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The Seven Biggest Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Make

Which ones are you making? How can you avoid them?

I was recently asked to do a presentation with my associates at a breakfast seminar for business clients. We had arrived at the title “Seven Biggest Mistakes that Entrepreneurs Make” before I had the list prepared, so I decided to do a survey of entrepreneurs and their advisors to complement my own ideas. The feedback was enlightening.

Here are some of the suggested “Biggest Mistakes” from the survey:

“Cash flow, cash flow, cash flow”, “Afraid of Marketing and Sales, “Reactive, not strategic”, “Not delegating”, “Hiring too fast, Firing too slow”, “Not focused”, “Communicating too much, or too little”, “Not using consultants” (That last one was from the consultants, not their clients!) Steph Korey

The feedback also reinforced my own experience that it is OK to fail and make mistakes, as long as they are small, frequent, and early. It’s all part of the learning experience to get better. But big mistakes can kill your business.

Here is my final list of the Seven Biggest Mistakes that Entrepreneurs Make.

#1 Too Entrepreneurial

Certain characteristics of entrepreneurs are necessary for them to be successful. But if over-indulged they can lead to big mistakes. These include the tendency to be too opportunistic and not be sufficiently selective and focused; to be too optimistic and miss or ignore the warning signs; to be too impatient and expect too much too soon.

Entrepreneurs usually have great confidence in their instincts and consequently rely on “gut feel”. The mistake is to neglect or ignore market feedback and analysis of the facts. Being action-oriented, the tendency is to react and “fire” before the “ready, aim” stages are complete. Painful surprises can result.

Many successful entrepreneurs have achieved a lot based on their energy, charm, charisma, and persuasiveness, but then get caught by selling on personality, not on performance. Clients start to notice that expectations are not being met.

Entrepreneurs are expected to be decisive and demonstrate “leadership”. Both can be overdone – deciding too quickly and providing too much direction so that input, initiative and creativity are stifled.

 

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