I used to use many of them myself. Now it hurts my ears when I hear them.

Unless you're joking, there are certain phrases that as an entrepreneur you should not be using. Learn these phrases so you can stop yourself from saying them, and you'll become a better entrepreneur because of it.

1. "I only sleep X hours a night."

We all have those entrepreneurial friends who like to remind us how hard of a worker they are. Somewhere into the conversation, they throw in that they barely sleep because they work so much.

Next time you hear this, respond with "You should manage your time better." The look on their face will be priceless. Most people who say this want to show how dedicated they are, where in reality they are saying that they are unproductive. A great argument for this is 37signals founder David Heinemeier Hansson's talk at Stanford.

Often, taking shortcuts is essential for business. Also, if you are working so much you can't get at least seven hours of sleep, you have a lackluster team. If that's not the problem, then you need help learning how to delegate. Finally, being sleep deprived will hurt your quality of work. You'll lack focus, put on unwanted weight, and be lethargic throughout the day.

Instead, base success on the results of your startup, not your lack of sleep. No one cares how much sleep you're losing, they care what impact your company is making. Are there times where you're going to pull an all-nighter? Sure, but it should not be a regular occurrence, and definitely not something you should be showing off.

2. "We'll market through word of mouth"

We can blame movies like The Social Network for this one. So many entrepreneurs spend months building a product. Then when it's time to launch, they simply tell their friends and post on social media. They see stories like Facebook and think that by telling a few people, viral growth will take over. Little do they know, the chances of that happening are slim. You can't expect users to initially love your product enough that they do the work for you.

Instead, you need to have an actual marketing strategy. Find industry experts who will push your product on social media. Get 20 people to commit to be a beta test group before you launch. Make your product successful with those 20 people. Then start running more tests with larger sample sizes. Once your sample size gets big enough, you can go to press outlets and get your message out. If you're a business-to-business company, get early sales before you are ready to launch your product. You can even do this before you start building anything.

Do stories like the Facebook launch happen? Rarely. Is that a chance you want to base your entire business on? No way.

3. "We're not thinking of revenue right now."

So you want to build a company that doesn't make money? This is another risky gamble. When people see apps like Snapchat and Tinder, they think that growing a large user base will lead to a billion-dollar company. Again, you can't plan something like this. If you aren't thinking about ways your company can generate revenue, then you really aren't trying to run a business.

There are certain times where it makes sense to focus on users over revenue, but that's only when your company is growing insanely fast and your user base becomes valuable. In reality, most companies build by driving sales and finding a scalable business model. The media loves covering startups like Snaphat, because it makes us believe that all is takes is a good idea to be successful.

In truth, it takes a strong focus on revenue, a strong business model, and a ton of work. When you start your company, create milestones that include revenue, break-even, and profitability. Then come up with every possible way your company can make money from your product. That way, even if you're not making revenue from day one, you'll have a focus on building a company through sales.

Published on: Sep 11, 2014