Have you been struggling? Do you know an entrepreneur who is struggling? If you answered yes to either question, then one or more on the list of deadly sins are likely being committed by the subject in question.
Make no mistake about it, these sins are deadly. If you see someone committing them please share this article with them to remedy the issue immediately. Their very business and livelihood are at stake.
1. Riding roller coasters.
In my humble (and biased) opinion, the ride of entrepreneurial life is the most exhilarating form of existence one can choose. It's filled with a deluge of emotional highs and lows--sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis.
The key to sustainable success and growth in your business is that you do not ride this rollercoaster with everyone else. You must learn to take the median line.
Others may worry and doubt you when standing in a deep valley and others can deify you when you are on the summit, but you must do neither. Your business is never as great as people say and never as bad as people say.
You're responsible both for you and those who are reliant on you. They're people who will never be willing to understand or carry your burden or they would be on it themselves.
You don't get to have bad days in public and be successful. This doesn't mean be inauthentic--it means not real-time barfing your fears and doubts in a public forum where you can hurt the belief in your brand, employees, partners, and shareholders.
Suck. It. Up.
2. Playing the B/C squad.
Who got you here won't necessarily get you 'there.' Holding on to B and C players will be your downfall.
You'll never get to the upper echelon of your business with average or marginally above-average talent. If you dream of growth, you need leadership development processes in place to develop your core team. You need to be willing to cut good, hard-working people in an ethical way if they can no longer play the game at the level required. Great leaders know how to hire and fire to a purpose, vision, and standard.
Your customers deserve your best. Let average people work at average companies where everyone can be comfortable. You must hold the standard higher.
3. Being popular.
Doing what's right--even when it isn't easy--is a crucial skill to develop. You'll need to be willing to accept the consequences when you make decisions that aren't liked, especially when you know they're the right thing to do.
If you're going to fail, then at least fail doing what's right for you and your shareholders.
Being true to your core values is a sustainable practice. Violating them to be liked is a fleeting one.
4. Lacking focus.
Your first customer is your team and employee base. Your second customer is the end user of your product or solution. These two must be in the center (focus) of your decision making, and you must take care of both of them first and foremost to succeed.
Build your profit and loss model from the ground up. Focus on how much it'll cost you to deliver a great customer experience consistently.
5. Being a gluttonous sloth.
You put extreme demands on your mental and physical energy capacity 24/7/365. Even elite athletes can't synthetically sustain this level of output. You must prioritize natural energy production.
Suggestions include: having a marriage/family therapist you trust, a massage therapist, and an acupuncturist on speed dial. Eat organic, drink moderately, work out daily, and read (or consume audio books) voraciously.
6. Being arrogant.
Ride the waves of momentum and hoard some of that cash for the down cycles and stormy seasons. Growth is a gift and a curse: You're only as good as your last at bat.
Have a plan and resources available to take advantage of changes in the wind. Nothing stays the same, which means your tough times are soon over and your good times are fleeting. Remember point number one--about riding roller coaster--and don't overspend your resources during good times.
7. Accepting dumb capital.
Dumb capital adds no strategic value to your business. It doesn't invest in businesses like yours as a focus. It chases trends and wants to be in the 'cool' sector of the moment. It's irrational and impatient when things go awry.
Be patient, be resourceful, and only work with smart capital that's in the game for the same reasons you are. You're an entrepreneur, so you think that you are your own boss--but when you take on investment, you work for that capital. Choose your boss wisely.
If you want to be in the one percent, then you can't do the things that the 99 percent do. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.