Awful Entrepreneur Mistakes That Make You Climb Down From One To Zero
Have you heard of the NYT bestseller “Zero to One,” by Peter Thiel, a partner at Founders Fund? Of course, you do. After all its authored by the entrepreneur, who launched PayPal in 1999, the first online money transfer system.
What an excellent book it is! Says all about the philosophy and strategy Peter took to make his startup success by looking at the lessons he learned from founding and selling PayPal, investing in Facebook and becoming a billionaire in the process.
PHEW – I think there’s a lot to learn.
However, I am going to share just the opposite of all the strategies and philosophies he shared in the book. He was gaga over the kind of success, pains and the colorful journey he had during his entrepreneur days. He was optimistic in his book and kept on enlightening the lessons he learned in the startup roadmap.
But I thought to be a little different. Take the road less traveled to explain the pains an entrepreneur takes to build an empire on the ashes.
You will find that many seasoned entrepreneurs commit mistakes, but you will never find them speaking a lot about it in their books. But imagine if they have narrated them in the books or in notes, it might have helped many rising entrepreneurs to fall from ONE TO ZERO.
I think most, if not all entrepreneurs do not have a problem with goal setting or having a clear vision. Rather they fail to anticipate or even realize that the road ahead is full of bumps. So I feel that entrepreneurs should not repeat the same mistakes. However, none of the authors or experts has ever dared to spot or pinpoint those common mistakes in their books.
Here are some handpicked and common mistakes that you can skirt around and avoid downtime. Let me be clear, to rise from ZERO to ONE you need to use this YES-NO option list as your launchpad.
If you DON’T, you’re free to fall on the ground. But don’t look back again for this checklist as you would have already flattened the tires of your business ROI. And then referring this checklist will be like starting from the scratch.
1. You’re too much into planning & strategy, but never joined the FIGHT CLUB (it means you took no action!)
I know you need planning. Planning is the stepping stone to success for any business.
But overplanning? Naah – it is sure to make you climb from one to zero. Overplanning kills your business, will you like to commit a suicide? No, you don’t. What you need is a good plan? A plan that will lead to a decision.
A clear decision-making plan needs –
- Focus on the few key themes instead of addressing all your potential problems
- Strengthen the areas that are already bringing revenue to the company before you move to other minor issues.
2. Trying to be the jack of all trades, but you become a master of none
I personally feel that adding too many feathers to your hat is not always good. After all, the hat becomes heavy and your growth is buried underneath.
You always nod your head in ‘yes’ when a client comes and ask for almost a “platter of services” It is easy to say “yes” to any request a client makes, but if a request is something beyond your expertise, you risk your time, skill set and even hurt your brand. BOOM!
When you talk to a client, remember the service/product that made you start the business in the first place. Spend your energy perfecting the thing or group of things that you feel passionate.
I think my client really loves me when I tell them “NO” to certain features instead of trying to squeeze every last cent I can.
3. You’re so biased about your product that you turn blind to your competitors
When you set out to create a product, I know you feel like a father and would not like to listen to a single word about it. You probably think that it is the best thing on the market.
While isn’t that too big for your ego? It is not important to lose sight of all the work that you could do to improve the product in the long run.
It is also important not to fall prey in the hands of perfection. It is important to find a healthy balance between “knowing when you need perfection” and “when you don’t need”.
It is natural to make mistakes since none is perfect. When this happens, get up and find out what is wrong, re-strategize and start all over. What is important in this whole event is to stop committing the same mistake.
4. Thinking to run the business alone? – It is sure to hurt you
Do you think that you can do it all by yourself? Are you that silly? Even Sherlock could not make it without Watson (if you consider him as an entrepreneur in his crime-detection business.)
If you are a startup, bootstrapped or have acquired some angel investments – do involve friends or families at one saturated point.
Why do I say this? – Since you will need a pillar to rely on. As no business comes without risk, so to stand strong in all these risky situations, you need someone to support you.
But in these array of events, make sure you do not land the wrong partner in the business. The primary step to choose the right business partner is to realize that partnership is like ‘marriage.’ Means, you will fight, have misunderstandings, fights, disagreement, but you need to have them. So set the expectation from day 1 and keep things flexible and clear between both of you.
5. You’re so ignorant about the cash flow
You never ignored the finances while starting your business. It is obvious that without a single penny, you cannot even buy a chair and table. Business and finance go hand in hand. But where do the entrepreneurs go wrong, and soon turn into Zombies?
It is pretty simple to diagnose. They hardly check the financial statement and keep on spending cash in some areas more than required. Like on hiring, office decoration, purchasing expensive tools and other flashy items – that should not be on the bucket list for at least 5 years. – As a result, they soon run out cash.
What they need is to balance the capitals and invest wisely. Read, analyze and take action based on what your financial statement tells you. Concentrate on bringing in more capital rather than spending, if you want to stay in the business for long.
Time to Wrap UpNow the mistakes that entrepreneurs make are many
in number. However, I felt like pointing these five main and most important as the rest you might have come across. I might not sound optimistic as I am talking too much about failure. But “failure is an option”. As Elon Musk says, “If you are not failing then you not innovating enough.”
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