Over the years, I’ve managed to make a bunch of common entrepreneur mistakes, and after reading a friend’s mistakes, it gave me the idea for this post. So, here’s my highlights:
Burning yourself out from working too many hours is extremely easy. There’s always something more to do, something new to get done or something that has to be completed otherwise it won’t get done. Burnout is just way too easy. The really tricky thing is that different people have different levels of what would make them burn out. I have a friend who has no issue with 80 hour work weeks, while many others end up burning out in 50 hours. Worst, what you can handle throughout your life. I used to be able to work 80 hours and not burn out, these days it’s down to 50 hours before I start having issues.
Being Pound Foolish
When we first moved downtown and I started taking over all the tasks including shipping, I decided that it’d make more sense to not pay the $15 a week to have Canada Post come pick up our packages but instead I walked the boxes to the Post Office which was 3 blocks away. I ended up carrying 20lb / 30lb packages all the way to the office, sometimes taking a couple of trips a day. Penny pinching at its worst.
Being too nice
Sometimes, it’s just too easy to put others ahead of the business or your own needs. My most common mistake has been taking too long to let someone who just isn’t working out go in this case, but it crops up in other areas too. When you are running a business, being too nice often impacts the bottomline -and when you own the business, that means it impacts your own income.
Taking on too many projects
Slightly different than burning out, but part f being an entrepreneur is being a bit of an adventurous soul. You always want to try something new, and all too often you end up taking on a new project. And then another one. And then another. Sometimes without finishing the one’s you first started. It’s too easy to end-up with a ton of failed projects with all your time split between them all and none ever actually finishing.
Mayfair Games has updated the Settlers of Catan game with a new, 5th edition Guess what they changed? A few graphics and a difference facing on the box. What else did they do – they increased the base price to US$50. Why? Because they’ve got a hit game and can reap in all the money they want / can and as they move towards a mass market, their regular competition of Monopoly and Risk provide recycled games with lousy components too at a high price. Why wouldn’t they do this?
On the other hand, you get more puzzling examples of this in the industry all the time. Take the entire Tash-Kalar debacle. When first released in North America, it was priced so high even the developer spoke out against it. Now that it’s been re-released, it’s significantly cheaper – but the initial buzz has faded away and sales are much slower. What could have been a good, on-going game when first released has become just another has-been game.
Cards Against Humanity is another prime example. They’ve refused to sell to most retail stores forever and last year, promised to start a retailer program. As far as I know, only a select few stores have been allowed in on the retailer program, leaving the vast majority of retailers in the cold. What are they up to? Same thing – sucking the cash cow dry.
That’s not to say it’s just publishers who do this. Let’s be clear on this – most brick & mortar retailers these days are expanding and running Magic the Gathering games like crazy, desperate to get as much money as they can from the blockbuster sales the game has been doing.
If you look at these example, the big difference between all of these is control. Mayfair Games controls Settlers of Catan and can update and sell the game at any price that they want, for as long as they want. Same with CAH. However, with Tash-Kalar; the designer pulled the IP away and made a new version since he had the control (eventually) while with Magic, retailers don’t control the product or the distribution, just the price. So you see a price war driving prices down.
Over the last few months, we’ve been trying to work on our various social media profiles. Part of that includes reading what works best in each area and, further, what kind of content works on each area and trying to move beyond the basic posts that we have set-up. However, the fact is that outside of this blog, we really haven’t had much luck with developing a strong social media presence.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m an introvert by nature, and as the main marketer, it makes building a social media presence really difficult. After all, technically, you’re supposed to interact with people online, talk to them and generally develop a brand image that is authentic.
At the same time, the other issue is the variety of social media platforms out there that it can be hard to decide what to focus on. Twitter is great for chatting with people and quick discussions, but it is known to convert horribly. Facebook is a decent angle, but the problem is generating good content for Facebook eludes me. We tried doing a giveaway and while it generated a lot of interest, but iffy on the returns and Pinterest doesn’t seem to host a large number of our customers. I might be wrong of course, but we certainly haven’t seen much interest in Pinterest for our products.
On the other hand, tapping and dealing with social media is likely to be our major source of return; so it’s something we need to figure out. Now, if only we could…