“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.

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“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

 

 

Attention! Club meeting venue change

The Scottish summer has had a shaky start but the draw of the Edinburgh Fringe (world’s largest arts festival) is unwavering. Around this time each year, we swap our regular venue for another to accommodate such events. For two meetings only (6th & 20th August), Waverly Communicators will be held at The King James Hotel, Edinburgh.

Thinking of visiting us? Why not pop in, grab a cuppa and enjoy the circle of support as members challenge their public speaking skills. It’s light-hearted, structured learning with a sprinkling of fun. The agenda for this Thursday’s meeting looks set to teach and thrill as three of our advanced communicators take the stage.

Here’s what you need to know

Temporary venue: Thistle Edinburgh, The King James Hotel (Carleton Suite), 107 Leith Street, Edinburgh. EH1 3SW.

Dates: Thursday 6th August & 20th August 2015

Time: 19:00

How to get there

The Thistle Hotel is directly next to St James Shopping Centre. From Waverley Train Station next to the Balmoral Hotel side head pass the statue of Wellington on his horse turn left down Leith Street and carry on down the hill…(don’t go into St James Centre)…hotel on the left hand side about 100m.

See you there!

Breaking The Ice – Michael McLernan

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It was not like the Inquisition. You don’t expect the Inquisition!

I had scheduled my Ice Breaker speech for the 19th June, giving me plenty time to steam towards it like the Titanic, and hope to be more successful than she in actually breaking the ice that lay before me.  I should have known better than to make the comparison even mentally, for out of the blue one weekend came an opening for that very Thursday. Too late to turn. I had to take it head on.

Actually, doggerel aside (which I strongly advise you not to use in your speeches!) it was terrific! I had been going to the club, Waverley Communicators, since January, had been voted in in March, and you could not find a friendlier group of people anywhere, nor a mentor better than mine.

The Icebreaker speech is the first of the ten speeches in the ‘Competent Communicator’ manual of developing yourself as a public speaker. The purpose of the Icebreaker is to showcase, to yourself and to everyone else, your existing public speaking skills. Most of all, it’s to introduce yourself properly to your fellow Toastmasters.

But after you’ve been to the club for even a few sessions, there isn’t much ice left to be broken – it’s all been melted already by the sheer warmth of the atmosphere. (To say nothing of the room temperature, the radiators taking the name ‘Toastmasters’ a little too literally!).[That’s been fixed! The Ed.]

On the night, I went to the front of the room, clutching my notes like a comfort blanket, and was greeted with a warm handshake, a wink and a mouthed ‘Good luck’ from club stalwart Eileen Scott, and turned to face an array of smiling faces.
For the first speech, you are allotted four – six minutes. In twenty, as Philip Marlowe said, ‘you can sink a battleship, down three or four planes, hold a double execution. You can die, get married, get fired, and find a new job, have a tooth pulled, have your tonsils out.’ Approximately five minutes to say all you need to say should be a doddle. I took six and a half. What can I say – I find myself interesting subject! The challenge is to make your audience interested as well.

But the secret of the incredible success of Toastmasters in turning out confident and eloquent public speakers is not just the course itself, excellent as that is. It is the close knit community spirit, and the desire of everyone there to help improve everyone else. After each speech, your evaluator and your mentor give you both praise and advice, so you know what you’ve done well, and what you need to improve. You can relax among your fellow Toastmasters, and because of that the words flow, and the confidence builds.
After just four months there I have found myself at home as I have in few other places, and would eagerly recommend it to anyone.

Are you still here? What are you waiting for? Come down to 28 York Place on Thursday 1st May and see for yourself.

Post written by Michael McLernan

Member of Waverley Communicators

 

First Time: Evaluation

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Guest post written by Alex Nuth, Member Waverley Communicators

First Evaluation

After being a member of Waverley Communicators for over a year, I have given my first speech evaluation.

I probably waited much longer than many members, but the more speeches I gave at the club, the more I appreciated the value of the evaluation and feedback that I received.

In the last few months I was pleased to realise that many of the points I was writing on my evaluation slips for other members’ speeches, were also mentioned in verbal evaluations by more experienced club members. That gave me the confidence to do my first evaluation.

My first evaluation on 23rd January was for Gopal Lama who was delivering speech 3 from the Competent Communicator (CC) manual. His speech was called Volunteering in Nepal.

Preparation

I re-read the speech project in the manual to make sure I knew the objectives and I read the Toastmasters Effective Evaluations booklet .

I also thought about Gopal’s previous speeches, and what I had enjoyed about them and previously recommended.  I emailed him to ask if he had anything he would especially like me to concentrate on, and I made contact with my mentor to run some thoughts past her.

I felt quite confident and prepared when I arrived at 6.45pm. I divided my sheet of paper into two columns, one for commendations and one for recommendations and sat back to enjoy the  meeting.

Listening

Then, when Gopal began his speech I realised how hard it is to look, listen and write all at the same time!

Delivering

The time seemed to pass in a flash and  it was time for me to take to the floor; give a 3 minute mini-speech without rehearsal; and remember the Toastmasters ‘sandwich’ of commend, recommend and commend at the same time trying to read my own handwritten notes.

Takeaway

I hope I did OK in conveying my personal opinions on how Gopal’s speech met the objectives.

I hope the audience followed my thinking and that I didn’t speak down into my notes too much.

But most importantly, I hope that Gopal took something positive from my evaluation to carry forward to his next speech.