8 Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Make

“I’ve got a brilliant idea to make me rich!”

Every day people are inspired by great ideas and business plans with the intention of turning a new corner in their lives for the better. While this may seem harmless, following conventional wisdom in planning out a new business road map can be the beginning of a doomed business already!
Darren Hardy, a bestselling author and high-performance mentor, shares eight mistakes most entrepreneurs make, and shares insight on how to avoid them. Whether you are building a new business from the ground up, or managing an existing, successful business, there’s always room to improve.
Mistake 1: Being a Big Thinker… and Trying to ‘Dent the Universe’
In the early stages of a new business, beginning with an illusion of grandeur is very motivating, but such lofty goals can impede progress or even constrain you from getting started in the first place. It’s very unlikely that my business with grow from one employee and a meager revenue stream to thousands of employees and a multi-million dollar revenue stream within the first year. In considering some of the largest enterprises today, most of which have progressed and varying degrees over years of experience. Start small; start where you are now, and focus on growing every day, every month, or every quarter. While it’s important to dream big, make realistic, timely goals now that are challenging, but achievable.
Mistake 2: Being Excited… and Expecting Those Around You to Be Excited for You
Moving forward with great ideas can be very exciting, especially as there is potential and positive progress in the process. Be sure to keep your emotions in check so that you continue to make solid business decisions based on experience and wisdom, not excitement. Others around you typically don’t share your vision, therefore may have a more difficult time sharing your passion for success. In climbing to a summit, there’s a lot of hard work and occasional setbacks; prepare yourself emotionally for both success and minor failures ahead, and recognize early on that some people aren’t as interested in your success as you are (or even worse, they resent your success and wishing you failure).
Mistake 3: Being in Love With Your Product… and Not Your Customer
Your product accounts for 10 percent of your business’s success, while 90 percent of your success is sales and marketing. Believe it or not, you are not in the insurance business, the car sales business, the restaurant business, etc. – you are in the sales and marketing business. Learn how to understand the needs, desires, problems, hopes and fears of your customer; genuinely get to know them personally, then learn how to connect with them through your sales and marketing messages. What is the number one seller in any product category? It’s typically not the best product on the market, but the brand who dominates in sales and marketing, creating an image of success (which will fund your large vision as you grow).
Mistake 4: Being Cheap… and Not Investing Enough in People, marketing and Learning
While there are many ways you can spend your money, there are three areas that are critical for success: people, marketing, and personal growth. This article focuses on the aspect of getting the right people in your company. First off, it’s well known that salary and wage expenses are the most costly expense in an organization. Don’t get hung up on the expenses, but make the talent in your organization become one of your greatest strengths! It’s critical to find the best talent, or A-players, to share your vision and help run your organization. While the first impression may be that A-players on your team are too expensive, the truth is that it can be much more expensive to not find top talent. For example, A-level talent will always exceed business expectations. B- and C-level talent are risky and can be costly in many ways. The cost of a poor employee is not only in what they are paid for under-performing, but is much higher; you’ll spend time and resources to find a replacement, there is lost opportunity cost, and the extensive cleanup efforts of any damage to the organization due to poor performance examples set. It’s estimated that the expense of an under-performing employee can be up to 15 times their annual salary – it is critical to place top talent in your organization in order to over-perform and exceed your goals, which a much healthier bottom line.
Mistake 5: Being Like Your Father… and Repeating the Leadership Sins of the Past
In the past, the objective of a leader was to inspire followers, and employees were trained to do as they were told – no questions asked. Today, the market has changed, and continues to change, at a rapidly advancing pace. The market landscape today is very different from the business practices of your Father’s time, and it’s critical to understand the changing landscape. Embrace a collaborative work environment as a leadership approach, and stay on top of ever-changing market trends and technology in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Mistake 6: Being Amazing… and Trying to Do it All
You quickly become the bottleneck in your organization by becoming involved in everything. The best way to grow your business is to design it to grow beyond you. Your job is to bring together the right players, help set them up for success through coaching, then get out of their way so they can perform. Make adjustments and guidance as needed, but work from the sidelines where you can be the most benefit to your company.
Mistake 7: Being Successful… and Avoiding Belly Flops
One sure thing in life is that there is an opposite to everything – dark and light, day and night, up and down. It’s impossible to have success without failure, and it’s important to grow from failure. Consider that if you are moderately successful, you are likely not pushing yourself and your business, therefore you are stifling your own growth. The best way to accelerate your business success is by speeding up your failures. If you aren’t falling, you aren’t pushing yourself. Often times, what holds us back most is fear. Learn to convert fear to fun – something to look forward to – and then realize your full potential.
Mistake 8: Being Smart… and Not Seeking the Help You Need
Michael Jordan’s first seven pro seasons passed without a championship. Then, Phil Jackson became the head coach and the tides began to turn for the Chicago Bulls. Kobe Bryant also spent four years seeking out a championship, but it wasn’t until after Phil Jackson became the head coach of the Lakers that the championship was accomplished. While the players had considerable talent, it wasn’t until they had the right coach that they began to realize overwhelming success. You are probably very good in your industry, but to become great it’s worth seeking out help. Super-achievers are those that have a strong desire to learn. You don’t have to create new, earth-shattering ideas to be successful – there are many incredible ideas surrounding you every day. What’s most important is realizing that sometimes someone more experienced knows more than you, understanding how to apply the guidance of a mentor or new ideas, and working to avoid the major pitfalls of those before you. Use the profound expertise of those around you to save the life of your business – know when to ask for help.
Read Eight Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Make by Darrin Hardy for more inspiration.
Image courtesy of Mister GC | freedigitalphotos.net