Failpreneur: 5 Common Mistakes Made by Young Entrepreneurs

Posted on October 13, 2012

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Entrepreneurs are bound to make mistakes. Not only are entrepreneurs often risk takers, they are decision makers who act on plans, instincts, and sometimes just act on impulse. As an accomplished failpreneur, I will focus on some of the most common mistakes made by young entrepreneurs.

Letting Money Become an Obstacle

Possibly the biggest mistake made by young entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs is not pursuing their business idea because of money constraints or concerns about not having a disposable pile of cash sitting in their living room. There is no excuse for letting money concerns get in the way of your dreams.

Want to start a restaurant? Perfect your recipes, create menus, research what you need to do to get appropriate licenses and operate in the city you would like to open up shop. Work under someone that can show you the ropes and someone you can prove yourself too, maybe they will want to support you financially until you have enough to open up your own restaurant.

You don’t have an excuse! Start working on your dreams now!

Not Pursuing Your Passion
Dr. Gene Landrum’s words were heard loud and clear by an audience of 1,000 entrepreneurs and college students at the 2011 CEO National Conference, “Pursue your passion.” Dr. Landrum, founder of Chuck E. Cheese and author of 18 books is very aware of the importance of passion in entrepreneurship. Dr. Landrum authored “Entrepreneurial Genius: The Power of Passion” in 2004. The book follows 12 of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 20th century and how they were able to accomplish greatness through their passion. In Dr. Landrum’s own entrepreneurial experience, it was his dream and passion to create a place for family entertainment that turned into the extremely successful Chuck E. Cheese chain.

Why is passion so important in business? Because being an entrepreneur is more than a 40 hour a week job. When times get tough and days get longer, do you really want to put in that extra work for something you are not passionate about? There are plenty of entrepreneurs that have identified an opportunity or gap in the marketplace and created a successful business even if it was not their passion, but disregarding your interests and passions when starting a business is a huge mistake. Before starting a new business or working on a new idea, ask yourself “Is this really something I could be passionate about?”

Trying to Grow Too Big Too Soon

Even the biggest and most successful companies today didn’t get where they are in a year or two, so why should you? Crate and Barrel has 170 stores, but they started with just one. Crate and Barrel didn’t open up their second store until 6 successful years at the first location. Being scalable and able to grow in the future is vital, but take growth one step at a time and focus on becoming strong in one area or geographical location first, then you might have what it takes to start expanding.

Having high expectations is okay, but why are we all trying to create the next Facebook when even Facebook wasn’t trying to be the next big thing? Occasionally someone will get lucky and create something amazing that changes the world on their first attempt, but it usually happens because they weren’t even trying to change the world. Start small! Most entrepreneurs didn’t start off trying to become the next big thing or by trying to compete with the leader in their industry (Michael Dell is an exception to this), so there is no reason you should try to. What’s wrong with starting a small but profitable company that has a positive impact on your employees and community?

-Thinking You Can Do It All By Yourself:

Whether you believe in strength in numbers or not, there is a lot to be gained by surrounding yourself with good people. This is also true in business. Most successful businesses got where they are now because of picking a great team and great leadership. Young entrepreneurs often have a hard time delegating tasks that are vital to their businesses success, so instead of picking reliable co-founders and co-workers, they hurt the growth and potential success of the company by trying to do it all themselves.

There are countless examples of entrepreneurs getting spurned by shady business partners, but that is still no excuse to trying to do it all by yourself. Surround yourself with experts, mentors, advisors, and more. Even if you are running a sole proprietorship, there are many who are willing to help you and you and your business will be stronger for it. Use resources that are available to you including SCORE, Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization(CEO), Small Business Development Centers, the local chamber of commerce, and other college & non university related resources that may be available to you.

-Letting Failure Stop You From Trying Again

Young entrepreneurs are often unaware with how many times many entrepreneurs fail before they have a breakout success. Success are always celebrated much more than failure, although often it is failure that leads us to success. As Winston Churchill famously said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If you have failed, learn from it, embrace it, and start over. Don’t try to forget your failures, rise above them.

There are thousands of mistakes that entrepreneurs make, and these are only several of them. The biggest mistake anyone could make is to not try at all.

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