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10 Ways Entrepreneurs Shoot Themselves In The Foot
by Catherine Franz
Entrepreneurs and their businesses have a tendency to ambush
themselves when they aren't looking. This affects how much
revenue they can generate, how fast their business rises,
and even if they survive after the first few years. If you
feel there is a possibility you are getting in your way to
success, review these elements to see if any of these items
1. Imagine investing time and money into a product or
services, only to find that it isn't selling. Or at least
it doesn't have the results that you expected. Now, I'm
talking realistic here, and not some grandiose vision. Itís
hard to give up something when you have invested your
resources into something, more importantly, you have spout
off to the world (okay, friends and family) that you were
Gluing yourself to an idea, product, or service that isn't
making any money or enough money to support the business
isn't smart. Ego and pride don't make money. Getting
hitched to any one idea, or even two, that isn't profitable
isn't smart. Every product climbs and falls -- even
McDonalds drops a product when it doesn't test strong. Ideas
are the currency of entrepreneurs, make money with them or
let them go.
2. Be proud of being an entrepreneur. Don't mumble it,
don't call it by another name. Stand tall and proud. This
includes the title independent professional -- another name
for entrepreneur. As if, being an entrepreneur isn't
At networking events, when asked if they are an
entrepreneur, people respond in funny body language. Some
shift their stance uncomfortably. Sometimes their hand goes
over their mouth and they let out a barely auditable, yes.
Or they correct it with some other title. For some reason
the name entrepreneur seems to have caught a disease.
3. No bologna (or b.s.). Entrepreneurs can be naturally
excited and optimistic about what they are doing. Don't let
the excitement sound like hype. Because of this people
don't trust you. Don't just tell the pros, add the cons.
Let people know, who is the best person for this service Ė
not everyone, or what circumstances are best for the
product. People aren't stupid but if they have to figure
the cons of the product or service, you will most likely
lose the sale.
4. Being in denial of your cash position. Not balancing
the checkbook, not knowing what your accounts receivables,
payables, or what the break even cost is for a product or
service, isn't smart business. If you don't know what it
is, get a book on the topic or talk to an accountant.
Denial creates fear, and fear creates denial. Itís a
vicious circle that creates stress and ulcers. Short term
projects turn around short term dollars. Long term projects
never turn around short term dollars. Be realistic with all
5. Accepting weak any bodies. Whether its weak staff, weak
clients, weak strategic alliances, or anyone else in your
support realm. If you are attracting weak people, you are
giving weak signals. Change your signals and you will
change what you attract. To attract strong people, you need
6. Confusing possibility with reality. One of the main
characteristics of an entrepreneur, and this could be one of
the reasons people may not like using the name, is their
gift to see everything in possibilities, yet spend money in
the world of reality. Money is always reality.
7. Selling or trying too hard to explain what you sell. If
you find yourself pushing what you're product or service
does, it is time to change your "success formula." Common
causes are: (1) You are trying to sell to someone who isn't
your target, or (2) If you have the right target and you
don't know what you are selling. You can only handle this
in two ways, know what the customers are buying, or know the
benefits of what you are selling. Benefits in the terms
customers need to hear and understand, not what you choose
8. Lack of any or adequate support structures. If it takes
a village to raise a child, what do you think it takes to
raise a business. Surely, not a lone ranger. Work with
others to help handle your many business and personal needs.
Entrepreneurs need support, even if itís only a feeling.
Arrange to have a support structure for every part of your
business. Keep in mind tip number five above for this as
9. Over or under delegating. It is so hard for
entrepreneurs to begin to delegate. Yet once they do they
seem to swing the pendulum completely to the opposite side
and over delegate. Over delegating is "dumping" on people.
Even paid people, don't like being dumped on. Feeling in
control is a need of most people, entrepreneurs aren't any
different. They look at it as a money or trust issue, when
in actuality itís usually a control issue. Delegate
appropriately and with people that think you can trust. Let
the trust build over time.
10. Stop giving up so easily. Successful entrepreneurs
don't see failure. They see learning lessons. They pick
themselves up, dust themselves off, change and adjust, and
keep moving. Being an entrepreneur, during the early years
of a business -- that is under five years for most
professionals, takes more work than being an employee. Even
if you are a graduate with an MBA in business. Don't
include your learning curve time in with the rest of your
time. Everyone has a learning curve of some kind.
About the Author
Catherine Franz, a Professional Marketing &
Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet
writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and
articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com
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