Each month in this column I ask a different question to you, the ExitEvent Entrepreneur. Thought provoking questions that are meant to get you to sit back and think. Each month I offer insight into the question, along with common mistakes made by (us) entrepreneurs, and a key take-away for you to think more about. My goal – to increase your self-awareness as an entrepreneur and a leader.
Insight: In almost 30 years of operating in the entrepreneurial community, I can count on one hand…actually, I can count on one finger…well maybe that is even an exaggeration. Where was I going with this? Let me start over. I can count …NOBODY… who has ever raised a hand and said that they were doing a horrible job and were just not cut out for this entrepreneurial gig.
Once we commit to going into the entrepreneurial world, it’s got us, and even if we are making all of the wrong moves, we firmly believe that we are making the right decisions. That is when the trouble begins.
Common Mistake made: There are well-known reasons why the majority of businesses fail and underperform. The top 10 includes this one:
Owners who cannot get out of their own way.
Whether they express it by avoiding conflict or risk, or by displaying perfectionist, paranoid, self-righteous or greedy tendencies – and sometimes all of them at once – stubbornness is the identifying characteristic of many entrepreneurs who are destined to fail. Even after the problem has been repeatedly pointed out by others and even acknowledged by the Owner/Entrepreneur/CEO himself or herself, these people continue making the same mistakes.
Key Take-away: There is a better way.
I once was asked if I could make one change to my entrepreneurial career, what would it be?
Easy—I would have surrounded myself with mentors and joined a peer group much sooner in my career.
Mentors have “been there and done that” with all of the scars to show for their lifetime ups and downs. Mentors can help us avoid some of our mistakes, and can most definitely steer us away from making them a potentially deadly second time. Mentors can provide a perspective that is critical to our growth as long as we are not too stubborn to listen or to truly believe we are making all of the right moves. Becoming more vulnerable is a courageous act and necessary for our long-term success.
Peer groups are made up of people going through similar experiences to what you are going through. We may have unique products and service offerings, but the basics of building a successful business are similar regardless of the industry you are serving. We can and should learn from each other’s experiences!.
My advice: find a new way that includes being more vulnerable and less stubborn.