What are the 3 biggest mistakes of new entrepreneurs?

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I see matched sets of errors by new entrepreneurs:

1. Spending money before it is absolutely necessary--esp. on overhead.
OR Failing to go all in, not spending as much as you need when the window of opportunity opens wide.

2. Plunging ahead too quickly before you are ready. Going to market with beta.
OR Hesitating, waiting too long, so that others pass you by. Striving for perfection instead of good enough.
OR Beating a dead horse. Sticking with something long after you should have written it off and moved on.

3. Being the Lone Ranger. Taking too much on yourself, thinking you're the smartest, you know all the answers.
OR Being indecisive. Listening to too many voices and viewpoints, trying to satisfy everybody.

4. Micromanager. Hire good people but always look over their shoulder, telling them how to do their job.
OR Laissez faire. Hire good people then turn them loose, giving too little guidance and feedback.
OR Switch back and forth between these two. That REALLY drives your people crazy!

You've wonderfully summarized the probable mistakes new entrepreneurs can make. Empirically I've found these to be true in almost all the cases.

Thank you, Vineet! I think I've made every single one of these mistakes myself!


1). Lack of real product knowledge. Just because an app is practical does not mean there is a market for it.
2). Lack of real marketing knowledge. Just because an app may be a better mousetrap does not guarantee there is a market for it.
3). Lack of a realistic revenue model. Just because an app is popular does not guarantee profitability.

Yup! Have had many clients come to me in the past with great ideas. Social service ideas that serve community needs very well but don't generate enough $ to create profitability or sustainability.


1. Thinking the idea is more important than the execution.
2. If it doesn't make money, it doesn't make sense.
3. It's easier than having a paycheck job.


1) Wanting to make money instead of making a difference. Need a focus on how your service or product will help your customers and as result you will get paid.
2) Listening to advice...take action today.
3) Not spending enough time on marketing and selling.


1. Feeling they need all the "trappings" before beginning (logo, stationery, LLC, accountant and lawyer, etc)

2. Not being narrowly focused (or, as many of us call it: niched). You canNOT be all things to all people. Thinking that "everyone" can use your service means your message to your market is WAY too fuzzy - go after one, small, narrowly-focused group. Get them and THEN you can expand to the NEXT small, narrowly-focused group.

3. Not staying focused. Success will NOT happen over night. Success is NOT a straight line. Keep "testing" your assumptions, your marketing, your products and services, always listening to what your consumers (or prospects) tell you. But don't listen to EVERYONE - not everyone's opinion is as important as everyone elses (I love my wife: but she's not interested in what I do and certainly isn't an expert - so to listen to her "opinions" will not be helpful to my success)

Keep going! It's the JOURNEY that's important and fun, not just the destination.


#1 reason companies fail: Ignore customers.
#2 Lack of focus.
#3 Lack of execution.

303 Velocity - http://303velocity.com
Your top notch user experience, mobilized.


1: Picking the wrong partner (could be friend or family member)

2: Organizing your tasks to benefit self before the customer or simply not prioritizing. Example = Fully setting up a marketing campaign but not fixing checkout payment issues on the website.

3: Not allowing/having enough time to really make the business grow or get established.


1) Starting out underfunded.
2) Believing they can handle product/service design and delivery, marketing, and financial management equally well and on their own.
3) Being unable to demonstrate that the business has the potential to be both profitable and sustainable.

I agree totally.

I did this - I under estimated how much money it would take to get the business profitable. I tried to do all the sales and marketing myself. And I just couldn't sell the idea to potential investors. The business was completely service based, and without an actual product it was impossible to sell.


1) No solid business plan.
2) No long-term strategic conceptualization.
3) No mentorship/assistance during the startup phase.

With the right mentor or consultant, you will be better positioned for success with your business. Regardless of how smart or experienced you may think you are, there is valuable information to be gained by having someone else along with you for the ride who will provide you unfiltered feedback from an outside-in perspective.

Scott -- Brilliant answer. Doing a quick root cause analysis of your answer is that the Founder(s) did not have a CEO mindset and lacked the skill build a strategic business plan that was actionable through short term tactical objectives.

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