Everyone makes mistakes along the path of entrepreneurship. These mistakes help you learn how to do things better the next time you are faced with a challenge and give you the motivation to continually move your business forward. While most mistakes that you make as an entrepreneur will teach you a thing or two about the way to run your business, others can be detrimental — or at the very least costly — to your long-term plans.
As many as 25% of new businesses in their first year will fail, according to Statistic Brain, and these numbers become even grimmer by the end of the first five years of business ownership. To avoid becoming a statistic, it is imperative that you avoid some of the bigger entrepreneurial errors, so that your good idea isn’t pulled under by a bad call.
Below, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share the single biggest mistake they’ve ever made as an entrepreneur and why it’s important for you to avoid repeating similar kinds of errors. Here is what they had to say:
1. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
One mistake: Trying to do everything myself to perfection, instead of delegating to other people. It ultimately resulted in less work getting done. – John Morad, iRecommend Software
2. Starting Off Without Knowing the Basics
Starting a business before I was ready was the biggest mistake I’ve made. However, being ready doesn’t mean knowing the future, it means understanding some management and business basics to speed up your learning process to pivot faster. The school of hard knocks works, but with all of the tools available from Eric Ries, Steve Blank, etc., there’s no excuse anymore: Learn the basics first. – Charles Nick, Third Wave Water
3. Allowing Other People to Bring You Down
The biggest mistake I made as an entrepreneur happened when I allowed other people’s fears, disbelief, and negativity turn into self-doubt and pessimism. Passion drives success. There will always be people willing to bring you down, for too many reasons to list, and the moment you allow them to affect your thoughts, your perspective or your self-belief, is the moment you will start to fail. – Sasha Rowe, Rivvly
4. Lacking A Clear Working Relationship With Partners
My co-founders and I failed to define a scalable working relationship at the outset of our company, and a year in, it almost derailed the whole thing. In the early days when everyone is wearing every hat, “all for one, and one for all” can work. But as early as possible, it is imperative that you define an understanding of responsibilities, expectations, and final decision-making power. – Giles Ochs, Prospect Bio, Inc.
5. Trusting Blindly
The biggest mistake I made by far was trusting someone implicitly when co-founding a startup. Once I realized he was doing a ton of unethical things without my knowledge, it was too late. I still think it’s fine to start a business with a friend. Just make sure you’re careful about who you partner with and confirm that you have full transparency on all company dealings. – Kyle Stoner, Abode Technologies, Inc.
6. Not Asking For Help
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made as an entrepreneur is trying to do it all myself. As someone that finds asking for help very difficult, it was challenging for me to admit when I didn’t know something or needed assistance in getting something done. The best lesson I have learned in growing my company is to work on my business and not in my business. I continue to learn the art of delegation. – Jessica Rosen, One Down Dog, LLC
7. Trying To Start A Second Venture
I tried to start a second company that was completely unrelated to my first company. The problem was my first company suffered. I invested a lot of time and money into a new business when my main business needed that time and money. Starting additional companies is a great thing when you’re ready. If any part of your business can’t function without your involvement, then you’re not ready. – Christopher Tedder, Clinger Holsters
8. Making Social Media Blunders
Think twice before posting things to social media that you are unsure of. No one ever got fired for not posting something. – Gregory Gopman, Photon Network
9. Not Documenting Your Processes Early Enough
You should start documenting your core and repetitive processes as early as you can, otherwise you’ll be left having to play catch up as the business is scaling. My advice would be to record training videos in advance, even if you do not have anyone to use them, and to begin delegating small tasks at first, even if you have the time to do them yourself. – Brandon Pindulic, OpGen Media
10. Looking Desperate
When you start out, you need funding and you try to package yourself and the company up to look presentable and professional to investors and people who will potentially fund you. But these investors are smart to see right through it. In hindsight, we probably looked very scrappy and desperate in an attempt to put on a professional show. – Christy Ai, Autodidactic I LLC
11. Letting Your Pride Get In The Way
The biggest mistake a new entrepreneur can make is allowing pride to get in the way of asking for help and not only when you need it the most, but in general. Pride and ego, especially if you compare yourself to your peers, can get in the way of greatness because you may not be at the same level and you shouldn’t be. Your move is slow burning but ultimately will produce fire. – Martin Ekechukwu, WHTWRKS Inc.
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