Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How to Prevent Them

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Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have a great idea for a new product or service. Are you thinking of starting your own company or maybe you already have?

If this sounds familiar or even if you’ve just thought about establishing your own company one day, wouldn’t you love to have some insider advice on how to avoid entrepreneurship pitfalls? In an article titled “14 Entrepreneurs Share their Biggest Business Mistakes” published by TECH.CO, entrepreneurs discuss some of the missteps they’ve taken along their paths to success. Knowing the mistakes of those who’ve come before you and having strong business skills will aid you in your success.

Here are a few entrepreneurship mistakes to learn from and ways that a graduate business degree can help you combat them.

1. Have Passion for What you are Doing
“The biggest mistake is to start a venture around an idea that you are not really passionate about. The problem you want to solve, the people you solve it for (your potential customers) and the people you co-found with should really mean something to you. And by meaning I mean you should LOVE it. You should be prepared to work on that for the next 10 years. Otherwise, you waste your time and you will most likely burn out. Search for an idea that really means something to you.”

-Andreas Diehl: digital entrepreneur, consultant, and public speaker.

Passion is essential but can fizzle out when you start to hit major obstacles. Earning an MBA degree will give you the business skills needed to overcome those obstacles. Choose a program with a concentration related to your area/industry to reinforce your passion with knowledge.

2. Don’t Rush It
“In growing my web agency I was way too quick to hire full-time employees, lease long-term office space, and take on other fixed-cost commitments. That put me in a position where I was constantly just trying to get enough business through the door to pay the bills, rather than having the flexibility and freedom to spend time finding the right clients and the right business model.”

-Matt Inglot: founder of web agency Tilted Pixel Inc and consultant

Earning an MBA degree will help you understand everything from finance to marketing and HR to negotiations. This will help you know when to go to market, how to manage cash flow, when to hire employees, and so on. There are very few overnight successes so invest in yourself before investing in your idea.

3. Don’t Lower Your Standards
“When heading a startup, you’re starting from scratch and manifesting an abstract idea, often working with a shoestring budget. Putting together the right hiveis crucial, but because there is a lot of rolling up of the sleeves and shitty pay, you come from a place of gratitude and give a person more leeway. Many times my gut indicated that a person didn’t have the stamina it takes for whatever reason. To work in a startup, you need to be a self-starter with vision and ideally team members need to be aligned with the greater mission. I realize now that it’s not worth compromising your standards even if you have to keep looking. I’ve wasted my time with a lot of people who turned out to be ‘freaks’ and ‘flakes.’ I recommend a 30 trial before offering any equity.”

-Maryam Henein: investigative journalist, founder, and editor-in-chief of HoneyColony

Some business schools have entrepreneurship centers that offer mentoring, funding, even incubators so you have support and a “safe space” to launch your venture. MBA programs are also filled with high caliber peers that share your drive and determination for success. An MBA can provide vital business knowledge and connects that you can leverage to grow your business.

4. Research Your Market Before You Start

“My biggest mistake was thinking that I researched my market in depth when starting Richtopia, it took me a year to realize that I hadn’t done my homework properly so I went about doing it a year late. Knowing your field of operation is of the utmost importance. During Richtopia’s growth, I was introduced to Tim Campbell MBE at Bright Ideas Trust who helped me refocus my business efforts to really make even more impact with thousands of unique users regularly visiting our website to get insightful business information.”

-Derin Cag: founder of digital platform Richtopia

When pursuing an MBA degree, you’ll learn how to do market and consumer research. Some also offer advanced business analytics and new product and venture creation courses. This knowledge is invaluable to entrepreneurs.

5. Don’t Try to Keep Up with your Competitor’s Spending before You Can Afford it

My number one mistake was made with my second company in thinking that I had to mirror budgets of our big-name competitors. I thought that in order for us to make it through the noise we had to spend top dollar on advertising, just as much or more, than some of our biggest competitors. I soon found out the hard way that it would not work for us. We were constantly in the red and thought we would have to close doors. My husband and I decided to make one last-ditch effort to save the company by pulling 90 percent of that ad money. We were thrilled to see that we brought in just as much traffic to organically via other marketing efforts. We immediately went into the green and became a profitable business. I learned my lesson that as a small business; you don’t need to try and beat big-name competitors. Instead, make a niche for yourself and stick with that.”

-Nellie Akalp: CEO of

An MBA program will give you a diverse skill set, broader insights, and the confidence that comes from knowing you are truly prepared to assume a critical leadership role.

Located in the metro Washington, D.C., area, George Mason’s MBA Program prepares the next generation of business leaders through a rigorous, stimulating business and management curriculum based on a global perspective, industry demand, and leadership. It prepares MBA graduates with the skills they need to pursue the careers they want.

Mason’s MBA program is ranked #53 on the “Best Part-time MBA” list by U. S. News & World Report. Dedicated career services staff offers personalized career consulting services to students during the MBA program and alumni after graduation.

Learn about Mason’s MBA program and its Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


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