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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Signs You're Standing In Your Own Way to Success

By Stephen Key, Sep. 12, 2013
While a lot of the entrepreneurs I've met and mentored in the past decade have been successful, I've probably met as many, if not more, unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Each of them seemed to make a lot of the same mistakes -- ones that could be easily remedied, but when left unaddressed, could mean the difference between success and failure.
Here are five signs you're getting in your own way to success and how to move over and let yourself be the best you can be:
1. You're unable to complete a task before starting a new one.
Some entrepreneurs just cannot finish. For whatever reason, it doesn't matter how much time they have or how many resources are available to them -- they can't focus and get something done. Maybe it's the fear that their final product could be better, or they're worried it isn't perfect and they won't be able to make changes later.
But Seth Godin got it right in his book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? when he wrote: "The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship." If you miss deadlines and are always late, in the end, you'll have little to show for yourself.
I always say, if it's 80 percent there, it's good enough. Because: you must ship.
2. You micro-manage everything.
Unsuccessful entrepreneurs want to do everything themselves. They don't believe anyone else can get a job done as well as they can. But even if they were actually right about this -- which is doubtful since no one is good at everything -- it's an unsustainable business philosophy.
If you want to grow your business and become a leader, you're going to have to learn to trust others. Everyone needs a support team -- even the most competent people.
3. You're always right.
I've noticed that it's difficult for some entrepreneurs to admit when they've made a mistake. But if you fail to acknowledge a mistake, you miss out on a learning opportunity. Mistakes are stepping stones to success.

Ask for advice and admit when you're wrong, so you can quickly move forward and do better.
4. You ask questions, but don't really pay attention to the answers.
You know the type of person I'm talking about. They ask for your opinion, but they're only really interested in what you have to say if it's exactly what they already believe. That baffles me. These kinds of entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who will only ever agree with them. That's bad for business. You'll make better decisions if you abandon your stubbornness, truly weigh different points of view and try to understand other perspectives.
5. You always find reasons not to move forward.
The timing isn't right. The economy isn't doing well. You don't have enough capital. Whatever the excuse, you always have one. But guess what? There will always be reasons to not move forward! You just have to decide to press on. Create options for yourself, be flexible and have courage. That's really what it is: having the courage to take on risk.
As entrepreneurs, we all make mistakes. That's part of the fun of being willing to take risks. But over the years I've learned that the more humble and receptive you are, the more likely you'll succeed.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Stephen Key is an inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC, a Glenbrook, Nev.-based company that educates entrepreneurs in how to bring ideas to market.

4 Lessons in Success From Millionaire Entrepreneurs

By Lindsay Lavine, Oct. 23, 2013
How great would it be to be a fly on the wall as some of the biggest companies are developed? Or to hear about the challenges entrepreneurs have faced on the road to their first million? Last week at the third annual Chicago Ideas Week, a group of successful entrepreneurs opened up about how they created their companies, shared the successes and struggles faced along the way, and the lessons learned from the experience. Here are their pearls of wisdom:
1. Accept failure as part of the journey.
"The great ones treat failure as a necessary part of their journey. It's not win or lose. It's always win or learn," says Eric Lefkofsky, CEO of Groupon. Lefkofsky shared several anecdotes of past ventures that failed, including Brandon Apparel Group and Starbelly, which he says led him to the brink of bankruptcy in 2001. That year, he started InnerWorkings, a print procurement company that was a success. Lefkofsky insists there was no magic to what worked and what didn't. He kept working and trying new things until eventually he developed InnerWorkings and things clicked.
2. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.
For the founder of Honest Tea, inspiration came at the grocery store. Dr. Barry Nalebuff, a professor at Yale School of Management, was just looking for a good glass of tea. While there were dozens of beverage options already in the marketplace, Nalebuff found water was boring, soda to be liquid candy, and diet drinks dangerous.
He applied economic theory to the beverage market, and found that the best product should be less sweet: Less calories for the customer, less cost for the manufacturer. Nalebuff knew tea was the world's cheapest luxury good, and teamed up with a former student, Seth Goldman, to create Honest Tea in 26 days back in 1998 (they sold Honest Tea to Coca-Cola in 2011). Nalebuff calls it the "Princess and the Pea" theory, after the children's tale: "If something out there's annoying you, that's an opportunity," Nalebuff says.
3. When opportunity knocks, be ready for it.
After Honest Tea launched, Nalebuff was at a yoga retreat and noticed Oprah Winfrey on a nearby mat. Because he always carried samples with him everywhere he went, Nalebuff offered Winfrey a drink, and Honest Tea was subsequently featured in her magazine. "When opportunity strikes, you have to be prepared for it," Nalebuff says.

4. There's no set path to success.
"There's no set path to success, there are many ways to get there." says Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans and a principal of Detroit Venture Partners, an organization that funds start-ups and is leading revitalization efforts in Detroit. Gilbert says he's most proud of creating an environment that lets his employees sell and listen to customers. Both he and Quicken Loans' CEO answer complaint calls. When asked what drives him, Gilbert says, "I like to build. Most entrepreneurs at their core like to build."

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Cathy Harris is an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Self-Publishing and Business Coach.