10 Deadly Sins Of Highly Ineffective Entrepreneurs

deadly sins of ineffective entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are often one-man shows. If their idea fails, they have only themselves to blame – and that can quite often be their downfall, as the lack of support from a team and the increased pressure to achieve can really play havoc with their drive and focus in the early stages of developing their business. These are 10 ways that you as an entrepreneur can kill your success before it happens.

deadly sins of ineffective entrepreneurs

Deadly Sins Of Highly Ineffective Entrepreneurs


1. Burnout

Many entrepreneurs give everything they have to their burning idea. In fact, as an entrepreneur you have to have that level of commitment to succeed. But you also need to sleep and take time to recharge your mental batteries, otherwise you’ll burnout.

2. Boredom

Entrepreneurs generally started their venture because they had a glorious vision. Now, to make that vision a reality, they have to do lots and lots of boring grunt-work, the very things that they thought having their own business would free them from. Successful entrepreneurs give every message, phone call, piece of paperwork, and project plan the same dedication that they gave to their vision – but you would be surprised how many entrepreneurs give up before they’ve even really started.

3. Failing To Follow-Through

If you promise to send someone a presentation or the answer to a question that was raised in a meeting, get it out to them as soon as you can after the meeting is done. These are the people who will advance your idea, whether by investing in your company, producing your product, or purchasing your product and services. If you don’t follow up, the next person they talk to might be the one they invest in or purchase products and services from.

Vikram Customer Happiness4. Failing To Maintain Contacts

If you already have one person agreeing to support your endeavour, and need to find another, don’t let the first one go. Keep that person engaged with your efforts, so that when you get the second person to commit to your vision, the first is just as committed.

5. Ignoring Add-Ons

Your initial idea as an entrepreneur may be brilliant, but there is always another market it can be applied to, or a similar product that it can be expanded to, which will increase your eventual profitability for very little additional cost. You may even find one of these add-ons makes a better first product so don’t be egotistical with your concept and assume that you have got it 100% perfect first time. Always be prepared to improve and change to stay on top.

6. Laziness

It doesn’t take much effort to type up your notes after a conference call and file them in an orderly fashion, or to regularly backup your computer. Ineffective entrepreneurs let these simple tasks build up until they are daunting, and then waste huge amounts of time trying to find or recreate something important.

7. Failing To Understand Strengths & Weaknesses

We are all different, and what comes easily for one is a struggle for another. To be an effective entrepreneur, you need to focus your time and attention on what you – personally – do best, and outsource other work or get a partner who can do the things at which you do not excel.

8. Failing To Plan

There are many different methods of organising your day and prioritising your tasks. It doesn’t matter which you use, only that you use one of them. Otherwise, when the day is done, you’ll find that you haven’t accomplished all of the things you needed to.

9. Lack Of Commitment

An effective entrepreneur cannot launch multiple new business ventures at the same time. You need to be able to devote your time and energy to a single new venture. You can have many potential projects, but as soon as one starts to take off, you must devote yourselves to giving that one every chance of success.

10. Distraction

Entrepreneurs are dreamers. They all saw a situation or product that didn’t exist, and asked, “Why not?” However, to be an effective entrepreneur, you must stick with a single dream and see it through first, rather than being distracted by other ideas. Other ideas can be developed at a later stage. An entrepreneur will always have more ideas.

So, as an entrepreneur are you committing any one of these 10 deadly sins? If so, you need to stop, assess the situation and work out what you need to do to overcome these hurdles before they become a real problem for you and your future business.

As a serial entrepreneur, I myself have fallen foul of a number of these sins throughout my career and the best advice I can give any budding business professional who wants to start their own company is to be open to your mistakes, accept that they will happen but know that you can overcome them and that you can make a success of your ideas if you have the drive and determination to see them through.

Any more deadly sins you’re aware of? Add to the list by commenting below.

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  • Enthusiast

    Yes, a timely post…
    An important component in driving the country forward is innovation and entrepreneurial activity…
    People need to understand that working for oneself can mean long hours and little pay…
    It takes guts and determination…
    Good luck to all those who dare to try…!!

  • This is an excellent post! I can relate to more than a few :/

    #8 – Fail to plan was a big one for me. More so the day to day planning. It is very hard to develop a structure and that i why I ave to write everything down in an Excel sheet. I cannot do it on the P, it has to be something I look at often (on my desk).

    #10 – Distraction. We all have a bit of ADD in us and it does make it very difficult to focus. You have to develop a plan (#8) and stick with it! Make adjustments along the way, but stick with a plan for at least 3 months.

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  • I think commitment is a majorly underrated element of most business people. Sure, some business people struggle to keep on top of things in the early stages of business and some may even be negativity impacted by this, but the point is to persist and carry on as this can ultimately lead to something great! Is there a simple strategy to increase the level of commitment I wonder?

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  • Lirone Glikman

    Hi Sean great article!
    Thanks for pointing out these focused and good points.

    I strongly agree with no 4. Failing to maintain contacts. As a believer in the power of networking, relationship maintenance is key to build trust and friendship that lead to business.

    I like no 10. Distraction. Our goal should be in front of us at all times as it’s so easy to get distracted and realize at some point that you are off the road..that’s a great one!

    Thanks for useful insights and beautifully written article.

  • Mike Peters

    Good points and a great post.
    Out of all of your numbered points which would you say is the highest priority?

    • Hi Mike,

      I’d say Number 8 ranks pretty highly on the sin scale because failing to plan is planning to fail – as the old saying goes! If you don’t have a clear idea of where you want your business to go and how you want it to develop then you are sure to end up either running out of energy for the project or completely going off track and getting side-tracked with menial tasks – rather than focusing on your overall goal.

  • Lisa Webb

    Great set of points Sean. The 2 most standout points for me would be Burnout and Laziness. As they are both extremes, working to the point of being burnout or laziness where you can’t accomplish anything, would certainly lead to an ineffective entrepreneur. I wonder if the right targets were set, would entrepreneurs actually get to this point?

    • Hi Lisa,

      You would hope not, but unfortunately I have met a few people who have had a brilliant idea and thrown themselves into it 100%, only to exhaust themselves before they can complete it or found themselves so overwhelmed with the workload they have created for themselves that they’ve actually started looking for other things to do (sometimes anything else to do) just so that they don’t have to work on their business!

      Again, being prepared and making sure you map out your plans carefully can go a long way to overcoming burnout and laziness. It helps keep your focus and helps drive you on when you start to feel the pressure of running your own business.

      • Lisa Webb

        Great point Sean. Hopefully entrepreneurs know not to work ‘in’ their business but to work ‘on’ their business 🙂 burnout can be disastrous.

  • Hello and thank you Sean. As the newest contributor to Business Banter, I would like to welcome you to our community. One point I’d like to add to your list above is Work/Life Balance. I think it’s so important that this is leveraged correctly in order to achieve optimum results. So, the sin… failing to create a work/life balance.

  • neil giller

    A fabulous and honest insight into what you should be doing compared to what you shouldn’t in your business. I loved your strengths & weaknesses paragraph and agree that you should do more of what you’re good at, compared to doing more of what you’re not good at. By doing this, your business should flourish, the only thing you need to do is make sure what you’re not doing is being done by someone who can… Thank you for your words of wisdom Sean, I look forward to hearing more real soon 🙂