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Statistics indicate that close to eight start-ups out of ten do not make it past their fifth anniversary. When you make a critical analysis of this, it simply means there are certain things that these eight failed start-ups are unable to do.

In his attempt to prescribe solutions to this rather unfriendly statistics, Bernard Agyei Aryee, a serial entrepreneur, who’s started numerous businesses and had success with some and failed in others, distils his lessons in what he titled, The 7 Cardinal Mistakes of Startups. This book is meant to walk every would-be or even established entrepreneur through the path to avoiding such mistakes that many fall for.

Here are excerpts from the various chapters he presented in the book;

Chapter One – When the Reason Goes Wrong

In this chapter, he presents the idea that everything on earth has a reason for which it began. Similarly, don’t go into a business without a reason; or worst, with the wrong reason. Many people go into businesses because they want to just make money without thinking of what value they bring to the marketplace. Others go into business today because they think it is the new “cool” thing to do.

This chapter opens the eye of the reader to understand and fully assess their reason for going into any kind of business. When the “why” for your business is more powerful and useful to the people you want to target, you’re sure on your way to building a truly lasting business.

Chapter Two – When God is Taken Out

While this chapter might look “unpopular”, it could easily be described as one of the most important, if not the most important, of all chapters. Many people invite God in other areas of their lives and yet leave Him out of others. Here, Bernard speaks to the very heart of the issue that when God is taken out of your business, you have no business. Because the absence of God and your inability to adhere to godly values in your business could spell doom in the long run.

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You may make unfair gains today and you could have your way with them. However, the long-term is what really matters. Bernard makes a clarion call to all budding and established entrepreneurs that it is possible to acknowledge God in your operations as a business, and build a truly great and global business.

In this chapter, he suggests that as a matter of importance, entrepreneurs should pay tithe for themselves and their businesses – this sounds quite unconventional, but when practised with all diligence, one is sure to reap the benefits.

Chapter Three – Launching Too Early or Too Late

In the book of Ecclesiastes, the Bible minces no words in speaking on the issue of timing. Every event on earth has a time frame within which it is to be achieved. Failure to do so could lead to failure. While many are advised to just start a business, Bernard believes it is important for one to know the timing before they venture. For example, going into the sales of ice-cream at a time when the weather is cold could mean one’s early sales could be disappointing.

As such, even though it is a good thing for one to not sit on their ideas for too long, it is important to assess the timeliness of an idea before venturing. On the other side, it is also dangerous to sit on one’s idea for far too long because you’re waiting for the “green” light. You won’t have all conditions set for you to start. When the time is right for you to start, there will be imperfect conditions. However, once the time is right, you are sure on your way to build a good business.

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Chapter Four – Not Taking Branding Seriously

Many entrepreneurs believe that branding is all about the combination of colours to form a logo, thus leading to letterheads, websites, etc. However, the idea of branding is far more than that. Logos and all that come with them are only a gateway to the world of branding.

In this chapter, Bernard presents the idea that branding is essentially what your audience think of you when your name comes to mind. Here, he tells entrepreneurs to serve their clients as best as they could because it is the service you offer that would challenge others to come to you over and over again.

When your business comes to mind, what do people think of you? Bernard says, “When branding is ignored in a start-up company, it follows it to the end and sometimes might lead to its collapse. It is a very essential ingredient for every company’s success. Branding is a big deal and might demand a huge budget on the surface but in reality, a start-up company should not focus on pumping thousands or millions into its branding before making it work.”

Chapter Five – When You Get Trapped with Money

Many entrepreneurs, rather than building a business that offers value to their clients, and hence translate such values into money for the day-to-day running and future expansion of their business, go running after investors for money to start their business. Others who have the money at their disposal almost waste it because they have no real use for them.

In “When You Get Trapped with Money”, Bernard counsels entrepreneurs that it is so easy to get trapped with money. What you need to do is to concern yourself more with the idea of generating valuable services and products that will help you draw paying clients into your business. No matter how much you might have raised from an investor or investors, your business can’t continuously live off investors’ monies. Your business must grow beyond investors and make money for itself.

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Chapter Six – A Half-Hearted Effort

You’re better off not doing anything, than to do it with a half-hearted effort, says Bernard. In this chapter, Bernard speaks the truth to the very heart of the issue that business is a tough game. It requires your all to make it successful. You can’t want to start a business and make it successful while having your eyes on something else. You’re either in or you’re out.

The most unpleasant experience with a half-hearted effort it that, you would have put in some effort anyway, but it would just not be enough to create that successful business you look forward to building. Do you intend to build a business? Bernard says, go in with all your might.

Chapter Seven – Refusing To Ask For Help

Why allow yourself to fail and learn all the experiences in the world when you can ask others who’ve walked the same path of building a business for help? There is no point wanting to test the waters all by yourself. There are people out there who have built great businesses and need people to walk through the process.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to understand that your mistakes, for your own failure to ask for help, could cost you, not only time, but also money. Rather than going through the grind all alone, ask for help. Help is always available for you.

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