Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) supports the total entrepreneur by offering transformative opportunities to connect and grow with like-minded colleagues on both a professional and personal level. Many entrepreneurs in the Nashville chapter have been in business for years, and know the critical importance of learning from their mistakes. We asked them to tell us about their greatest mistakes to serve as a learning tool for others. Here's what they shared:

"Hiring too fast and firing too slow. When I started having second thoughts about an employee, I still didn't immediately make them my first thoughts and then take action."  --Greg Luken, Founder and President, Luken Investment Analytics

"Limiting my vision. Not thinking big enough." --Julie May, Founder, Bytes of Knowledge

"A big regulatory change wreaked havoc on our retail store business a few years ago. We could have acted more deliberately and quickly to respond. In future situations, I'll be intentional about getting my leadership team away for a day or two to generate alternatives and chart a path forward."  --Alex Tolbert, Founder and CEO, Bernard Health

"I started 'chasing the shiny object' and moving the company out of our sphere of core competencies. Had I not taken corrective action decisively, it likely would have derailed our strong little company. I've seen other entrepreneurs make the same mistake: We achieve some success and think we have the magic formula, that we are invincible--until we crash and burn." --Sherry Deutschmann, Sunset Ventures

"In a previous startup, I wanted to flip houses. I relied on a service to identify houses in foreclosure and facilitate the research and purchase of the property. I made a bad purchase because I didn't perform my own due diligence. I took the easy route and didn't completely commit myself and my time. I learned you can't commit halfway and succeed." --Brigitte Edwards, OrangeTheory Fitness Nashville

"Early in my business' evolution, I felt that I needed to take on greater risks to survive, even when logic or intuition gave me hesitation. So, I took on clients and a partner because of perceived benefits, without thinking through potential downsides. Ultimately, this created a lot of additional work in order to move the business forward." --Blanding Beatty, Principal and CIO, Vitality Living

"The most recent was that I didn't thoroughly vet someone I was considering working with. A very wise woman once told me to date a prospective marital partner for four seasons before making a decision. This applies in a professional working relationship as well. From this point forward, before discussing formal agreements with anyone, I will spend at least one year working together to see if we are a collaborative match." --Elizabeth Moss, Founder,  Caregivers by WholeCare

"I once hung onto employees who were either not performing or were negative influences, because I thought they were fixable. Now, I've implemented an effective process: Coach, Council and Cut. I've realized that someone sowing negativity has to go for the good of the group, no matter how well they perform." --Paine Bone, Partner and General Manager, Wilson County Motors

"Trying to diversify too quickly was a misstep for me. Become a master first, then diversify." --Bill McCleskey, Vice President of Disruption, Mitech Partners

"Don't make decisions based on fear. I grew the business too quickly at first because I was scared of competitors entering the market. Once you've made a mistake--which you will--learn from it. I knew I needed to change things before opening a third location, so I waited two years and completed the EO Catalyst program. With all systems and processes in place, opening number three was much easier. Also, follow your gut. If you don't think a decision is good for you or your business, figure out why. If you think the market is too small, it probably is. If you think the hire is a 'panic hire,' they probably are. Every time I have gone against my gut, it has cost me." --Leslie Embry, Owner, The Blowout Co. of Nashville

"Buying my business while still in residency was an exercise in self-deception. I found an available practice, identified every problem with the business' numbers and upcoming transition, then looked past them all so as not to rock the boat on the sale. I don't regret diving in, but I certainly paid for it over the first few years. After becoming a more seasoned businessperson, I've learned the power of negotiation. Don't try to be the nice guy. Be the polite guy who knows what he wants and can poke holes in others' analyses." --Damon Barbieri, Owner and CEO, Barbieri Orthodontics

"Not hiring the right people in key leadership roles early on. Building a leadership team of smart, dedicated people is the most important part of launching and scaling a successful business. You need A-players who are self-starters and feel a sense of ownership in growing the business." --Floyd DePalma, Founder and CEO, DePalma Studios

"If you have a partnership, cultivate the relationship daily and treat them the way you want to be treated. Follow the Golden Rule." --Scott Anderson, Co-founder and CFO, Threadbird Printing

"Try to avoid moving your own goal posts." --Steve Curnutte, Founder and Principal, Tortola Advisors

"You can always make money--but lose your reputation, and you'll never make money." --John Arndt, President and CEO, DWC Construction