I can tell you that the greatest entrepreneurs we know are not really the best we could have had. Those that had the potential to become the best possibly committed one of the deadly sins of entrepreneurship and went out of businesss. Many sins exist within the circles of enterprise but I will stick to six sins that affect most startup entrepreneurs.
#1. Breaking Laws
In my opinion, it is ok to break rules as an entrepreneur but NEVER to break laws. Powerful businesses have come crumbling down because of breaking Laws. A good example that I can recall is the closure of one of the biggest influential Newspaper companies in Zambia due to the failure of complying with Tax Laws. Whether the closure of the company was a consequence of politics or not is beyond my knowledge but the fact is that the case was taken to court on grounds of breaking Tax Laws. There are many businesses across the globe that have closed as a result of breaking laws. As such, do the best to be in tandem with the Laws of the land as a startup entrepreneur.
#2. Envy and Comparison
Comparison has cost a lot of entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow and soar in their own space. I have an acquaintance who has failed to scale to great heights because of envying others which results in purchasing things beyond his means in the name of competition against people who are not even competing with him. Once you start out in your entrepreneurship journey, don’t spend a lot of your energy comparing yourself to your peers and competing with them. Instead, run your race and be the best that you can in your own right.
#3. Failure To Read Numbers
The norm is that when most businesses start, they concentrate on beating competitive market prices which is justified as penetration pricing. The challenge is that they stay for extended periods in this state such that liquidity is affected. Around this time most startups fail to manage their expenses and BOOOM!!!! the business closes. When starting out in business, make sure you read the numbers well because the number one target for a startup is to survive the first three years.
#4. Wrong Team
Having wrong partners, employees and advisors has brought down promising enterprises. At one time I had to suspend all the employees from my two branches and then later recalled only those that I felt would constitute the team I wanted to build.
Most startup entrepreneurs lose money in wrong investment partnerships because as they say: When a man with money meets a man with experience, a man with experience leaves with the money while the man with money leaves with experience.
#5. King mentality.
The know it all, the bossy, the arrogant and the push arounds rarely have a great team around them. You have to know that the King mentality doesn’t attract kings. Most businesses have gone down due to failure of attracting and retaining great brains in the company due to the King mentality exhibited by the owner. I learnt this quite late but I am now glad that I have a team more intelligent and effective than I am. They have actually pushed the company to what it is today.
#6. Not Adapting
Failure to adapt to change has led to the closure of small and large companies. It is important to move with the times and possibly thrive to be amongst the trendsetters regardless of the size of the business. For instance, while others were still concentrating on marketing and selling PVC cards, we saw a change in trend and chose to concentrate on Smart PVC cards. Other small businesses grew by pioneering the supply of CDs when others were still focusing on Audio Cassettes. Kodak is an example of a high profile company which lost market leadership by failing to adopt Digital cameras over film cameras when trends proved that the future was digital.
As you embark on your entrepreneurship journey, make sure you do not commit these six deadly sins otherwise you will be history before you even start flourishing.