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7 blind spots that might hurt first-time entrepreneurs

Here are the seven blind spots (in no particular order) that might hurt first-time entrepreneurs

#1. Entertainment at the Expense of Education

With the tools we use, their lines blur between entertainment and true engagement. You can brainwash yourself to believe that you are doing one in the name of the other. In either case, you are losing time to educate and keep up with changing times. If you don’t call this out for yourself, you will start slipping on the progress. Sadly, you won’t even feel guilty about the entertainment because it’s all happening in the name of “true engagement with the community.”

#2. Pride at the Expense of Agility

You probably were very good at whatever you were doing before you embarked on your entrepreneurship journey. That’s what has given you the confidence to choose this path. You are right to have pride about your past work. But the moment you cross the bridge to the land of entrepreneurship, you are back to the mode of being a student. Sometimes it is easy to forget this and carry forward with your pride. This generally results in ignoring any kind of evidence that will prove you wrong. If you keep pressing ahead with your flawed ideas because of your pride, the results can’t be that promising.

Nobody gets everything right all the time. Recognizing the need for change and course-correcting quickly is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is the opposite – you need a LOT of strength to admit your mistakes and change for the better.

#3. Consumption at the Expense of Creating Value

As everyone and anyone can become a publisher today, the opportunity to endlessly consume content opens up but you and I know that “knowing is not doing.” Your focus has to disproportionately tilt towards creating value by getting your hands dirty and moving the needle. Everyday has to result in measurable progress towards meaningful goals. Consuming right is an investment in future capacity for yourself but it should never come at the expense of creating value.

#4. Buzz at the Expense of Depth

First, the barrier to entry to participate in any kind of social media is low. Second, the threshold of quality to get “engagement” of any kind is very low. In other words, you can get very “busy” very soon on most social media platforms. It gives you a feeling that you have started creating a “buzz.”

The problem?

This “buzz” is coming at the expense of developing depth in your area of expertise. Depth takes time and if your time is getting robbed in creating the wrong kind of buzz, you have lost a great opportunity.

#5. Speed at the Expense of Substance

The latest buzz is to “ship fast” and get it out of the door. Do it right (get it out to a small number of those in the inner circle) and you will be safe. Do it wrong (release it to make general public your beta testers) and you will pay a heavy price. Remember that people don’t have time to deal with things that are near perfect so things that are “sort of broken” will annoy them to the point that they will not come back when you go to them with a better version of whatever you are creating.

#6. Pivot at the Expense of Persistence

While agility is a strength, you can take it too far to the other end.

Giving up and changing course every time you face an uphill task in your startup journey? There is a convenient name for that — you are pivoting. While true pivots are useful and required, I have seen a lot of entrepreneurs use pivots as a crutch to avoid paying the price that is required to plow ahead. They rob themselves of building the “muscles of persistence.”

Changing your strategy at the first sign of trouble is a surefire way of going around in circles for a long time.

#7. Results at the Expense of Relationships

We talked about this earlier when we talked about what is NOT a good opportunity to pursue. This topic is important enough to worth revisiting.

“Winning at any cost” is a cliche, but one that can turn out to be dangerous, especially when that “cost” is in relation to the relationships that you have already built or the relationships that you are building. When you are at your first startup, there is a real urgency to prove something to others and to yourself. There will be a temptation to take someone for granted. The moment you do that, you have won a prize now for which you will pay a big price later in life. It’s not worth it.

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