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10 common startup mistakes: #6 startup mode = winging it

February 19, 2018 by Lee Erickson
The sixth installment of a 10 post series on common startup mistakes. Mistake 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Smart startups don’t just wing it.

While there is certainly a good amount of improvisation when it comes to startup life, it is a common myth that you can just wing it and be successful. This goes hand-in-hand with the misconception that entrepreneurs are all out risk takers.

I’ve actually found that smart entrepreneurs do everything they can to reduce risk. They make informed decisions vs. just winging it. They are, however, more comfortable with acting on limited information. Granted that does create risk, but it’s calculated risk.


  A goal without a plan is just a wish?
~ Raymond Huan


It’s not about luck, it’s about reducing risk.

Figure out what you suck at, then go get help.

There’s so much to learn as a 1st time entrepreneur; many often feel overwhelmed. One way to tackle the list of things you need to know is dedicating time every week to connect with at least 1 person who can help you advance your business or provide guidance on how you might overcome an obstacle.

This doesn’t mean that you ask them what you should do, nor does it mean that you go “all in” with their playbook. Instead, it means that you use experienced entrepreneurs as sounding boards. You learn from their mistakes and successes and then apply what you’ve learned to your specific venture.

Experienced entrepreneurs love to help young ones just starting out. This is especially true for student entrepreneurs. So, find experts and ask for advice. You’ll be surprised how helpful they can be.

Read. Read. Read.

Successful entrepreneurs are veracious learners. There are a ton of amazing resources at the tip of your figures today. When you’re stuck, or thinking you should just wing it, go look it up. Google is your friend.

I’m not suggesting that you spend your entire life with your head in a book or staring at a computer screen. I am, however, suggesting that you spend some time getting smart fast by doing a little research so you can make a more informed decision.

Dedicate time.

When I hear someone say, “I’m too busy to find experts or read a book,” what I hear is, “I’m really not that interested in advancing my business.”

If you’re struggling to carve out time to learn fast, then maybe this isn’t a great time for you to start a business. You need to be honest with yourself.

Typically, I find that entrepreneurs that are passionate about what they are doing, always manage to find the time.

It can help to be purposeful about what you do with your valuable time. Blocking off a specific time each week on your calendar to read blogs, connect with advisors, or spend time locating resources is a simple way start allocating the time you need on a regular basis. The challenge is sticking to the schedule.

Resources to check out:

There are a ton of tools, best practices, and processes that entrepreneurs can leverage to systematically de-risk and accelerate their businesses. Of course, no one set of tools will guarantee success, but here are some to check out:

COMING UP: MISTAKE #7…Launch = a perfect solution

Looking for $10K to jump start your venture? The Summer Founders Program may be a great opportunity.