The 13 fatal Errors... KINDA
the foundation of billion dollar businesses
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Written by Nic Carlson on Nov 16th 2019
In this blog I'm going to walk you through 15 fatal errors of being an entrepreneurs taken from billion dollar businesses you can begin implementing immediately. 
This was a valuable lesson with a twist... 

I got my start as an entrepreneur in sales. I've been in sales for as long as I can remember... 

I LOVE IT, it's 100% professional communication but that's not really what this blog is about... 

I spent a couple of years as an executive sales manager for a multi-billion dollar fitness company. 

When they brought me on they handed me a book called "The 13 fatal errors of management: and how to solve them"...

They told me to read and memorize it, "the foundation of our entire company is built upon the back of this book." My VP said... 

I was sure he was exaggerating its value to make sure I read it but almost as soon as I cracked it open I realized I was wrong. 

I couldn't help but think the entire time I was reading that this book wasn't written for managers... it was written for entrepreneurs.

If these were the standards Fortune 500 companies held themselves too in order to grow successfully, it only made sense you should too. 

So I'm going to run you through them but explain each one as they pertain you as an entrepreneur and how to fix or avoid them... 

I also added in a few MUST READS (#14 & #15) at the end for anyone who's trying to bring a product or service to market in 2019... 
So let's quit chopping it up and dive in!
1. Failure to accept personal accountability
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
I tell people all the time, " if you're an entrepreneur, it won't work unless you do." 

You are 100% responsible for your results and position in life, NO ONE ELSE. 

There are two types of people in the world according to "authors name"... 

Internalists and externalists... 

The internalist believes that he is completely responsible for his station in life and accepts accountability. 

They understand that as long as they remain persistent and dedicate themselves to bettering their position every day there is no way they'll miss their mark. 

The externalist  Is a person who credits his station in life on external things or people. 

He blames others and makes excuses for his lack of performance... 

Everybody knows one of these people, they're always the victim and the world's always out to get them... 

These people will never be successful entrepreneurs because they don't have the stomach to persevere when times get tough. 

One of the greatest things I've ever heard is called the failure formula. It goes: 

Your likelihood of failure is directly proportionate to your willingness to accept socially acceptable excuses for failure. 

In other words, if you're looking for an excuse you've already lost. 
Realize now, it is no one else's responsibility to get you the success you're looking for. Don't be mad about the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do. 
2. Failure to develop people - ourselves
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
You MUST dedicate time to personal and professional development... 

The person you are now and the person you want to become are two completely separate people... 

What stands between them is all of the obstacles they have to overcome and the continued education along the way.

There are 4 things that govern your belief level in yourself... 

One of them is the repetitious information you hear on a daily basis.

What are you listening to, reading, and doing every day that's influencing the way you think? 

What are you hearing/ reading that helps you do a better job? 

You have to be dedicated to growth...

It's no accident that the average American reads less than 1 book a year. More than 60% have never read a none fiction book cover to cover and never will. But 90% of fortune 100 ceo's read a minimum of a book a month. 

When you walk your talk and lead by example you attract and nurture a team that does as you do.  
Bury your head. Start making a habit of reading 10 pages of an none fiction book a day. It doesn't matter if it's morning, or night... hell you can even listen to it! 

But if you average 10 pages a day, 300 a month = a book a month.
3. Trying to change results instead of influencing thinking.
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Here again, the way you think plays a vital roll. 

Whether your results are good or bad their progression is as follows... 

It starts with the way you think or perceive a situation. 

That thought creates emotion. That emotion dictates your activities. Those activities become your habits and your habits shape your results. 

In other words, the foundation of success is how we think.

Normally if we're unhappy with our performance or the performance of one of our team members we address the activity. 

Whenever we have a job to complete we evaluate ourselves in relation to the job. 

If we perceive the job to be bigger than we are we don't try. 
Control the way we think and perceive ourselves in relation to our desired end result. 

If you feel overwhelmed by one of the millions of overwhelming tasks you'll face as an entrepreneur you have to develop your confidence by creating a plan. 

If you increase your confidence in your ability to succeed you will. 

In other words, influence your thinking so that you believe you have the personal strength to succeed. You control results by influencing thinking.
4. Joining The Wrong Crowd
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Two more of the four components that governs your belief in yourself are your environment and the people you surround yourself with. 

As an entrepreneur keeping tabs on your environment and inner circle is crucial... 

What kinds of environments are you allowing yourself to be subject to on a day to day basis? 

Are they conducive to you accomplishing your goal or are they distracting? 

Who are the people you allow to speak into your life on a day-to-day basis? 

Are they helping you creatively problem solve or are they telling you you're wasting your time?

These people influence your thought and your belief in your ability…

Don't be surprised if some of the people you regarded closest tell you it's IMPOSSIBLE. 

This because as you grow it's going to be harder for them to ascend to your level than it will be to try and bring you back to theirs. 
Pay close attention to where you are and whom your with. There's a saying - if you hang out with 5 unambitious, unmotivated, victimized bumps on the log.. you're just the 6th. 

But the opposite is true as well, if you hang out with 5 ambitious, motivated, accountable action takers... you're the 6th. 

It's also important to remember that you never want to be the smartest person in the room. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and force yourself to level up. 
5. Managing everyone the same way
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
You have to find what parameters that you respond and perform to best. 

The words that excite one entrepreneur may incite another... 

If your favorite CEO or the person you idolize is a dick to their team it doesn't mean you have to be too... 

That may not be your MO and that's fine... 

Motivation is idiosyncratic and you have to find the method that works best for you.

Don't mimic others just because it worked for them. 

You'll begin to make changes in your core beliefs that affect the way you think and that creates inner conflict.. 
Parents know their kids are different, so they take different approaches in dealing with them. The same true when you're trying to lead. 

You are different than the person to your left therefore you must motivate and manage yourself differently. 

Keep an eye on the things you do and say to yourself that make you feel empowered vs the things you do and say to yourself that make you feel inadequate. 

Start to become aware and change the frequency in which you put yourself down. 
6. Forgetting the importance of profit
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
This is a HUGE one. So many entrepreneurs think that if all they focus on is their product or service than the business will just come rolling in... 

If that's going to be your mentality you need to hire a sales and marketing team yesterday...

If you don't have the means to hire a sales team then you need to come to a realization, and fast. 

That realization is that as an entrepreneur you where all of the hats.

You're not just the product developer or the service provider you're also head of marketing and sales. 

You are not in business to say your in business, your in business to bring a solution to market and be profitable doing it.  
You need to make certain you're not allowing yourself to make sales that are not profitable or marginal at best. 

You must allocate time every week to lead generation, sales and follow up.
7. We concentrate more on the problem than we do the objective
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Thoughts become things. When we focus our attention on only the problems we tend to magnify those problems... 

They begin to permeate every aspect of our lives and we become consumed and driven by fear... 

Fear KILLs creativity and creativity is an absolute must for any entrepreneur.

There was a university study on the effects of negativity and problem-solving. The results were shocking. 

They had three groups. Group 1 was subjected to images, videos and stories that made them feel happy and positive...

Group 2 was the control group and was subjected to emotionally neutral content... 

And group 3 was subjected to emotionally negative content.

After their attitudes had been effected they were presented with a problem and asked to come up with and write down as many solutions as possible. 

Group 1 came up with the greatest number of solutions followed by group 2 who had considerably less followed by group 3 that had the absolute least. 

What does this mean? 

If you only focus on the problem and allow that negativity and stress to affect the way you think you won't be able to creatively come up with a plan to effectively solve your dilemma.
Pay less attention to what's going wrong and more attention to what needs to be done. Use the 4 point management system. 

Plan | execute | monitor | redirect. 

Make a plan, work the plan, monitor the results: 

If good - optimize

If bad -  adjust and reroute. 
8. We become the buddy instead of the boss
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
In management, this is pretty self-explanatory…

But as an entrepreneur, you are your boss, which means you have to be accountable… 

You HAVE to be disciplined. 

It’s really easy as the “head honcho” to let things slide or procrastinate but you have to rein it in. 

If you demand more out of your business you’re going to have to demand more out of yourself. 

Often we let things get out of hand because we’re scared of what comes next because let's face it, at times being an entrepreneur is terrifying… 

Embrace that uncertainty and discomfort and realize that the more scared you are of a task or objective, the more important it is to the evolution and growth of yourself as a person.  
Use your fear and discomfort as a divining rod for the things you have to do and have the discipline to do them in spite of it.
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Setting standards is imperative. If you don’t, what are you holding yourself accountable to? 

More often than not this leads to a problem understanding what your objectives, quotas or goals are. 

You have no way of tracking your progression or how good your production was on a given day. 
Set and understand what your standards are. Define your objectives, your quota’s, your minimum standards and your goals. 

Objectives are what you say you’ll do…

Quotas are what you want done and by when… 

Minimum standards are what it takes to be minimally satisfied with your effort to consider it a “good” day… 

And goals are the things motivating you to take action. 

Know what these things are, keep track of them and use them to push yourself. 
10. We fail to train people (ourselves)
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
In management, this is typically because no one ever trained the manager properly. 

But as an entrepreneur, it’s typically because we stopped training ourselves. 

Earlier I mentioned the importance of dedicating yourself to betterment as it pertains to thinking…

This is dedicating yourself to betterment as it pertains to your craft, your service or your product. 

You must ALWAYS be striving to become better at what you do. The Entrepreneur that stops growing starts dying. 

Now it’s important to understand the difference between education and training because they’re measured differently.

Educations sole purpose is to provide knowledge. Training's sole purpose is to attain action…

Education is evaluated by what you know, in other words, if you pass a test you know you’ve been educated on the topic…

But training is evaluated by what you’re able to accomplish after the training session. 
Whether you’re bringing a product to market or aiding people with your service, continue striving to be the best, continue learning and apply what you learn as fast as possible. Turn your education into training. 
11. We Condone incompetence 
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Managers often condone incompetence by ignoring it until it becomes a MAJOR problem because frankly, they don’t want to deal with it… 

What happens is, we often wind up attacking the person instead of the behavior.

As an entrepreneur you have almost NO room to condone incompetence because the buck stops with you.

Again it comes down to self discipline and drive. You have to make good decisions and do your best to remain productive at all times.

There’s always going to be someone out there that wants it just as bad as you do and the separating factor will be your work ethic. You cant go out “raging” if you have to be in a boardroom the next morning. 

Now this isn’t to say entrepreneurs don’t do incompetent things, they do tons, especially when their getting started but what I am saying is don’t let the behavior become a MAJOR problem and if it does don’t hate yourself. 

Assess the behavior, make changes and monitor your new results.  
Try to personally confront any incompetent behavior as soon as you notice it. 

First realize and understand exactly what the incompetence or poor behavior is…

Then understand how that behavior is effecting you in relation to your objectives and how you’ll feel if you don’t hit them…

Then ask yourself why you’ve been doing it and determine if it’s worth it… 

Then ask yourself questions to determine how it could be solved or avoided… 

Promise yourself that you’re not going to let you down…

And finally recognize when you’ve kicked the bad behavior and take a moment to congratulate yourself because you’re killing it.
12. We recognize only the top performers 
(our greatest accomplishments)
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
If you have a team than you want to avoid only recognizing the top performers because it drives a wedge between them and the rest of the team.

Your top performers are not the ones paying the highest price because 9 times out 10 they get the business and it comes easier to them. 

The ones paying the highest price are your newest people because their working their ass of to produce ANYTHING. And they deserve praise and recognition for that effort. 

IF you’re a solopreneur this is a little different for you… 

You may not be only recognizing your top performers but instead only recognizing your top accomplishments and this can be just as dangerous. 
Recognize all of your efforts small or large as long as they’re in the right direction!

As an entrepreneur sure you’re going to have big wins but those aren’t what really moves the needle… 

It’s all of the consistent small action over time that, like interest, compounds into the results you’re looking for. 

Don’t discount your hard work and effort. 
13. We attempt to motivate or manipulate people
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
You can only inspire, you cannot motivate…

Motivation is something that’s internal; it’s something that’s personal and born of your inspiration. 

Ironically managers and entrepreneurs alike try to motivate through similar means… 

incentives and rewards or threats and fear…


Your sales contests are a waste of time because normally the same few people win and everyone else feels inferior.

Threats and fear don’t work either because they destroy confidence in the leader. 

For entrepreneurs it destroys confidence in them selves. 
Know why. Knowing why you do what you do helps cultivate the inspiration and belief needed for leadership. Believe in your product or service, your plan of execution and yourself. 

Acquire the self-discipline hold yourself accountable and execute effectively. 

Create an environment that allows the motivation to be channeled and pat your self on the back from time to time! 
(BONUS) 14. We fail to define why we do what we do and we believe
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
Just as it’s important to understand why you do what you do in order to inspire yourself, that belief is what inspires others.

What’s beautiful is that when we speak about our beliefs we speak directly to the part of the brain that drives behavior which is what we’re all looking for… 

Most companies define themselves by what they do and how they do it. But ironically the companies that are leading the way with innovation and creating loyal communities define themselves by why they exist.

Apple for instance believes in challenging the status quo, and everything they do serves as the tangible proof of that belief. 

In an effort to not drag this out ill give you a really quick example.

The railroad industry was an industry that defined itself by what and how they operated. All of the money was poured into laying tracks and putting people on trains.

The moment the airplane was invented railroads became obsolete because they were so focused on what and how they operated instead of their why of providing mass transportation. 

Meanwhile, Apple, a computer company who defines themselves by their why, redefined the music industry with the iPod and iTunes. 

Honestly, there’s so much to cover as far as your why is concerned, I’m going to write and entire other blog on it. Stay tuned!
Define what you believe and make those beliefs known to your audience. When we can connect with them on a level beyond what you can offer them and how you can offer it you gain respect, trust, and loyalty. 

This is because when you align yourself with someone’s beliefs about the world a challenge against you becomes a challenge against them and they won’t stand for it.
(Bonus) 15. Failure to develop a strong digital marketing strategy
The 15 Fatal Errors of an Entrepreneur
We live in a day and age where ANYONE can own and operate a business that does something their passionate about… 

The barriers of entry to becoming a strong entrepreneur or even a hyper-growth startup, have never been lower…

BUT to stay competitive you MUST have a strong digital strategy.

With that said there is also one IMMUTABLE law of business growth that everyone must remember: 

The person who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer – WINS…

So what does this mean? 

Well, a couple things… 

First, unfortunately (and we hate this more than anything) it’s not always the best product or service that wins it’s the one with the clearest marketing message and the biggest budget…

And secondly, you have to develop a conversion funnel that decreases the initial cost of acquiring a customer while increasing the immediate and lifetime value of that customer…

As well as an overarching digital strategy that takes someone who knows nothing of you or brand and walks them through a process that turns them into raving and loyal fans of your company or brand.
Don’t procrastinate on your digital strategy because it’s not only crucial to your business growth but your customer has grown to expect it! 

Not really sure where to start? 

Don’t worry it's completely normal…

It’s taken us over 5 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to understand & codify...
Now I hope this has been as insightful for you as it was for me... 

These truly are the principals the 6, 7, 8, even 9 figure businesses we work with use to govern themselves on a day to day basis. 

If you internalize and apply them in your business I guarantee you'll see and feel the shift.

And if you're interested in dramatically cutting your learning curve and more importantly the cost when it comes to deploying a digital marketing strategy... 

Click the button below and download our 50 page Ebook on building the perfect "The Customer Value Journey"!

This is the exact framework we use to help our clients turn complete strangers into RAVING customers and take their businesses past and through the 7 figure mark! 

Seriously this will change the way you view your marketing FOREVER 😎
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Nic Carlson

Founder and CEO of Vanguard Marketing Group®
Creator of The Vanguard Marketing Institute
Digital Marketing Savage

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