The 5 mistakes first-time entrepreneurs usually do & how to avoid them

Serial-entrepreneurs and executives from The Cantillon Institute for Entrepreneurship look at what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and tell you what should be done if you want to succeed.

Want to take the road to successful entrepreneurship? Take a look at “What” it takes to make it...

Number of ideas and concepts rise from the topic on how to succeed as a first-time entrepreneur. Leading business industry theorists, highly-influential decision-makers and business leaders, top management executives, the media and the public, have all for decades given an extensive definition and outline on how to become successful in the field of entrepreneurship. The truth of the matter is, the majority of the success stories portrayed in the media are one in a few million and in reality, it is not as easy. Many reports show that most startups fail after a year of existence. Do I have the profile to be a successful entrepreneur? Is my product idea disruptive enough? At what time should I launch? How should I expand? All these are questions that can face the first-time entrepreneur.

Executives and board members from The Cantillon Institute for Entrepreneurship are serial-entrepreneurs that mentor these issues. They have decided to address them by writing this article looking at the « 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid »  when starting a business.  They give a list of « What You Should Do Instead» when really wanting to succeed, and conclude by explaining their vision of the « Be king vs Be rich » theory; how to secure a successful launch for your business when being a first-time entrepreneur. A road map to success.


The majority of first-time entrepreneurs believe that in order to be successful, they need to design and offer the market a groundbreaking innovative product.

Ex1: Gary is a soon to be graduate from a top business school. He travels a lot and is unhappy to pay commission fees when changing money. What if he could prepay for all that, or better still erase it all? Great idea! No one has done that before. Problems are that he his coming from the energy industry as a global deployment team leader. Nothing to do with retail banking, or forex. Chances of success? nill.

Ex2: Mary Mitchell wants to quit her job as a digital consultant for a Marketing firm. She’s been thinking for a while about what could be the best « innovative idea » to bring in the market. A product or application that could be of use to all, and groundbreaking.

Why is this a mistake?

The reality is that “Nine out of ten startups (…) fail.” Neil Patel, entrepreneurship, marketing and sales contributor, Fortune reported the “top reason” that startups fail is that: “They make products no one wants.” A careful survey of failed startups determined that 42% of them identified the “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure. Not to mention those that don’t even make it to the market, which represents many of them.

Instead: « Limit The Risk! »

Instead of trying to pursue an innovative idea for which there is probably no market, limit the risk by controlling or « owning » what you do. Develop a product that you «know» how to build and grow, for a market that already « exists » already. It’s easier, it is less risky, and it requires less investment.


Next thing first-time entrepreneurs do is having the idea that they need to raise money.

Ex 1: Two years ago, Marc and Thierry met up about partnering to develop an app. They did the business plan and consulted to evaluate the feasibility of launching it. Quickly enough, they came up with the numbers and it showed that they should raise 1,000,000$ in order to design, develop and launch the product.

Question is, raising 1,000,000$ right from scratch can be very risky when being a first-time entrepreneur, as you have no experience starting a business. It is important to note that the vast majority of successful companies are the 2nd, third of fourth try. So why are startups always in the hunt of raising money? Isn’t it often « a waste of time and energy (…) is there a real need for big capital? (…) and aren’t startups budgeting for the wrong things? » Eran Laniado,

Why is this a mistake?

Until you have proven how to make money, no one is right mind to give you money.

Want to know what to do instead? Download our 5 mistakes ebook