Deadly Sins

Sloth, greed, gluttony-we don't care what you do on your own time. But when it comes to the mortality of your start-up, you need to play by the rules.

There is really only one experience to rival that of starting your own business venture, and that's witnessing the birth of your child. Because I've done both, I find comparisons of certain parallels inevitable. For instance, you experience many of the same emotions: exhilaration, anxiety, joy, panic . . . and confusion.

Over the past 20 years, I've advised and counseled many business owners, particularly those in the start-up and high-growth early phases. All that experience has allowed me to recognize some patterns that successful-and unsuccessful-businesses exhibit.

Yes, the paradigms of several business models have changed in the past 10 years as a result of the dramatic influence of the Internet. But now that the Net has demonstrated its power to accelerate failure as well as success, the following seven deadly sins are more relevant than ever.

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This article was originally published in the August 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Deadly Sins.

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