The 10 Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
Entrepreneurs are a special breed.
It takes a great sense of determination and a willingness to risk, sometimes everything you have to start a company.
That said, if the company grows and is successful, there are a few traps that entrepreneurs fall into … especially if it is a family business.
Here is a short list of mistakes to make you more aware of how you might be killing the very business you are working so hard to protect.
The 10 Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make:
- Believing You Have to Do Everything – This is true sometimes when a business is young and starting out … however it is the kiss of the death as the organization grows.
- Lack of Systems – Regardless of the type of business, you must have repeatable processes (system) in place so that you are not recreating the wheel every time a situation or issue comes up. Yes even doing customized work requires systems for billing, quoting, etc.
- Family Ties – Allowing family members who are not qualified to be in a position that is critical to the business. This mistake is at the core of why so many family businesses run into problems, especially when it involves children.
- Failure to Grow – Sometimes this happens because the entrepreneur didn’t have a plan in place or isn’t executing on the plan. Other times it may be the result of someone confusing their passion with a valid business idea or product. For example … a motivational speaker who doesn’t understand the business of speaking or baker who doesn’t understand business of baking.
- Failure to Let Go and Grow – At some point, the business may hit a ceiling and fail to move beyond a certain sales volume. This can happen if the entrepreneur doesn’t relinquish some of the key duties to other trustworthy folks. They may be working 70-80 hours a week and can’t give anymore so they peak. The very fear that letting grow will be the sure death of their baby (business) actually ends up strangling the baby.
- Choosing the Wrong Partners – Choosing business partners is like choosing a spouse, if you choose the right one it can be sooo good. If you choose the wrong one, it can kill you financially, emotionally, and physically over time. Charlie Munger said … “If you want to guarantee yourself a life of misery, be sure to marry someone with the intent of changing their behavior. Same principal applies to business partners as well
- Holding On to Bad Apples – Holding on to toxic employee’s longer than they should is an issue for most leaders. Believing they will change, turn-around, or overcome this seventh “problem at home” that is impacting their work is garbage! Bad attitudes, excessive tardiness, poor quality, and the worst of all … no added business value, has no room in any business. This may be even tougher for family businesses so it is even more important to lovingly disengage and cut them loose before they do damage.
- The Candy Store – Sometimes an entrepreneur uses their businesses like a candy store … they consistently go in and raid the shelves. Yes, there are benefits to owning a business, but when you make a poor supplier choice so you can vacation with your family more frequently, you need to cut yourself or your family member off from the sweets. After-all … your employee’s see it and it just breeds resentment. It’s a business … run it like one!
- When to Stop – This applies to so many aspects of your business: When to stop borrowing for a bad business idea, when to stop working 80 hours a week, when to stop putting up with anything that damages your business (this includes old beliefs, poor performance, horrible customers, etc.), and even when it might be time to shut it down. If your business is destroying you or your family that is a huge red flag, might be time to raise the white one!
- When to Start – When to start delegating, when to start taking the time to refuel, when to risk a capital expenditure to move it to the next level, when to start looking for a buyer, or even when to start thinking about the next venture!
Of course not … but just like starting a business … if you wait until everything is perfect … you may never start!