The Most Common Entrepreneurial Mistake?
The Most Common Entrepreneurial Mistake?
What is the most common mistake an entrepreneur can make? We feel just a tad qualified to add in our opinion, as it is difficult to recall all of the entrepreneurs who have walked through the doors of VIM Executive Coaching, or those we’ve consulted to by phone or electronically, or even those to whom we have presented in boardrooms or seminars.
Yes, a plan is important, but
As we open up this topic of serious entrepreneurial mistakes for discussion, I imagine you might have an opinion of your own. We are certain that you have a valid opinion. Some of you might answer it is the lack of a solid business plan, others might answer that it is undercapitalization, or an unfamiliarity with the competitive marketplace, or certainly a faulty product or service. We would agree that all of those elements are quite important.
However, from an executive and entrepreneurial coaching point of view, we at VIM Executive Coaching would make an argument that the most common entrepreneurial mistake is a lack of authenticity.
“A lack of what?” You might say. Of all of the problems we have seen entrepreneurs make, far and away it is a lack of authenticity that has contributed to an overwhelming majority of problems. If an entrepreneur is not genuinely engaged in the process of her or his vision, the organization is likely to fail. Conversely, if an entrepreneur is authentic, if the vision comes directly from his or her inner core, the business or even nonprofit organization is more likely to succeed.
Whether the entrepreneurial venture and vision is a new social media platform, a wine import company, a chain of holistic massage and chiropractic clinics, or a tropical fish emporium, if the entrepreneur is not fully engaged in the authenticity of the road ahead, the entity has more than a decent chance of failure.
Why is authenticity remotely important?
Though we have little faith that the topic of authenticity will become a mandatory course in business schools, it should be at the top of the list of considerations before launching any venture. The passion, the drive, the long-term engagement in an entrepreneurial venture must come from within, and must be impervious to the bumps and bruises of the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
We have seen many entrepreneurial organizations fail not because the plan was inadequate or the funding was insufficient but because no one deeply believed in the mission and no one had the authentic, inner fire to see it through.
We have known smart, accomplished executives who decided “to do something entrepreneurial,” who failed to launch their organizations despite all of the Harvard and Wharton MBA’s who sat around their board room tables. Amazingly, we have all seen stories of entrepreneurial leaders who had breakthrough ideas borne of their passion who succeeded despite modest educations, poor means and naysayers all around them. Why did they succeed? Because they were authentic. They genuinely saw an opportunity when others met them with derision.
At first glance, Southwest Airlines, Facebook, Tesla and Dell Computers may seem to have little in common, but we would argue that their leaders started out with an authentic inner passion that was fanned and nurtured.
How do I cultivate?
Our most genuine and authentic selves are often covered over with many layers of delusion, illusion, denial and even feelings of inadequacy. We must break through all of that. Many would be entrepreneurs with wonderful dreams often dissuade themselves from becoming successful because they believe they lack elements of what they imagine a true entrepreneur to be. Authenticity overcomes many self-doubts. More than a few (actually many thousands) of successful executives who do have the resources fail at entrepreneurial ventures because they think their lack of passion and engagement can be overcome by throwing money at the problem. It never works.
At VIM Executive Coaching we teach would be and even established entrepreneurs to discover or re-discover their authenticity. We have steered budding entrepreneurs on their path to greater entrepreneurial success, and at the same time, we have helped others to keep on their executive leadership paths in their organizations.
There is no right or wrong answer. There is only the question of whether we are authentically engaged in the careers we are in, or in the ideas in which we believe that expand our horizons.,
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