent Waverley Communicators at area level (Area 30 International Speech and Evaluation contests). This was held at on Saturday 9 April at State Street Bank.

It is no surprise to us at Waverley Communicators that Mosy and Michael McLernan have made it so far and will be progressing to division level with their speeches after both coming second place at area level. Mossy and Michael are both relatively new speakers but their skills are undeniable and its a pleasure to share them with the wider Toastmasters community through these contests… (we want them back by the way 😀 ).

Congratulations to all contestants especially Mosy and Michael and best of luck at the forthcoming Division contest (Tron in Glasgow, 12 noon, Sunday 24 April)!