From lemonade stand to this site and some start-ups I am currently working on, I have been an entrepreneur all of my Life. This has come with tons of rollercoaster worthy ups and downs that have been tumultuous and wrecked my finances numerous times. In the past two months, I have lost over $30,000 due to these hurricanes and storms, which devastated my bank account. I have had to totally rebuild my businesses many, many times and some have even failed. But I have made this saying from Mark Cuban my motto – “You only need to succeed ONCE.” Through everything, the true entrepreneur soldiers on. But we also need to learn from our mistakes.
Right when I am going through this current tough time, the article below landed in my inbox revealing sone of the ways in which I have been setting my own self up for failure. (I am particularly bad at the last one – no more breaks for clients after this!) Thus, I wanted to share this vital message to all my readers with businesses right away.
Thank you Mark Gilbert, your piece is right on time!
Popular Phrases Entrepreneurs Should Never Repeat
by Mark Gilbert
We’ve all heard about the power of positive thinking and why we should push forward positive mantras. But for entrepreneurs, there is an alternative kind of affirmation that should be completely avoided.
Throughout my 20-plus years of working with entrepreneurs and startups, I have seen many businesses fail. And recently, I’ve noticed a trend that seems to occur among the people, who give up on their dreams. Most of these failed entrepreneurs repeat similar phrases just before their businesses go under.
Sometimes when consulting entrepreneurs and young startups, I can almost predict whether they will fail or succeed based on their use of the aforementioned phrases in our conversations. If you’re trying to grow your business, here is a closer look at the damaging phrases you should remove from your vocabulary.
“I combine my personal and business expenses.”
A recent TD Bank survey of small business owners revealed that 56 percent of them use a personal checking account for both business and personal finances, so if you’re in this group, you’re probably not alone.
You can’t combine your personal and businesses expenses when it comes to running a successful business. It will make your bookkeeping complicated come tax time and it will add more stress as you try to figure out which expenses should be deducted and which expenses were personal.
The IRS may require business owners to provide them with all records related to the operation of a business. The supporting business documents required at tax time range from gross receipts, purchases, expenses, assets, employment taxes to travel and transportation costs, entertainment costs and gift expenses. When these documents are combined, it will require a lot of time and effort to separate them and the chances of human error are much higher.
(TGATP Note: In addition, combining your business with your personal accounts makes it far easier to land in financial ruin should your business take a downturn or fail completely. This will make your whole Life a mess as you will not be able to afford your bills and will wreck your credit. Believe me, I know!)
“I’m not good at delegating.”
Learning to delegate is crucial for every aspiring entrepreneur. When entrepreneurs do everything themselves, they are preventing the business from succeeding. Successful business owners should delegate most of their operational and support tasks. Their sole job should be the execution of their vision for the business and performing revenue generating activities.
A challenge for younger entrepreneurs is identifying which tasks to delegate and which work to keep in-house. Generally, a task should be outsourced when it’s not central to generating profits for the company. If a task doesn’t increase a company’s competitive edge or doesn’t require specialized knowledge, farm out the work. It will give you more energy to focus on growing your business. Accounting, payroll, website design and public relations are good examples of tasks that should be outsourced.
“I do my own accounting.”
Another TD Bank survey revealed that more than half of business owners say that accounting is their least favorite part of their work. Nonetheless, the majority of small business owners still opt to do their own accounting to save money. However, in the end, this approach may actually be costing them more money.
Accounting requires a lot of time and effort, and when a business owner utilizes their valuable time towards accounting tasks, they are not making the best use of their time. The opportunity costs of accounting are exponential. The opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen, like focusing on growing and expanding the business. Accounting also can reveal the health of a potential failing business. If the books are in disarray then a business owner can’t properly evaluate the financial health of the business – which is the starting point of financial growth.
“I gave my client (or vendor) a financial break.”
Entrepreneurs typically pride themselves in getting the best deals, but a large number of these entrepreneurs give-in too quickly when it comes to favors because they are afraid of losing a client or vendor. Offering a client (or vendor) a financial break might be a genuine gesture, but it is not good for future business relations. The value of a product or service should reflect the quality of work. And by diminishing the cost, you are effectively telling the client your product or service is inferior. Entrepreneurs must be confident in what they offering, and giving financial breaks implies the opposite. If you continue to give clients a break, they will subconsciously assume your product isn’t worth the money and overtime, they will likely move on.
About the Author
Mark Gilbert founded MBS Accounting Technology & Advisory in 2000 in NYC. With entrepreneurship in his veins, Mark worked at his family’s candy store and luncheonette as a kid and dabbled in every industry from ophthalmology to real estate to printing and beyond. MBSATA is NYC’s largest Bookkeeping & Accounting Technology Firm, offering expert and accurate support to Businesses, Not-for-Profits, and Individuals for over 17 years.