Whether you are building a new business or growing an established one, it is important to know what factors can limit your success. Often actions we take for what seem to be the best of reasons turn out to be errors. Over time, these errors can spread into our decision-making processes and implementation. There are hundreds of different mistakes that are easy to make, but five stand out as the biggest strategic errors. Each has a multiplier impact on business, and beyond direct effects, may undermine a business as a whole.

Error One: Too Much Time and Emphasis on Trends and Competitive Assessments

Why is this an error? It promotes commodity offerings and diminishes the innovation that is core to your business’s entrepreneurial culture.

Most of us have known (or may have been) teenagers who focus too much on competitive awareness. These kids constantly check to see how they fit in compared with others. They want to be in on the latest trends. Caring parents would advise them to stop paying attention to others and find ways to express their own unique selves.

As business leaders, entrepreneurs often compete at the expense of innovation, with effects much the same as the competitive teenagers’. You try to follow in others’ footprints and maybe try to “outdo” them. In the process your business loses its uniqueness, which is its source of innovation and creative motivation.

New Business Acumen: Reveal your essence and design everything about your business based on the distinctiveness that makes it non-displaceable.

To be continued . . .

There are a few hundred more ridiculously common errors, all of which spring from good intentions. At The Responsible Entrepreneur Institute, we educate and develop people in the core business acumen needed to avoid them. Our track record includes building successful small businesses and growing them with strong financial and responsible platforms. Learn more about our programs and get an introduction to the five new business acumen arenas on January 10, 2013 at 5 pm Pacific Time. The call is free but space is limited. You must register to attend. If you register and are unable to attend, you may receive a free recording of the call within a few days after January 10.