MISTAKE #1: Starting a partnership for the wrong reasons
“A few ago years ago, I had an idea for an online business and invited an acquaintance to join me. A few months later, she walked away with the business and denied that we were ever partners. We didn’t have a written contract so there was nothing I could do,” says Ruth Wong, 39, coach at www.mommecircle.com, which offers coaching services to fellow mumpreneurs.
“I think I partnered with her because I wasn’t confident that I could start the business alone. I learnt that if you can pay someone to do the work that your potential partner can do, then you should think twice about starting a partnership. It can certainly save you a lot of heartache and pain.
“Of course, I’m not saying that business partnerships can’t work. But, like a marriage, it takes time and effort to get to know someone and try to merge your working styles to create a successful business. And you have to do all this on top of running the company.”
MISTAKE #2: Not letting go
“When my business started to take off, I had trouble coping with the workload. Even though I had one employee working for me at the time, I found it hard to let go of certain tasks, especially those I was used to doing in a certain way, like communicating with customers about orders,” says Dorothy Loh, 39, founder and director of www.dotestudio.com, a nursing-wear label.
“I realised that I had to get help and make a few changes if I wanted my company to evolve. Gradually, I learnt to delegate and trust my team to take care of their areas of work, so that I could focus on the bigger picture.”
MISTAKE #3: Assuming too much
“When I started my children’s costume rental company in 2013, all I had was a verbal agreement with customers that they’d return the costumes to me in good condition,” says Alicia Cho, owner of www.mymini-me.com.
“One day, a customer returned a costume with pen stains on it. Thereafter, I posted my terms and conditions on my website and the costume bags, assuming that all my customers would read them.
“Well, they didn’t, because another customer returned her costume with holes in it. She claimed that she wasn’t aware of the rental terms. I kept her $50 deposit, but I had to discard the costume because it was so badly damaged.
“Finally, I drew up a written agreement for customers to sign before they took the costumes home. What this experience taught me was that not all customers are right, and that I had to protect myself from excuses such as ‘I didn’t know’ or ‘It wasn’t stated’.”