Browsing through my feeds this morning, I came across an interesting little list from Rich Whittle at the Business Opportunities Weblog, though it originated from Inc.com. The list is of 5 mistakes that entrepreneurs make. Without getting into all of the details of the Inc.com post, the list goes:
2. Lack of Focus
3. Excessive drive and competitiveness
5. Rose Colored Glasses
While numbers 1 and 4 pretty much go hand in hand, perhaps number 5 is worth elaborating on just a bit for clarification’s sake. The post refers to this as: "Underestimating challenges through unfounded optimism. Some entrepreneurs live in a dreamworld where they discount potential obstacles and place naïve bets on shallow “hockey stick” profit projections."
Number 3 – Excessive drive and competitiveness seems like it would be a positive thing, but the keyword in that is "excessive". Some will do anything to get ahead including breaking the rules or playing dirty. You can imagine where this would take a u-turn into the negative.
According to this article from Dharmesh Shah, first-time entrepreneurs only have an 18% chance of succeeding. Granted, this article is a couple years old, but the exact percentage isn’t really the point. The point is that many, many first-time entrepreneurs will fail. It sounds harsh, but that’s just how it is.
There’s no scientific formula for success – obviously. It is up to the entrepreneur to play with a level head and make careful decisions. Do you have a reason to think you’re going to be part of the 18 (or however many) percent? Entrepreneurs put a lot on the line. They can only do their best to make sure they’re not risking it all for failure.