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Ten Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Business Mistakes and the Lessons Behind Them

There's perhaps no skill an entrepreneur needs in today's unpredictable world than the ability to analyze their mistakes and adapt to avoid them. These ten gritty practitioners share not only their biggest missteps but also the important lessons they learned the hard way.

Courtesy of Stankevicius MGM

Recruit Like Your Life Depends On It

"One of the biggest lessons I learned, was being able to choose the right people for your team. An "A" player – can outperform an average employee by 10x. While an average or sub-par employee can have an anchor effect on your organization, sinking it and making it harder to move forward." - George Karonis, CEO of LiveViewGPS

Prioritize Experimentation Over Perfection

"We've definitely been through a lot of ups and downs since we've launched the project called Ucraft. But the mistake that comes to my mind occurred when we were designing the first prototypes of our app. We had spent a lot of time with the design team, trying to figure out the best ways of implementing different functionalities across the app, which surely took us a lot of time, energy and money. Later as we launched the app, the real users came and tried it. They gave us their valuable feedback, which made us change and redesign our interfaces a great deal. We could have avoided so many sleepless nights and efforts back then by putting it together one step at a time. So, my recommendation is to spend less time on designing the visual parts, versus adopting and developing the widely used layouts and interfaces on your app, pushing it to your early adopters and getting their feedback to perfect your app." - Gev Balyan, Founder & CEO of UCraft

Let The Project Determine The Timeline

"One of my biggest mistakes was to rush things because of self-imposed deadlines. Everything rushed tends to fail. The lesson learned is that projects and products have a natural time to get done and trying to push them along just creates tension and unhealthy atmosphere. Recognizing that deadlines are simply dates and building something with heart is usually what gets the job done. In its own time." - Victor Penev, CEO of Edamam

Cutting Edge Tools Are A Necessity, Not A Luxury

"In today's rapidly evolving market environment, it's important for any retailer to equip themselves with up-to-date technologies that reduce time-consuming and error-prone manual work. With increasing order volume and sophisticated fraudulent activities, retailers must focus on digital solutions that marry the efficiency of automations and their personal business insights. Our mistake was slow adoption of automated order processing. What used to take hours for more than three people to process now only takes one person less than thirty minutes. We used our insights to develop customized and efficient automations, and it has paid off better than expected." - Kevin Chen, Founder and President of BERRICLE

Personal Empathy Can Make All The Difference

"As a bankruptcy attorney, the most important thing I've learned to bring to the table is compassion. I decided to become a lawyer to help people and their businesses. They come to me in their darkest hour, when they are facing potential financial ruin. Sometimes they are in situations they cannot control, something devastating happened to them or their business. Other times, they simply made bad decisions that led to financial hardship. Either way, it is my job - and my passion - to find a solution that will change their financial course. Listening to my clients with a compassionate ear makes my job easier and allows my clients to have faith in me. It makes me want to find that perfect solution and help them get their financial lives back on track. As an employer, I make sure that everyone I hire feels that same compassion and desire to set things right. No matter what industry you're in, listening to your clients and putting their needs first is the only way to have a successful business." - Chad Van Horn, Founding Partner of Van Horn Law Group

Culture Can Never Take A Backseat

"I used to have the mindset work first, culture second. Over time I've realized that if you create a great, fun culture you will also attract great employees. Seeing our employees come to work happy and motivated every day has really helped our company grow internally and externally." - Mark Kushinsky, CEO & Co-Founder of MaidPro Franchise

Personal Referrals Are No Substitute For Homework

"My biggest mistake as an entrepreneur was hiring someone on a referral without properly vetting the person. So instead of doing a thorough interview process and a small trial as I normally did, I abbreviated the hiring process because the person was highly recommended by an existing employee. In the end the person was a bad match and only lasted a few months. I learned that every hire must be meticulously vetted to be sure that it is the right person and a good match." - Joseph A. Mandour, Founder of Mandour & Associates

Creating Value Starts With Valuing Yourself

"I let my company become my identity. We tend to measure ourselves by our accomplishments: After losing my job and company to equity investors, I didn't know where to turn. To reinvent myself and find happiness within, I had to realize that my skills and experiences are invaluable and more important than any of my accomplishments." - Stephen Terrell, President of Golden Opportunity Network

The Complacent Expire While The Paranoid Survive

"The inherent challenge for any digital company is in the rapidly changing demands of the market. We saw a glaring need for modern HR tools and designed tools to fit that niche, for now. As needs change and the HR landscape evolves, it's up to us to recognize new realities and respond. If we miss that moment, other companies will rush to fill the void. Satisfaction is the biggest mistake many software developers make. While you take the time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, you lose your edge. In the digital marketplace, you can never stop improving." - Dr. Amrinder Arora, CEO of BizMerlin

Always Consider New Opportunities

"One of the biggest mistakes Tinsli made is mistaking necessary risks for avoidable risks. For decades, companies dominated by cornering a market and then avoiding any speculative changes that might disrupt their comfortable earnings. Today, however, companies need to try new ideas not just to grow but to survive. If they don't experiment and challenge what works for them today, a start-up in a garage in some corner of the world will replace them as quickly as Amazon's replacing Walmart and Tesla's replacing Ford." - Zain Dhanani, CEO of Tinsli

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