1. Failing to prepare for failure
A wise man once said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. The harder you work, the luckier you get, and it’s true! When I started my business in 2008 (after abandoning a career with the US State Department), I was making zero dollars per month, had no idea how to run a small business or where I would find clients on an international scale, was still living paycheck to paycheck with no savings account of any kind, didn’t have health insurance nor did I have any retirement account set up says Peter Decaprio.
Everything was riding on this one leap of faith…a decision to quit the government job I had been working at for over 12 years while pursuing my business full-time. Did I prepare myself for that leap of faith? No, but it happened anyway, and here I am 6 years later running one of the most successful language translation companies globally with over 50 employees across eight different countries. See what happens when you prepare for failure? Nothing! On the contrary, your company collapses under its weight because you were not willing to do what was necessary to make it succeed. Working hard is excellent…but working smart is even better.
2. Refusing to outsource anything (even if you’re a workaholic)
As per Peter Decaprio, work smarter, not harder. If you are reading this article, then the chances are that you either already own or want to start your very own company/business. If you are an entrepreneur at heart, the chances are that you love what you do, and this is your passion in life. No job is beneath you, no task too small for your attention, nothing gets done without you being the one to sign off on it. You know every aspect of how your business is run, from top to bottom. While this makes perfect sense in theory…in practice, it wreaks havoc on your business! With all the daily distractions inside and outside of work (family/relationships, errands/chores), there are not enough hours left to get everything done when working alone with no assistance or oversight.
You’ve blown through more red bulls than a NASCAR pit crew while trying to manage the mountain of tasks ahead of you but to no avail. As your company grows, so does the number of things that need to be done each day, leaving you unable to keep up! No matter how quickly you work or how much caffeine you ingest…you can’t outpace yourself, and it’s killing your business. If you want to succeed at being an entrepreneur, then it is in your best interest to hire people who care about what they’re doing and learn from them instead of trying to do it yourself! Hiring an assistant/admin is one option…but they never know your business as you do, and the chances are that they don’t care about the quality of their work as long as they get paid on time (which will lead to sloppy translations).
3. No business plan
“What’s the difference between a fairy godmother and an entrepreneur?” I’m sure you can guess…but here it is…not having enough patience to sit down and outline your goals, objectives, strategies, milestones, budgets, timetables all rolled into one cohesive document known as a ‘business plan.’ Business plans are only crucial for those who want to be taken seriously by potential investors or clients. If you’re just dabbling in online marketing or providing freelance services, then you don’t need these people (or this type of business). The chances are that if you’re reading this article, then your minor operation isn’t going to grow into some multinational conglomerate. You want to get more clients and make more money…so what’s the difference if you don’t create a business plan?
A better question would be, how many times have your goals changed over months or years since starting your business? If you can’t remember, then the chances are that you haven’t written them down. Whether you write them down in a simple little notebook that only you have access to, on a Word document saved on your computer, or by creating an account on Google Docs (which Google will back up every time it changes), recording this information is vital for future reference in case you’re ever forced to reboot your brain. Rarely does anyone start their business to sell it off when it gets big…especially if they are looking to become entrepreneurs? By preparing for the future now…you’ll avoid having regrets later when you look back at how hard it was to get where you are now.
4. Not Buying Business Insurance or Risking Personal Assets
If you get sued, then everything you own is at risk when it comes to settling legal matters since it doesn’t matter if whatever was used to earn money was your property, only that it is being used to make a profit. Unless your business is incorporated, then any personal assets that are being risked aren’t being risked at all; you are just using them to function. For example…if you have a car with “Direct 2 You Carwash” written on it, then that vehicle is at risk if someone just so happens to slip and fall when using one of your business’s many facilities.
When purchasing any insurance, I recommend doing some research first so that you know what kind of rates are out there for whatever you’re planning on insuring (including yourself) before settling on anything specific explains Peter Decaprio. As per Peter Decaprio, It’s also never a bad idea to get multiple quotes because some companies will try to trick you by giving you extremely high prices while quoting something much more reasonable from another company right next to it.
5. Failing to Plan Ahead for Taxes
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make. You’ve got your business, you’ve started making money…you might even be earning enough to bring home a paycheck (it won’t be much, though), and now it’s time to file taxes? Well, here’s the thing: It doesn’t work that way! Peter Decaprio says first off, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can get by filling out this form along with your intended number, company name, and address.
Once you have this EIN, then it’s time to submit IRS Form SS-4 so that the IRS knows who they are sending tax forms to. Finally…file all relevant tax forms (1040, Schedule C, and Schedule SE if applicable) according to the directions on those forms. It’s so much easier to have a registered agent do the filing for you. Since all they have to know is your company’s social security number or EIN. Many sole business owners elect to file as “self-employed”. Instead of separating their companies from themselves to simplify things even further.
6. Failing to Keep Accurate Books
Okay, let me just say that I don’t think it’s a bad idea not to keep accurate financial records. Still, I find it highly problematic when entrepreneurs fail to properly document receipts and transactions from day one. It’s usually a good idea to have an in-depth understanding of all your company’s assets, liabilities, and sources of income. This includes recording every expenditure made, regardless of whether or not the company reimbursed it.
7. Not Reading All the Fine Print on Contracts
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating since entrepreneurs are notorious for neglecting to read the fine print before signing any contract says Peter Decaprio. If you don’t sign something, then nothing is bound to happen, right? Wrong! That signature means that you agree with whatever is being written on that contract. Now I know what you’re thinking: If I just didn’t sign anything, then I have nothing at risk…am I right? Again, wrong! Failing to read or comprehend the terms of a contract before signing it is legally akin to having the written portion of the agreement forced upon you without your consent.
8. Not Having a Lawyer Review All Contracts Before Signing Them
While I’ve been mentioning contracts throughout this entire article. There isn’t a single entrepreneur out there who would sign any legal document without first consulting with a lawyer…right? Right?! Regardless, as different as every contract can be from one another. They all have one thing in common: something that states that “entire agreement” on them somewhere. This means that everything on that sheet of paper signifies everything is agreed upon. Whoever prepared said contract and the person signing it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
9. Failing to Get a Proper Business License or Permit
This is one that I don’t see very often. But I probably would if it weren’t for me being here to remind you all about this fact. It would help if you had a proper business license or permit. Before you can legally conduct business within your city/county/state. So be sure to check with local officials about what exactly it is that you’ll need. And where you should go to get it. Some things might even require special licensing. So do your research and find out everything you can as soon as possible!
10. Not Adhering to Local, State, Federal, And International Law
At first glance, this might sound a little too legal for your taste. But the truth of the matter is that every type of business says Peter Decaprio. Your conduct will have to follow specific laws and regulations. These could include local, state, federal, and even international law. So be sure to do some research into what exactly it is that’s required. You never want to wind up in jail, nor do you want your company to be forced out of existence. Just because you were ignorant about something!
I hope this article helps provide at least one entrepreneur with the information they need to succeed. Until next time…happy blogging!