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Four entrepreneurs share their lessons on how to avoid making rookie mistakes

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Therefore, ensuring the right decision is made at the outset or having the ability to quickly bounce-back and adapt when the first move wasn’t the right one, puts a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs. 

The pressure is further increased when just under half (45 per cent) of SMEs survive more than five years and competition from larger, or even international, counterparts is fierce.

How then, in today’s fast paced business world – where over 40 per cent of SMEs are fearful or worried that they will not be able to keep up with the growth of digital technology over the next five years – can smaller businesses quickly identify, learn from and move on from their mistakes?

One way is learning from the experiences of their peers. Here are insights from leading entrepreneurs across the UK that Vodafone is currently working with. These individuals have shared what they have learned from their mistakes and are offering their top tips to others in similar scenarios.

(1) Don’t get stuck in the “here and now” if you want to grow. Plan for the future 

By Guy Blaskey, founder of Pooch & Mutt

“My biggest mistake is not aiming big enough, early enough. For our first few years we were a very niche company selling premium pet health supplements via online, specialised pet stores and ‘enlightened’ vets who look for medication alternatives. 

“While we had a great reputation, we were slow at growing. We weren’t making mass-market products and didn’t understand how to sell via supermarkets and retail chain stores.

“Over the last four years however, we’ve grown massively and now have an even better reputation. We also have far more products, and are helping more dogs lead happy, healthy lives with our foods, treats and supplements.

“The ‘early years’ definitely gave us a great foundation, which are key to our success now, but I do question where we would be now if we did long term planning earlier, versus focussing on the ‘here and now.’

What supported our recent growth spike – and the best thing we ever did – was working with a business coach through the Government’s Growth Accelerator programme.

They helped us by looking at where we wanted to be in the next five years then plan backwards for how to get there. This seems very easy and obvious, but surprisingly few people (me included at that time) actually take the time to do it properly.”

(2) Don’t let your price point underestimate the value and experience you offer customers

By Jenn Patient, founder of Mini Masterchefs

“One of my mistakes when starting out was setting my price point. Being a startup, I was apprehensive about pricing myself out of the market by being too expensive and how I’d stack-up against what my competitors are offering.

“So, my advice would be to understand your market and comparable pricing in your area, but also be confident about the value of your offering.

“If people want your product or service, see the value and are happy with their overall experience with you and your company, they will be willing to pay.”

What happens if you want to stay a small, niche company? How important is your digital presence? Continue reading on page two to discover more tips. 

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