10 Business Mistakes That Will Nearly Break You…Literally

dumb mistake

Starting a business is hard! You know it, I know it, and everyone else in this world knows it. But what you probably don’t realize is that it is really easy to screw up your business.

Entrepreneurs have a tendency to mess things up by making stupid mistakes. So, save yourself from being one of these foolish entrepreneurs by avoiding the following mistakes:

1. Stop thinking big

If you want to be a big corporation like Apple, Google, or Microsoft, you have to think big, right? Wrong!

None of these companies were thinking big when they first started. Thinking big will just cause you to spend more money than you have to and, more importantly, cause you to move really slowly.

Agility is what you have that a bigger company doesn’t. You can move faster than big companies can even if you have a lot fewer resources. When you have a small team and little cash in the bank, you tend to do whatever it takes to survive.

2. Get out of your cave

Do you have an idea of where you want to take your business? I hope you don’t because your vision is probably different than your customers’.

You have to get out of the mindset of “I want” because it doesn’t really matter what you want. All that matters is what your customers want.

Start surveying your customers to figure out what they want and, more importantly, understand why they want it. This will help you create a product that would be so welcomed by your customers that they would be very disappointed if your product or service didn’t exist. Having this will help you make more money.

3. Money doesn’t solve problems, it causes them

If you think money is what you need, you’re wrong. Having less money will spur creativity and allow you to come up with unique ways to get what you want.

Plus, the more money you have, the more comfortable you’ll become. And the more comfortable you are, the more your business will suffer.

For example, I didn’t have much money when I started my first company, so I had no choice but to figure out how to make it profitable quickly.

On the other hand, with my second company, I had a bit more money, so I wasn’t worried about profitability. This caused the company to grow a lot slower than it should have (this will be getting fixed soon).

So, before you hit the road for six months to pitch to a bunch of VCs, think about how much further you would get if you spent that time working on your business.

4. Don’t hire too quickly

You’ll know when things are looking good because at that point you’ll need more employees. But before you make your first hire, you’d better know what roadblocks the employee is going to run into.

The only way you are going to find out what these roadblocks are and what solutions you will need to implement to overcome them is if you do your new hire’s job for a period of time. So, before you hire an employee to fill a new job position, make sure you take on the duties of that position for at least a week.

5. It’s better to have hunger than talent

Hiring talented employees is like flushing money down your toilet. Yes, typically it’s a smart move to hire talented employees, but that usually isn’t the case for start-ups. This is why:

  1. They require high salaries.
  2. They move much slower.
  3. They won’t stick around forever.
  4. They get stuck in their own ways.

Employees who are out of college or looking to get into the corporate world will be a lot hungrier. They don’t have all of the options that talented employees have, so they’ll work a lot harder for a fraction of the cost.

Plus, just because people did really well at their last place of employment doesn’t mean they’ll do well at your company.

6. Emotions and business are a bad mix

It’s hard to think without your emotions. From a young age, most of the actions you took were based on your emotions instead of logic. So, why would you stop now?

You’ll get further along if you start basing them on metrics.

Sometimes, the best way to do this is to step back and take a break when feeling emotional. Once you calm down, you can then reevaluate the situation and make a decision.

7. Don’t get ahead of yourself

Entrepreneurs have a tendency to get trapped in a Wonderland. They’ll start dreaming about how much money they are going to make. Are you one of them?

I hate to break it to you, but dreaming is unproductive. There is no possible way you can predict how well you are going to do. So, stop dreaming!

If you are going to follow someone’s word, follow Nike’s: just do it. If you want to be rich and successful, you have to work hard. There is no shortcut.

8. Focus, focus, and focus

Expanding is a great way to create multiple revenue streams and diversify. But for your company, it is a bad idea. Here is why you should focus:

  • Crawl before you walk – I don’t mean to offend you, but your business is like a baby. You are naive, and you still have a lot to learn, but you probably want to do what all of the other big boys are doing. If you try to run before you can even walk, you’ll just get hurt (or in the business world, make a lot of mistakes).
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin – there isn’t enough time in the day to run multiple businesses. You are more likely to succeed if you put all of your time and energy into one company.
  • Dominate first – your company will be worth a lot more if you are the leader in your space. Before you expand, you should try to become the leader in your space.

9. You’re not that smart

If you think you know more than your competition, you are wrong. Never underestimate them because no matter how dumb they may seem, they were still able to create a company that is larger than yours.

Don’t be afraid to ask other people for input. There is nothing wrong with asking for help because it will save you time, money, and potentially give you insight into your competition.

10. No detail is unimportant

You can’t be in control of everything forever. Eventually, you’ll have to pass off your bookkeeping to an accountant and your hiring to a recruiter. And you’ll probably even pass off managing those people to someone else in your organization.

Although you can’t do everything, you should still know what’s happening in your company. Even the smartest employees make dumb mistakes, so if you know what’s going on, you’ll be able to prevent some of those mistakes from happening.


Don’t screw up your business with a stupid mistake! Learn from the mistakes other entrepreneurs made so you don’t make the same ones.

And if you happen to make a mistake, don’t worry because we all make them. What separates the good entrepreneurs from the bad ones is that good entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes and keep moving forward.

P.S. If you don’t want to learn from costly mistakes and would prefer to work with people who have already made them click here.


  1. This is what I need for my Future.
    Wonderful article Neil.

    • I’m happy you think that Ankit… this and many of the other articles here on Quicksprout are available for you to take and then implement.

      • Neil,

        Did you write this article out of dry humour? I could not disagree with you more.

        1. Think as big as the universe will allow you. Except apply Neils definition of what he calls big as a no no when thinking big. Thus spend very little money when thinking big or having a gigantic multibillion dollar project.

        2. Get as much cash as you can possible get your hands on. Key is do not spend what you do not need to spend.

        3. Talent is a must, but talent without hunger or will is nothing. Give me talent any day and I will create a hunger within the person with such talent.

        4. Once you find you quality and committed potential employee hire them fast. There is nothing like not having enough man power to get the job done in time. what could take 1 month may end up taking 9 months and loosing market share. Of course if you do not care about market share then it does not apply. Then again you could spend and not get any market traction and loose all that investment. but that is a chance you just have to take.


  2. Neil

    These are like moving against the current in the water. But those who move against the water current and persevere, win in the last. Patience and Perseverance are the 2 building blocks of success. With these 10 business mistakes, you have rightly hit the bulls’ eye.

    • Thanks Varinder… patience is what you need… it’s not likely that for someone to just make a quick buck.

    • Patience is very important because if you rush ahead and make a stupid mistake it could cost you your business. Perseverance is another important factor because after some failures it helps you move on.

  3. Arsham Mirshah :

    Good stuff Neil..
    This is a great crash course for new business starters or an awesome refresher for those who have already ran across some of these mistakes – happy new year buddy.

    • Thanks Arsham, Happy New Years to you too man! Yes, it’s a great way for people to see real life mistakes and save themselves the money from making the same ones.

  4. Great advice… This article will be a good reminder to keep around during the coming year as a friend and I launch our new company. Some of these mistakes I’ve made before, but reminders are great.

    • That’s great… congratulations… It would probably be your best interest to print this a long with some of the other posts I’ve written. Trust me, you don’t want to mistakes that other people have made…. learn from Quicksprout and the readers!

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: going into business with the intention of making a lot of money is the wrong way to take things. You’ll find that those people who do this may be successful in the short-term but not the long-term.

    Really great post to read. These are mistakes I haven’t made and, in some cases, have nearly made. I always try and screw my thinking-cap on and think ahead as much as I can when I’m making business decisions… It’s the best way to be.

    One of my clients (He who must not be named) is one that spends money first, and doesn’t think ahead. But he’s also one that doesn’t spend money when he needs to! Really strange but he spends on irrelevance and is frugal when it comes to relevance.

    This post is definitely going in the ol’ Delicious.

    • Well you gotta understand Luke, it’s okay to make these mistakes so long as you have never been aware of it… because it’s for someone to get carried away. However, now that I’ve explained to the downfall in doing so, it’s no longer acceptable for you to make these mistakes 🙂

  6. Great article Neil. I have heard about you about 1 year ago but I have just discovered your blog today. I am impressed with the quality of your blog, and I will sure read it form now on.

    • Well it’s better late than never 😉 Glad you enjoyed this post… I hope you have time to browse around with the other ones too.

  7. Totally awesome suggestions one does not get to hear anywhere else. When I look back and analyze my own small business and some of the other start ups I know, this post makes so much sense.

    • Well I’m glad because what I learn is straight from experience with start ups and other businesses…. so hearing it twice should be a very good way for you to really get it hammered in your head.

  8. Very Good post every point are really close to reality

  9. Nicodemus at Nite :

    Good afternoon Mr. Neil. Great post. Not over the top and just common sense. People seem to forget to just have common sense. I have a question regarding starting up a business. What do you think of getting a loan out for start up?

    • It’s not a bad idea if you are sure that you can make more money with that loan. A lot of people get a loan, burn through that money, and get nowhere.

  10. Couldn’t agree more! Fantastic piece. Counterintuitive but dead on. To get big, think small.

  11. Maria Reyes-McDavis :

    Love this post, and so timely for the New Year. Your #1 is brilliant and often goes against “conventional wisdom” that many business owners fall into, the idea that you must think as big as possible right out of the gate, I believe, is a huge killer of good businesses that should have been realistic and focused 🙂

    • #1 usually gets a lot of entrepreneur not working hard and day dreaming the entire day. It takes a lot of hard work, energy, and skill to make a ton of money. People need to realize that.

  12. I like you giving unique advice… loved 5th and 7th…gotta remember them a lot! Thanx! Keep this up!

    • Glad you found it useful…. just make sure you don’t just take my advice… take action!

      • Adrijus Guscia :

        Today was big step forward towards my newest project becoming reality. I definitely was doing lots of useless dreaming but little action, but now I’m taking massive action! Big goal needs massive effort!!!

  13. At point # 5, I disagree. I tried this method but this was not as productive as I expected it to be. There are some tasks which you can assign you to new persons but to have less headache and more production, you have to have someone professional with you.

    New persons require a lot of efforts to make them as productive as it requires to run a proper company. As soon as your new employee would realize that he has become a little productive, demands would start to come for increments and things like that and in the end, you have to pay the same amount which you’d have to pay a trained person. The time which you invested in training was a total waste.

    Most of your time gets wasted in training them. They make more mistakes which increases your proof reading tasks and more demands of corrections come from your clients whereas a trained person would tend to do a task which is less erroneous which reduces your overall production load.

    • For a new company, hiring talent really isn’t ideal…. yes it may take a bit more time to train, but it comes down to qualifying your candidate. You can hire a good hungry worker or you can hire a shitty one… you still need to weed out the bad ones.

      • Point #3:
        On the contrary, money does solve problems & lack of it causes it.
        Money enable you to transform dreams to reality and speeds up the process and progress. Your example is not an accurate reference and analysis is reqyired prior to using it as references for the reasons why it longer is because you have learned from your past experience and you were trying to avoid committing the same mistakes so you were more careful thus slower.
        Point #5:
        I disagree with Neil on this one: “hiring talent really isn’t ideal” for the following facts:
        1. The business owner may not and in most cases does not have the skill to train/guide others.
        2. There are jobs that are specialized and require prior knowledge and experience combined. which will save the business error cost.
        3. Your statement is applicable for some/very few businesses not the majority. not all businesses are a hamburger franchise.
        A good example is a consultancy firm, how credible is a trainee? And, would you trust him/her to provide advise to others?
        In general, it is easy to say this is how it’s done, but in reality it is more complicated and 10 points of don’ts and do’s will not make a business successful nor a total failure.
        And that is why there are business schools, business consultants and the best of them all is opportunity and being there at the right time.

        • #3, you’re not understanding my point… having too much money while creating a company will lead you to making stupid mistakes… spending money you shouldn’t spend etc. Having little to no money in the beginning will allow you to expand your mind and build a foundation.
          #5, hiring someone with talent will cause you to go broke really fast. You’re better of learning the skills, getting the training yourself and then hiring 2-3 people and training them up to that level. (This is obviously not an overnight process)

          Of course it won’t apply to all businesses, but it does apply to most. Having business classes schools etc. is definitely a great idea!

  14. A great motivational and informative article. Bookmarked it :), thanks Neil

  15. This couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We are considering how to move forward into the new year and this has helped clarify a few things points – #4 and #5 in particular.

    Thanks Neil.

    • Yeah those are VERY important points especially for a new company looking to expand. Those are areas that can instantly damage or set you back several months. Glad you got value!

  16. Andrew @ WeBuildYourBlog.com :

    I totally agree with number 6, one should not trust or rely on emotions. The head is placed higher than the heart so use your head.

    • Emotions can screw up years of hard work in seconds… it’s a touchy topic but once you gain control, you’ll be a lot more powerful.

  17. I’m not particularly a fan of running my own business but even so, I find your article and the way you go about knitting your points very enlightening. I first came across your blog yesterday (December 28) and I added your link to my blog right away. Great thinking, great writing and certaily one great blog your have here.


    • Thanks SHZ, I appreciate your comments. Hopefully after reading some of the articles on Quicksprout, you are more in tuned of how to run your business and enjoy it at the same time.

  18. Very well written article. Goood tips you have provided. keep it on…

  19. The No 4 is well said. You need to do the job before hiring someone else to do it.This will give you better understanding of the job and that will help to decide if you really need someone to do the job.

    • Exactly… it’s harder to convey something when you can’t even practice what you preach. Also, spending time doing that will give you a better idea on how to coach the new hire on how to do what they were hired to do WELL.

  20. Design Informer :

    Great article Neil. All the points are excellent and well thought-out.

    #1: Stop thinking big

    This sounds a little counter-productive at first glance but after reading what you had to say, it made total sense. This is definitely a good guide to anyone who is starting a business and it’s also serves as an excellent reminder to those who already have a business.

    • It may look that way at first glance like you said, but thinking big puts people in the wrong perception. They are usually misunderstanding the concept behind it. Too many people “think big” and then don’t do a dam thing. Start focusing on creating consistency first before anything else.

  21. Hey…

    Good article… it will be very useful when I start my business….

  22. Corinne Rodrigues :

    Have been following your blog for a month now Neil and I’m amazed at your wisdom! Thanks for sharing. I’m blogrolling you!

  23. Best line “Do you have an idea of where you want to take your business? I hope you don’t because your vision is probably different than your customers.”

    So true. You can only go so far in creating your business/product and then it takes on a life of its own. Have a direction in mind but be willing to adapt when things change. Your customers will effect your business as much as you will.

    • Second best line, “You’re not that smart.”

      I agree. If you think you are, you’re not.

      • It’s an ego thing and most people end up going through it unfortunately. You’ll learn to control it… sooner than later hopefully.

    • They will change, alter, kill or do anything to your ideas… at the end of the day, if they don’t get what they want from you, they’ll get it from someone else.

  24. You just saved me a lot of money. I’d already changed up a few of my plans in regards to thinking too big. I’m a creative guy so I should just keep my cost low and put the money I’ll save under my mattress. Great post!

    • Great job Andre!!! Glad you saved some money right away. Just remember these principles and apply them in your business as you grow.

  25. Read just few lines, bookmarked.
    but well written:- “don’t think big at initial stage”.

  26. Very good points to remember. But sometimes emotions do play a major role in making decision and logic and practicality needs to be put ahead of them.

    • Emotions do play a major role and that’s actually a huge problem… you need to learn to base your decisions of logic, not emotion.

  27. Neil:

    The KISS method is reiterated again. Focus is prime. My young business has been operating the last 3 months and we have been doing small sales, trying to get our efficiency and kinks worked out. We (My partner and I) took a little break for the holidays to reevaluate how we can improve. He has more experience than I and keeps me patient. I am so hungry to make my first million, but it’s vital to do it correctly.

    This year, we have our goals set and our strategy is in place. Our small overhead allows us to move quickly and our agility enables us to execute outstanding quality. This is our weapon against big business.

    Happy New Year Neil. Nobody else is going to be in Vegas for New Years are they?

    • The KISS method has been able to make many many people wealthy and successful. Great job on applying the basic principles in your business. Keep staying hungry… you’ll go far!

  28. I think emotion has been holding me back a little bit. I know that I need a capital infusion, but I don’t want to ask for help because then I would have to answer to others.

    • Well the first thing you need to understand in business is that you need to let your emotions GO! They are only holding you back from where you really want to go. Commit to stop!

  29. Great article. Is it ok if I translate it to spanish?

  30. Great post! Especially this piece: “Crawl before you walk – I don’t mean to offend you, but your business is like a baby. You are naive and you still have a lot to learn, but you probably want to do what all of the other big boys are doing. If you try and run before you can even walk, you’ll just get hurt (or in the business world, make a lot of mistakes).”

    -Cory Levy

    • People forget that it’s a process… it’s not overnight. Exactly.. you need to learn to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.

  31. John Paul Aguiar :

    Great List,, stop thinking big is my fav. Better to think small, and acomplish each step and enjoy that

    • People try to think big and end up doing nothing…. it’s much more difficult to just think big … and not think small term achievements.

  32. Literally break you? LITERALLY?
    No, Neil – it’s figuratively breaking you. at best.
    Any more of this literally misuse – and I will literally have your guts for garters!

  33. It’s better to have hunger than talent

    I love that one I live by that and tell the people who work for me all the time…I would add no.11 “Fixing too much to find a partner to build a business instead of doing it all by yourself”
    I had 3 business partners and all of them were absolute trash, one is in high debts now, the other one is cocaine addicted and the last is a full time liar. Be careful when it comes to people telling you they want to build something with you!

    • Wow… that’s a very good thing that you ended up dropping all 3 of those losers. You should definitely interview someone before you ever work with them and ask as many questions as possible .

  34. Good read. A lot of experience that clearly shown from this post. Will be really useful for the future/present entrepreneurs.

    • As long as people actually read what I wrote and take action on it, they will find them self headed into the right direction.

  35. Free CNA Training :

    Ditto on number 5 (It’s better to have hunger than talent). I know quite a few people with a lot of talent, but they never use it, and those who have instead worked hard are slowly overtaking them. The ideal situation however I guess is to have both hunger and talent.

    • Exactly… and they end up costing you a ton of money too… especially as they try and get situated in your new environment. Focus on new talent and then modling them to how you want it.

  36. I agree hiring too quickly is not adviceable for a startup but hiring right person is very import.

    • That’s why even if you’re planning to hire someone new and hungry, you should interview until you find the best possible candidate.

  37. Chris Peterson :

    Great post Neil, I have been reading your blog from couple of month but today I really liked this post, from 10 mistakes a business owner should be realized.

    But I am not agree with you in step-5: if your business is new and you don’t have enough budget then it would be better hire new guy and experiment on the but from that you can’t achieve but talented guy will give better result within limited period what fresher can’t.

    • Well it’s true… you can spend your entire budget hiring this potential “superstar” but you really won’t know how he does in your new environment. You really are better off investing a bit of your time on someone who’s new and HUNGRY.

  38. internet savings accounts :

    Exactly, starting up a business is not that easy there are many things need to consider. I like all the tips you mentioned specifically #9.

    • Good. well it’s one of the most important ones actually… people let their ego get in the way and complicate, destroy, or change everything they try and do.

  39. Great tipps as always Neil, thanks for sharing. I love the #7 focus, focus, focus. That great Idea, and that other great feature as well can wait, just focus on the core important things. Thanks for the remind.

  40. Sergio Stephano :

    Hi Neil,

    Great Post!! Very practical information and I appreciate all the info you are giving us new entrepreneurs!! I also appreciate your phone call last week and the fact that you made yourself available for advice! I am going to go the entrepreneurship route immediately out of college and hope to have the same success as you. Looking forward to your future posts.

    I am currently focusing on my current business venture www.bonpastry.com (our new site will be up today).

    I am also working on new ideas I got from the 4 hour work week. Great read btw!

    Thanks Neil, Hope to speak to you soon bud.


    • No problem Sergio… it was my pleasure talking to you. I wish you success in your endeavors and just shoot me an email if you ever have any questions.

  41. These are like moving against the current in the water. But those who move against the water current and persevere, win in the last. Patience and Perseverance are the 2 building blocks of success. With these 10 business mistakes, you have rightly hit the bulls’ eye.

    • Patience and Perseverance are the 2 building blocks of success, and that’s what most people need to engrave in their head! If you don’t you’ll end up just spinning your wheels moving from one thing to the next.

  42. I agree hiring too quickly is not adviceable for a startup but hiring right person is very import.

    • yes, especially when money is so tight… it’s just not a good thing to do. Hire talent once you’re more settled and better off in your business. It would be a waste to have talent if your business has yet to fully completed or launched.

  43. Great List, stop thinking big is my fav. Better to think small, and acomplish each step and enjoy that

  44. i like your points on “get out of your cave”.

    once your site is big enough and you have a decent email list. leveraging products is a cinch once you know who your readers are and what they want.

  45. The less money you have the more you try to do things yourself. I think I am falling trap to getting comfortable with making a little bit of money.

    Let me snap out of it and really kill it in 2010!

    • You want to focus on becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. The more you place yourself in those types of scenarios, the faster you’ll grow.

  46. Good article and timely post for me too.

    I think though that you can learn a lot from hiring people on a short-term basis though.

    • You can, but it may not be the most cost effective idea…. not to mention all the time you’ll have to put in to train and retrain.

  47. Cash for Surveys :

    Yes, this is a very timely article and as I am planning on some big ventures in 2010, I will take all the good advice I can get. You do hit a nerve everytime you write!! I especially like your first point “stop thinking big” – as this is contrary to what a lot of people online tell us.

    • Yes, usually they tell you to think as big as possible, but the problem is that when people do, they get too caught up in it and forget to do anything. That’s why it’s important to learn how to think small to achieve short time goals and then eventually think big.

  48. Burun Estetigi :

    Thanks for good advices. I am checking all of these out, they get me thinking and questioning myself. You’re right, we must not fear to make mistake, but awereness of mistake is crucial.
    Wishing you greater success and much more money in 2010…

    • Thanks Burun… mistakes are good and okay to make.. learning from other people’s mistakes is also a great thing to do as it allows you prepare yourself for getting passed situations you come across.

  49. I think I’ve made most of these mistakes. The first point thinking big is dangerous. While I do think it benefits you not to think small, thinking big will definitely break you.

    • Thinking big puts people in a position of thinking that they can achieve something huge right away, compared to understanding that it happens over time.

  50. Hiring is very important. I always hire people in a hurry and find them dumb or dishonest after words. Resulting in waste of time an money.

    • Right… it may seem like a good idea at first to just hurry up and get it over with, but in the long run, you’re not saving time, but rather wasting time.

  51. Hi Neil

    I like your articles very much. But I found here
    “1. Stop thinking big

    If you want to be a big corporation like Apple, Google, or even Microsoft, you have to think big, right? Wrong!”

    According to me if you think big than it’s possible to be very successful in the life. To do this only needs some inspiration, hard work etc.

    • Yes… but everyone “thinks big” and the problem is that they get so caught up in thinking big that they forget about the small things they need to do to reach the big level.

  52. I would disagree that money makes problems instead of solving them. I would say that having too much money with too small mind can cause trouble, but having too small amount of money will always cause trouble.

    • Well either or is possible… too much money and not doing it the right way can be hazardous while having no money is obviously hazardous.

  53. Accredited Degrees :

    As a my part if you are thinking huge than it’s possible to be very successful in the life. To do this only needs some inspiration, hard work etc.
    n I would agree with Jeggigns, Smart though!

  54. Blog on Technology, Entrepreneur, Marketing and Life :

    Thanks for the post..
    I was actually looking forward to buying a VPS or may be a dedicated server for my online store..
    “crawl before you walk”.. has made me start from a basic business hosting account..

  55. Neil,

    Great post. What I find most interesting is how the rank beginner can take this article and run with it . . . in any area. I mean, literally, that new person can carry THIS post and use it as a reason to get hired- to prove the point that you are right.


    • lol, yes very true 🙂 You can take this post and follow the steps to ultimately get hired somewhere. It all comes down to how the person takes action… or not.

  56. I think I’ve made most of these mistakes.

  57. I think another thing that needs pointing out is cash flow and clients. What i mean by this is, I had a friend who was running a good business but then he became to successful and had to many clients which does not sound like a bad thing as we all want lots of clients. But, he did not have the cashflow to deal with all the clients and even though his business was successful, the bank would not lend money to deal with the extra clients and in the end this caused him many problems.

    It is great to grow big but we need to grow big slowly especially if we do not have the cashflow ready for a quick growth

    • Yes…because most people do reach a point where they are “out of control”, so it’s important to structure everything accordingly.

  58. Great list. I totally agree.

    I find success in just being me and knowing I don’t have to be everything to everyone.

  59. Some really good points being made in this post. The tips do get a little less strong and more generic throughout the end though.

  60. Definitely got to start thinking small. If you go too far ahead too quickly, you’re going to just flop.

    • Yeah and then the worst past is that you spend soo much time and energy and build up huge resistance in your head….s which ultimately slows you down.

  61. Neil,

    Great advice for these times (and forever). My favorite is the “hungry” vs. “talented” – could not agree with you more. If your a good leader, can teach and know how to manage – always opt for hungry.


  62. Most people dream about having a very prosper business like some big and old companies have. But that usually takes a very long time and many don’t seem to understand this.

    Anyway, I am glad that you see things the same way I do regarding our own and others mistakes 😉

    • Lots of people dream of it, but only a select few achieve it. That’s because they learn from their own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others in their field.

  63. Great stuff Neil. I just stumbled onto your website today and have been plowing through all your posts.

    I have to say, I laughed out loud as I read this one because even though I haven’t started a business of my own, I’ve already made most of these mistakes in my head (especially #7, ha!)

    • lol.. well not to worry, they are common mistakes that most people end up making. Just be sure to watch yourself from making it again in the future.

  64. I found that I screwed up tons and I found that the costly mistakes were really just costly lessons. With that perspective, I’m ok with being a screwup cuz its my education!

  65. Learn from your mistakes and especially from others mistakes and you will do just fine in the future.

  66. Chase Cashwell :

    Mistakes can be costly,but u have to make some in order to learn…just dont make the huge ones. 🙂

    • Well unfortunately the ones you learn from the most are huge ones… haha, but know that it’ll pass and you’ll move on.

  67. Ashford Menezes :

    Hi Neil,

    Your article made a brilliant read, you’ve clearly spelled out the disaster recipes that entrepreneur engage minus the jargon.

    I myself was making a few of em and thankfully going to change em now on..

    Keep Writing,


  68. Couldn’t agree with you more on Number 1. You hear so many successful people talk and all of them almost say they never thought they (or their company) would be this huge. Also, thinking that big can cause a lot of stress especially if you’re not patient with results because big things take time.

  69. Pharmacy First :

    Another good read. I’m waiting for you next post!

  70. Most people dream about having a very prosper business like some big and old companies have.

  71. Just like in your other post “New Year’s Resolution… Oh Yea I Made One of Those”, it is important not to leap onto high and large goals. We need to make small steps, like a baby because if we fail a jump, we start from the beginning and when we fail a step, it is just one step backwards.

  72. Nice stuff Neil.. and yah business in the beginning is like a baby so one should be v v v careful ..

  73. Good info 🙂 And if you want to own a big company like Apple, Google or Microsoft you have to come something that have a huge market. I mean that almost every people should buy this thing.

    • Yes, but you really have to just spend the time to look into focusing.

      • Not only that, everybody can’t do that, you have to have a special thing in you…

      • brandon alan scofield :

        @neil I love point number one STOP THINKING BIG !
        I always dream of creating huge business of billion dollar , it made me stuck , now I know that I have think realistically 🙂

        • Why don’t do both? Think realistically and try to create a huge business of billion dollars 🙂

          • brandon alan scofield :

            @dreamer .. right, people have a chance to billionaire , but it took a lot of time and energy right. In Web business , Skill is The Limit … Mark of Facebook, geek of Twitter etc they are good talented skilled programmer … If We HAVE the SKILL … we have a chance 🙂

          • Thinking too big will prevent you from taking the action you need to take.

        • Thinking is great, except for the fact that it stops you from really taking action and making it happen.

  74. I’ve only just recently started out in business and it’s funny to notice how many of the things you listed are relevant to me. Especially the ‘stop thinking big’ one… I’m such a dreamer.

    I’ll try and keep myself in check

  75. Sandy Cormack :

    A big +1 on metrics. The key is to pick the right things to metricize, and know how to analyze the data.

    • Yes, it’s important to analyze and measure data and obviously very important to know what data you’re measuring exactly.

  76. I was guilty of number two. My websites were going to be the way I wanted them. Also I started tailoring them around search engines rather than readers and potential customers.

    Had a wake up call however which jogged me back to reality.

    • You should of RAN back to reality 😉 Yes, it’s all about what your readers want, anything else doesn’t really matter.

  77. This post reminds me of what my boss used to say. He mentioned that hiring ex-convicts was the best business decision, because those are hungry for success and to prove their worthiness.

    • hmm, I find that interesting and not necessarily true… you’re better off hiring particular college students who are eager to learn and work their asses off for little to no money.

  78. I love your perspective and insights on business – and appreciate your blog very much!I found that I screwed up tons and I found that the costly mistakes were really just costly lessons. With that perspective, I’m ok with being a screwup cuz its my education!

  79. I love it! I am about to start a new business with a friend and I found this article very helpful. Hopefully we will avoid the most stupidiest mistakes.

    • You will probably make a lot of these stupid mistakes still, but hopefully this knowledge helps you recover and move forward faster.

  80. Good planning is very important. love this post. thanks for sharing.

    • Good planning is very important, but remember that things almost never go according to plan. Be prepared for changes that occur and the ability to adapt and overcome.

  81. ProBusinessGuy :

    Ya i agree, screwed up tons and I found that the costly mistakes. Mabey im just a nut or somthing lol.

    I just say john you must get this right and then i fail lol.

    • Fortunately, you’re not the only one that made costly mistakes… most people reading this have. It’s just about how you relate those mistakes with you mindset.

  82. Startup Videos & Advice :

    Focusing on once project is really critical. One time I found myself working on 7 other things…and soon..all of them crashed.

    thanks for sharing.

  83. Again, thank you for a very helpful post. Some aspects of business development have been frustrating of late, but your posts have helped me stop a wayward tendency toward starting other projects before finishing the first.

    “…no matter how dumb they may seem, they were still able to create a company that is larger than yours.”
    And some times I view their existence as proof of miracles (just like my company’s, I suppose!).

    • Focusing on one is what will allow you to let it grow and go to the next level. Good for you on realizing that now.

  84. Rajaram Keelar :

    I’m an Incubation Manager working with a lot of start ups and wannabe Entrepreneurs. Your article is amustl for all the Incubatees with us and I have forwarded the same to all of them.
    I shall be quoting you in all my interactions with wannabes, there’s many of them here in India off late.

  85. Weight Lifting Training :

    Im reading another rich dad poor dad book and number 3, and 4 dont go with what robert talks about

    What side of the cashflow quadrant are you going for? Are you creating a B Business Or a S Business? Cashflow is whats important higher a person to run your business. Spend your time on somthing more important like thinking.

    Money fixes problems. Cant afford healthcare money can solve that. Cant get a car. Money can solve that problem.

    These are problems i have. Money will only solve them.

    • Money also alters your mindset which is why you need to be careful. When people make money, they usually end up spending more because they get use to the finer things in life. Then if money comes to a hault, breaking that finer things in life habit becomes difficult to break. It’s all a mindset you need to work out.

  86. Pes patches :

    Best line “Do you have an idea of where you want to take your business? I hope you don’t because your vision is probably different than your customers.”

  87. sell textbooks :

    Its always good to avoid mistakes but sometimes making them can be more valuable in the end if you learn a good lesson.

  88. ProbusinessGuy :

    I have failed more then i have succeeded. Because of that i know more then the guy who is wining right now. In the long term i should win.

  89. centrophenoxine :

    Yes this is very dangerous thing to dream so high Such as Google and Microsoft , just start you business with small or affordable investments and do work hard , I am sure you will surely got every think which is necessary to led life.

  90. You got to start by building your credibility.

  91. estetik ameliyat :

    Thanks for good advices. We’ll follow-up ..

  92. Great post. Not over the top and just common sense. People seem to forget to just have common sense.

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