A Mistake Too Many First-Time Entrepreneurs Make

Recently I was reminded of a mistake first-time entrepreneurs too often make. It’s a costly mistake that is not usually realized until changing course is no longer an option. By the time they realize it, the window of opportunity has slammed shut.

Failing entrepreneurs are often too product focused. The thinking is, “If I had the money to build the product or produce enough product, my business would do very well.”


Most of the effort in getting a startup out of the ground and into the market must be spent on sales. I have observed this mistake many times over the last 35 years.

By day, these entrepreneurs love working on the product but then spend sleepless nights worrying about how to sell it. They should have spent their days working on sales and their nights improving the product.

There is no shortcut to discovering how to sell and deliver your product. You should not delegate the challenge.

The market is like a 20-foot wall.

You alone must figure out how to break through.

If you succeed here, you have a chance to build a business. Miss at this early challenge and you are eating peanut butter alone for a very long time.

You must generate enough sales to become sustainable. Otherwise, you will never cross this divide and raise money.

Sales is the engine that drives the bus.

Not the perfect product.

Perfect products originate not in the entrepreneur’s mind, but when that mind meets the market need. This can only occur with sales.

If your sales cycle seems to go forever, revisit the problem you are solving. Narrow the scope and close deals.

Most assuredly every startup has one big factor which is out of their control: Time.