Truthfully there is no blueprint to success. Everyone is dealt a different set of cards under unique circumstances. While there are plenty of strategies you can use and people you can learn from, you’ll only be successful if you put in the work.
It’s common to look at other successful entrepreneurs and come up with every reason why they had an upper hand. While there are surely some people who are born with an advantage, the majority of high achieving individuals failed, struggled, and ultimately persevered. Key word there is failed.
You’ll hear time and time again that entrepreneurship is about learning from your failures. Those who can honestly reflect and improve, will be successful. They don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Here are five mistakes wildly successful entrepreneurs never make twice:
Trying to start multiple businesses at once
Nowadays there’s a notion where entrepreneurs are supposed to be working on multiple businesses at once in order to set themselves up for success. Let’s face it. Not everyone is Elon Musk.
The majority of us don’t have the capacity to truly build and scale two businesses at the same time. While it may feel like you’re hedging your bets, you’re actually lowering the chances of either business becoming a success.
Successful entrepreneurs understand that results don’t happen overnight. It takes years and years to build a company, and even then it’s not enough. That type of commitment requires laser focus. If you don’t view your company as your life’s work you will have a hard time grinding when times get tough.
Setting unattainable goals
New entrepreneurs become so enthralled with their big adventure, they often work without a logical plan to achieve their goals. In reality, you need to set attainable goals if you want to ultimately succeed in business. Not to mention, constantly falling short of the target can be detrimental to your morale.
You need to make the point to set both long-term and short-term goals for yourself and the company. Each of these goals should translate to measurable success and also tied to a specific timeline. Take the two goals below for example:
Goal A: Make $1 million in revenue
Goal B: Consistently earn $100,000 in MRR to total $1 million in total revenue by the end of Q2 in 2019.
Out of the two goals listed above, which is setting the entrepreneur up for success? It’s obviously Goal B. Simply earning a million in revenue is not enough to make up a goal. It may sound nice on paper but what does that mean for the success of the business? What if you made $1 million in total revenue but your MRR was going down by 20% each month?
Goal setting is about determining what metrics make up your success and how you plan to attain those.
Failing to do their due diligence
As the business leader it’s up to you to make decisions that often have a huge impact on those around you. If you aren’t comfortable making those decisions, then you simply don’t belong at the helm of your company.
Making a decision that has negative repercussions but was ultimately the better choice for the company is completely acceptable. In fact, often times decision making comes down to damage control.
The mistake is when a decision is made without proper due diligence. Whether it’s an investment decision, acquisition, hiring or firing an employee, or even something as small as a public statement you need to do proper research. Never rely on a single source of information and always do your best to surround yourself with those you can trust.
Trying to change others
This is something you need to learn in both business and in life. You simply cannot change another person. You can provide them with new perspectives or ideas, but the idea of fundamentally changing how someone thinks and operates is just not possible. If that person is going to change, that change needs to come from within.
The most successful entrepreneurs understand this and save their breath. The person can be someone inside your business, like a co-founder or employee. Or it can be someone outside like a friend or family member. If there are certain characteristics about this person that rub you the wrong way, you can surely let them know but you can assume that’s not going to change.
If you want to be able to coexist with these people you need to either change your attitude around them or remove them from your life entirely. Successful entrepreneurs know the one thing they can’t do is waste time trying to change them.
Spending time with negative people
When you dedicate a large portion of your life to building a company, you need to surround yourself with people who make you a better and smarter entrepreneur. Unfortunately, there are a lot of very negative people in business. Sure there are people who make tough decisions and again, may have caused some casualties along the way. Then there are people who are inherently negative. They look out for themselves and only themselves. Successful entrepreneurs know to never associate with these types of people.
Most of the time, it’s difficult to get a read on someone right away. This can get especially difficult when there’s an incentive to forming a relationship. For example, they may be a client that represents a lot of potential revenue. The immediate instinct is to close the deal, but what if the client has a bad reputation? You are an average of the five people you surround yourself most. So make your choices wisely.
If you choose to become an entrepreneur, you will make mistakes. Lot’s of them. The most important takeaway is that you need to learn from them, and never repeat the same ones.