Entrepreneurs are known to have many qualities—persistence, leadership skills, and a never-say-die attitude, to name a few—all necessary assets to putting them on the road to success. But even with those skills, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have made their share of mistakes, sometimes spectacularly. Robert Jordan, author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press; $24.95), helps us understand that what it takes to successfully launch and grow a business is oftentimes learning what not to do.
1. Being afraid to take the leap.
It’s one thing to dip your toe in the water and operate a business as a side venture, but at some point you will have to decide whether to jump in with both feet. And often, it isn’t until fear is set aside that the venture works.
2. Hiring the wrong people.
Building scalable, growth companies is never a solo affair. “Even the solo founders essentially created partners and management teams who were great,” says Jordan.
3. Not wanting to give up control.
There are two types of control: equity and operational. You have entrepreneurs who believe so passionately in what they’re doing that it’s hard for them to give up hands-on control, says Jordan. “But there comes a point when you have to let people who are better than you at certain things do those things.”
4. Becoming complacent.
Jordan says some believe that once they achieve a degree of success, they’ve reached a point of safety. But the Great Recession proved that there is no such thing as safe. “You have to keep innovating.”
5. Failing to see new opportunities.
Most of the entrepreneurs Jordan highlights in his book were doing things a lot of people could have or should have seen but simply overlooked. “It wasn’t so much that the intellectual property reached a degree that there would be no competition,” he says, “but they just looked at things in a different way.”
Learn more about the mistakes you can avoid and the lessons to keep in mind as an entreprenuer by attending Black Enterprise’s annual Entrepreneurs Conference, taking place May 22-25, 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. Visit blackenterprise.com/ec for more details. As an incentive BE is offering you a discount on early registration: Just enter code BEDG295 and receive $200 off.