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10 Ways that Entrepreneurs Reveal they are Amateurs

February 14th, 2009 · 12 Comments

UPDATE:   2/14/08

I want to address the original title: Why 99% of Entrepreneurs Fail…more thoughts .  Don’t think the number is that high.  99% of entrepreneurs don’t fail.  99% of those that don’t learn how to shake their amateurism fail.

I posted this as a question on linkedin via the Q&A section and received great responses.   Posting them as comments below.   Jessica and I (met via twitter of all places) are doing a radio show on this topic Friday Feb 20th at www.blogtalkradio.com/karen-rands tune in at noon est or call in with your comment or question (347) 945-6873  Replays will be available at www.kugarand.podomatic.com

Radio Show topic is The 10 Ways Entrepreneurs Reveal They Are Amateurs.   Look at the comments on this blog and you’ll see even more observations on how entrepreneurs act like amateurs.

Original Post from 1/22/09

Why 99% of Entrepreneurs Fail…More Thoughts

Jessica Mah wrote an inspiring and humorous blog entry about Why 99% of the Entrepreneurs Fail.   Given that I talk to an average of 5-10 inspired entrepreneurs each day that are seeking capital to get their business off the ground or to the next level and take time to understand their potential so we can actually help them, I encounter entrepreneurs that fall into the three categories she references:

Type 1 Amateur Entrepreneur: All ideas, no implementation.
Type 2 Amateur Entrepreneur: Lots of ideas and half assed implementations.
Type 3 Amateur Entrepreneur: Lots of ideas, lots of implementations, and absolutely no focus.
I’d venture to say there is a 3rd type though:

Type 4 Amateur Entrepreneur: Lots of Ideas and Doesn’t know what he Doesn’t know.

This is the gut that has a multi million dollar idea, has developed it and it clearly works, but has no idea how to build an organization to actually execute.   This is the classic scenario of an A product with a B management team.   The not know what he doesn’t know part comes when he thinks he can execute and build the $50M or $100M business and refuses to take advise from even the potential investor that they need to find a CEO.   Their ego (and fear) gets in the way of actually bringing a product to market that can change the way things are done and create jobs and create wealth.

In many ways I’m an amateur entrepreneur.  I’ve worked my way from Type 1 when I was in college and first started in the work world, to Type 2 when I moonlighted at IBM on the African – Internet, Wireless, Consulting, change the world business.   And finally spent the last few years in the purgatory of Type 3.   It in only by setting Goals, putting a plan in place that I saw how I was in a never ending loop and had to pull all those stallions into one forward motion chariot.   With the launch of OurFundingPlanet.com I may finally get to move beyond “amateur”.   But I know what I don’t know and I know I need to bring the best and the brightest in to make it happen.   Much better to be a Rich Founder than a Poor CEO.

Jessica closed with this, I will as well because it sums it all up: “To the blogger who wrote the quote above: when you make the time and find the resources needed to make your idea a reality, you’ll experience the bliss of knowing that you’ve contributed to something amazing.”

Listen to the podcast now!

10 Ways that Entrepreneurs Reveal they are Amateurs

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Tags: Entrepreneur Biz-Buzz · In The News · Just Ask Karen!

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Godfrey Room // Jan 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Just a few more to throw into the hat and arm the unwary!

    Type 5 Amateur Entrepreneur: Boundless confidence and enthusiasm – no follow-up.
    Type 6 Amateur Entrpreneur: Incurable optimist – no awareness of Risk
    Type 7 Amateur Entrepreneur: Drives a second-hand sportscar – has forgotten his/her Black Amex when the bill for lunch arrives.
    =- or am I being uncharitable?

    Prosperous networking to all!


  • 2 Randy Ellison // Jan 22, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Great post. Having just started out on my own, I’m assessing what I’m doing right now and making some changes. This post helped me get my head around a few things.

    In short, I think there is a tendency to try and find the lowest cost solution or not spend the cash required to get the job done. This misallocates time, bogs down progress, and leads to being all ideas and no implementation. It is true that nothing happens in a vacuum and involving and partnering with others and making the necessary investments is the only way to make a new venture successful.

  • 3 Gregory Y // Jan 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    There are a few ideas on the nature of the “homo entrepreneurius” around, along with assessment of their success probabilities, based on their type. Here is my 2 cents – most entrepreneurs start companies because they (we) are unemployable otherwise. Either we are too strange to fit in a “normal” corporate environment, or too driven to put up with. Perhaps there is a key to understanding why we don’t succeed in growing our start up companies into “adult” corporations – most of entrepreneurs are change jockeys, masterful execution requires consistency.

  • 4 Michael Van Horn // Feb 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Ouch! These are getting too close to home! Who among us has not done a few of these? Good answers, everybody!
    Karen, you should create a little checklist to hand to the entrepreneurs who come to you for money links.
    By Mike Van Horn via linkedin

  • 5 James Brewer // Feb 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Type 5: Amateur Entrepreneur: Bad-mouthing what others have done without having done anything of their own.
    According to Dr. James Brewer as posted on Linkedin

  • 6 Nitin Kumar // Feb 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Type 6: Inability to quickly admit his mistake, learn from it change direction.
    Type 7 : High creativity and innovation; no business knowledge,acumen management skills and network.
    Type 8:High business knowledge,acumen,management skills and network but no abillity to innovate and differentiate.
    Type 9 : High task orientation; low people skills
    Type 10: High people skills and low ability to execute
    According to Nitin Kumar
    Leader, Strategist & Management Consultant
    on Linkedin

  • 7 Michael MaKenna // Feb 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Type 4(a) or possibly Type 6(a): Persists on promoting the same idea for years despite having generated no interest.
    According to Robert Geurden
    Partner at Brier & Geurden LLP

    Type X- Amateur Entrepreneur: Great ideas, Wonderfully developed, Amazing and fully complete product, great team of people, already funded, top notch marketing guy, plenty of customer interest, but inside the team and behind closed doors- lots of interpersonal drama between co-founders.
    According to Michael MacKenna
    Semiconductors Consultant and Contractor

    All from linkedin question posed in January

  • 8 Wendy Tefft // Feb 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thinks that superior technology/product/idea/service will win simply because it is superior, and refuses to do PR, advertising, or other marketing. Yet, still wants “to be the Nike of our category.”
    According to Bruce Schneider
    Marketing Strategist

    Needs to work on their handshake.
    Doesn’t have a business card.
    Wendy Tefft
    Owner, Spotlight Design & Photography

    Hires an expert and then doesn’t listen …. [grin]
    Victoria Duff
    Founder of http://www.aBusinessPlan.com, start-up facilitator, strategist, venture finance catalyst, IR advisor, interim CEO.

    From Linkedin Q&A

  • 9 Ann Clifford // Feb 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Type 5: Amateur Entrepreneur: Thinks their business won’t be affected by a recession . . . until they experience their first recession. Makes cut costs too late!
    According to Ann Clifford
    Founder and President of Safari Solutions, an HR consulting firm helping companies hire better.
    via Linked Q&A

  • 10 Brian Javeline of MyOnlineToolbox // Feb 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Type 11: Is so focused on the presentation of their great business model that they forget to ask questions and ask for opinions to fine tune the direction.
    Type 12: If they ask, they forget to actually listen to the answer!

  • 11 Mr.Carrot35 // Oct 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    The ability to bounce back from hard times or to deal with problems when they come is a big part of good mental health and strong spirit to succeed.

  • 12 Arnold V. // Dec 22, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

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