I often come across what I can only describe as #entrepreneurfail! When you are starting a business you’re sure to make a few mistakes along the way, it’s the only way you will learn. However, there are a few too many common mistakes that fall straight into the #fail box. Collectively I label these Entrepreneur Fail. I’ve listed the most common symptoms someone could be suffering from EF, but don’t worry I’ve also provided helpful ways to get over the condition.

“I want to be an entrepreneur” = #entrepreneurfail

Why oh why oh why? I think a lot of people have been misled and given the impression that running a business is the easy way out, the glamorous ‘career’ choice. HELL to the NO. Taking the risk of starting a business is the hard way, the gamble, almost like the last throw of the dice. But having the ambition to be ‘an entrepreneur’ alone is very vague, it’s like saying I want to be an athlete, what discipline are you going to perfect

Remedy – Be clear on what skills you have or opportunities you can exploit. If you haven’t got a passion for something or a clear ‘idea’ just wanting to be an entrepreneur isn’t going to make it. You’re better off taking up a hobby on the weekend whilst working a 9-5 – it will save you a lot of stress.

You can only be contacted at = #entrepreneurfail

You are approaching organisations representing your business, you’ve sent them a proposal that you think they will be interested in but DOH your contact address is myname@gmail,hotmail,yahoo, or worse There is nothing that says tiny operation like an unprofessional email or free email service.

Remedy: At the very least get some email-hosting from a service like 123 reg. This is a very simple way of looking professional. If you haven’t got a professional looking email address then be careful the type of organisation  should probably be more on a personal nature to build a relationship or conduct research, rather than to make a sale.

You introduce yourself or refer to yourself as an ‘entrepreneur’ = #entrepreneurfail

Lord Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson believe that an ‘entrepreneur’ is something that somebody calls you. It’s sounds a little arrogant if you introduce yourself as an entrepreneur especially if you have nothing significant to back it up with. In my opinion an entrepreneur is somebody that has a proven track record, setting up and running numerous ventures. If you have one business that is not making sales let alone profit you definitely are not an entrepreneur!

Remedy: Explain what it is you actually you do i.e. I have a fashion business selling …., I am a football agent,  I am an artist, I am a fashion designer. The generic term entrepreneur has little meaning as an ambition or definition of what you do.

You’ve written a 40 page business plan and think the next stage is to raise investment #entrepreneurfail

You spend some time researching an idea and more time writing down what you have researched and you create a 40 page business plan. If you scroll through to page 33 it predicts a £1m  profit in year 5. Now all you need is £45,000  to get your idea off the ground (or off the pieces of paper)…. UH OH. This only plan you have so far is a plan to fail. I think you are limiting your chances of success if you haven’t given your business idea a test run.

Remedy: Before writing a comprehensive business plan make contact with your potential customer, create a prototype or minimum viable product and test

My revenue stream will be the money I make from advertising on my website #entrepreneurfail

With the Internet boom it seemed that every ‘entrepreneur’ was going to become a Web tycoon. They were going to set up a fashion blog or a starting a business blog and simply be able to retire on the money they were making from advertising. OH DEAR. You need probably 50k unique visitors a month to even start thinking about advertising, then there’s considerations like bounce rate, time spent on your site, relevance to target advertiser.

Remedy: Your website is like a channel on a television with over 644million channels to choose from. Advertising should be one of many revenue streams and certainly shouldn’t be your only/main one.  When thinking of a website be creative about the ways of generating money.

What do you think, have you experienced any of the above, or have I missed out any common traits of the not quite-entrepreneur. Leave your comments below.


  1. dongrgic

    Great advice. It really is funny watching people who can’t spell entrepreneur pretending they know what is involved in running a successful business.

    • dwainreid

      Damn, I forgot that one! Not even knowing how to spell entrepreneur #entrepreneurfail. The real pleasure though is helping them get onto the straight and narrow – which is why I love what I do. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Darren (@BeepTreatDaz)

    Great blog Dwain. Such straight forward advice. Someone once said to me when I questioned how much they value my input… “Well all you have done is suggested we alter our process slightly and account manage better”

    I have parted company with these people now, however bring it up as although the advice was simple – the effects of getting it wrong were catastrophic ! or an #entrepreneurfail. :)…..

    Which is what I like about this blog…. Simple advice, buy a domain name.. Not earth shattering or ground breaking advice, however bloody good advice, especially if it is costing them lost business opportunities.

    • dwainreid

      Thanks for your comment Darren, like you say it’s the simple advice at the beginning that becomes significant and invaluable. Another example – I come across so many people who have given away more equity than they needed to just because someone could build a website. Doh.

  3. Jayesh Hirani (@jayeshhirani)

    Good morning Dwain – Very interesting read and certainly agree with probably most of your comments. However, want to make a few of the comments and mistakes I’ve seen with people claiming they are Entrepreneurs.

    1. First of all they “fail to follow up” once they have been given advice/introduced to anyone – When I introduce I always wants to know if my introduction/advice helped them then pass that barrier but these days literally MOST don’t ever follow up. I’ve even had cases where once they need more help they come back after 18 months with no follow up in between! My experiences I’ve always followed up and had more help then not keeping in touch and randomly approaching as and when you want.

    2. They “fail to share ideas properly even when introduced via trusted source” – I have been through this part when starting out Safer Minicabs and have always learnt if you want others to help you have to share enough information but off course not giving away any confidential information these people don’t even do that!

    3. Business Cards – Just like Dwain says they have email addresses from Hotmail and Gmail but when they turn up to events they don’t even have business cards and they then write on a piece of paper and the WORST thing out of all is they don’t even email/follow through but claim they loved the conversation and want some help!

    4. Finally there are too many people out there claiming they are young Entrepreneurs etc… but they don’t physically do anything to make things happen apart from turn up to events enjoy the drinks/food and go off! I believe its all about execution NOT simply just listen listen and listen go and do it and make it happen.

    So glad you wrote this blog because I was going to write something up in the new year on another topic similar. Do hope this is useful information for all.

    Have a great week guys – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    • dwainreid

      Hi Jayesh – Thanks for these comments. I totally agree, your points are about execution and follow up. 1. If you’ve been introduced to someone that could help you it’s key that you follow up within a couple of days with the intention of building a mutually beneficial relationship. 2. Actions speak louder than words so entrepreneurs execute. Thanks again and good luck with Safer Minicabs

  4. Kriti

    Love these thoughts! Definitely seen entrepreneurs guilty of these. I’ve created a comic strip called #entrepreneurfail with some more foolish things I’ve done/seen when starting up.
    Let me know what you think?

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