Our Biggest Entrepreneurial Mistakes

Alan has made mistakes. Today he lists through just a few so you can learn from his mistakes.

Note: This transcription has been generated with AI and there may be errors present. 


This video is about the biggest mistakes that I’ve made in business, so that you can avoid making them too. Because if you learn from entrepreneurs that have gone before you, when you start up your business, it can save you years of time, and a lot of money, and a lot of pain. And in the series of videos we’ve been doing, Simon has shared his biggest entrepreneurial mistake, Henry has shared his biggest entrepreneurial mistake. And well, I’ve made quite a lot of mistakes over the last few years. So we’re going to do two videos on the entrepreneurial mistakes that I’ve made, so that you can avoid them and make progress quicker. The first was actually, we tended for a piece of work. And quite often you get excited by seeing a big piece of work. And people are putting a tender out and you have to supply an application and all the rest of it. But we made two fundamental errors when we were applying for this tenderness for a big piece of business in Manchester. The first was, I didn’t speak to the people behind the tender document. So I didn’t actually know exactly what they were after, I just filled out the document and sent it in. They had no context they had no idea of we were, they just judged it on what was in there. So number one, if you’re ever filling out a tender document, make sure you can speak to the person behind it first. And my second error was that I didn’t answer the question that they wrote in there. So the tender document asked a very specific question, how can you do this? The question they asked was how can you support 200 young people to start up businesses. Now, for the amount of money they’re offering, which was 200 grand? I thought that was a stupid question. Because we can help 1000s of people for 200 grand. So I answered my own question, which was, with your 200 grand we do this, this and this. I didn’t answer the question they wanted. And I didn’t get a shot of the bed. The second mistake that I’ve made, is with email, using email too often, sometimes it’s easier just to tap out an email and send it or, you know, you write something and you send it off to someone. But what I have learned through bitter experience over the years, is that emails don’t get stuff done. Emails are easy to ignore, the easy to delete, once they’re off the bottom of the first screen, people forget about them. I know because I do it. emails don’t make stuff happen. And in previous, we did one piece of work for large government organisation, we sent out the emails, but nothing happened. Nothing happened until I called them and then showed up and spoke to them. So the thing that I’ve learned more than ever, is that don’t rely on email, make phone calls, and get out there and do stuff. So that’s number two. Number three is about constant communication with your customers. And this comes from quite a painful loss of a big piece of business that could have been worth 30 or 40,000 pounds to us. And we did the first initial two week pop up business school. And then we continue to support the participants after the pop up business school. But what I didn’t do was tell the housing association that paid for our piece of work, that we were doing all this support work. I didn’t send them the feedback. I didn’t send them the here’s what customers are doing. I didn’t tell them what we were doing. So they thought we weren’t doing anything. And then when we came to it, I’m trying to repair the damage, say no, we did do the work. Look, it’s all here, rather than them seeing it as you’re going along. And we didn’t win the business. Again, we didn’t get the follow up contract. And that is all because I didn’t clearly communicate what we were doing or value to them and how it was supporting their residence. Number four. So I went to see one particular customer we spoke about during a pop up business school. And they said they would promote it to their residents. They put one Facebook post out and sent one tweet. And guess what, no one signed up. But they felt like they had promoted the event. And therefore it was my fault, our fault

that the gig was not successful. So two mistakes I made. One was I didn’t define what promoting the event was. So I didn’t say to them, you’ve got to promote the event. And what that means is sending three tweets a day and putting two or three posts on Facebook each week. Plus speaking to restaurant residents plus sending tax plus resident engagement officers and all that other stuff. I didn’t define what promotion meant. So they thought they done the right asked and number five, which I think is My biggest from this list is that I didn’t go filat it when I started, I didn’t fly at it. When we started six, seven years ago, we were the only people in the market helping people start up with an alternative method to business support. We were the only players in the game that were doing this and doing it the way we did it. Now, 567 years on, there’s more players in the game is more of a crowded marketplace, the players online or the are established and we’re fighting to find our own space, it’s a completely different game. If I’d have gone flat it from the start, if I defend my ideas, my weight, my resources, my time, my energy behind it, and I’ve really committed to it, I would have made huge progress. And I’d be twice as far as I am today. It cost me 10s of 1000s of pounds, maybe hundreds of 1000s of pounds, because I didn’t commit fully to making things happen. So the bit that I want to leave you with from this video, is do it. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t put it off. Make it happen, make it happen now, and go for it with all of your energy. If you do that, you’ll make fantastic progress, or your workout a lot quicker than I ever have that it’s not going to work and you can change your idea quickly. So, go for it fill out. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made, make fresh mistakes and learn from them. If you enjoyed this video, we do daily videos on entrepreneurship and startup advice giving you inspiration, guidance and the ideas to get going. So hit subscribe on the YouTube channel to stay up to date with the next videos or come along to one of our live events. And actually, these videos are for you to help you start up and help you grow. So if you have a problem if you have a challenge if you have an issue with your business, send us your ideas or comment below. And we will create videos to help you start your own business. Doing what you love and making your own money.