THE BLOG
12/30/2013 12:25 EST | Updated 06/05/2014 05:59 EDT

10 Things a Startup Founder Should Never Do

Here are the top 10 things a startup founder should not do:

(1) Not being consistent and focused.

Today's economy offers the dreamer many opportunities but without following through, no dream can be turned into reality. Entrepreneurs must be consistent and focused in their actions and their resolve no matter what the cost.

Consistency is critical when making business decisions. While each business decision is unique, they must follow a core set of principles. Businesses would much rather deal with startups who can promise and deliver consistently instead of businesses who are uneven in their delivery.

(2) Failing to take action.

One of the great things about entrepreneurs is that they self-empower to turn dreams into reality. Unfortunately, humans have a tendency to over-plan and over-think situations. The one great thing about successful entrepreneurs is that while they plan, they also act. The world has many brilliant people but the reason we do not know about them is due to their failure to act. Entrepreneurs know that there is no "perfect" moment to create a startup and if they wait, their chance to succeed will fade away.

(3) Psyching yourself out.

The biggest issue that entrepreneurs have to face is that they need to have a positive yet realistic startup outlook. Creating a startup has never been harder with the ongoing strategic and daily concerns. Unfortunately, there are moments when an entrepreneur will despair and give up all hope. That's usually when an entrepreneur is at his or her make-or-break point.

Many entrepreneurs can relay numerous stories of how many times the doubters outnumbered the believers. However, true entrepreneurs don't give into the temptation to quit. True entrepreneurs find their inner strength to battle those internal and external doubts and are successful because of it.

(4) Squandering your reputation.

One of the worst things that an entrepreneur can do is squander his or her reputation. Squandering a reputation can range from failing to deliver on promises to not planning properly.

Reputation is one of the hardest things to acquire and maintain. It takes years to build up the right reputation that will allow a successful entrepreneur to navigate today's competitive business environment. A damaged reputation creates unnecessary roadblocks and is a major distraction for an entrepreneur.

In the end, reputation is not only about the startup but also about the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must be able to live with the startup decisions they will have to make in order to allow them to focus on future growth versus having to constantly watch their backs for enemies that may lurk in the shadows.

(5) Failing to learn.

One of the first things that falls off the entrepreneurial journey is continuous learning. Entrepreneurs are constantly bombarded with problems while building their startup. While entrepreneurs are already running hard and fast, they must include continuous learning as part of the overall entrepreneurial journey. Without it, entrepreneurs fail to notice important trends that could directly impact their business.

(6) Taking the wrong advice or using it improperly.

Advice is always a good thing for an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, with so many sources of information it is difficult to determine which advice to take. While there are no simple answers to receiving and using advice, here are some general tips:

a. Make sure you are getting advice from experienced individuals.

You want to talk to experienced individuals in automotive distribution who know the tips and tricks that aren't recorded anywhere.

b. Make sure that the advice you take is right for you.

Remember, the entrepreneur owns the startup not the advisor. There might be some advice which you may think is good but you can't agree with. You must be comfortable with the decisions that you are making for your startup because if you are not, you are then creating more headaches that your startup does not need.

(7) Not helping your fellow entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest things that entrepreneurs have to prevent is doing things alone and without assistance. That's why it is vital that fellow entrepreneurs help each other, whether it is referring business or by listening and advising each other. Entrepreneurs learn from each other. As the old analogy goes "a group is much stronger than an individual."

(8) Creating a hostile business environment.

Creating a hostile business environment is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to prevent. Whether it is bringing the issues of an entrepreneurial business home or dealing with other businesses in a rude manner, you run the risk of creating additional problems that your startup doesn't need. Creating a hostile business environment is just as bad as ruining your reputation, since it creates unnecessary headaches and roadblocks.

(9) Being a salesman and not a realist.

The greatest attribute that entrepreneurs have is the fact that they are eternal optimists. Unfortunately, there are times when optimism is a bad thing. Most entrepreneurs will guarantee the world but those guarantees may be well beyond what their resources or expertise can allow.

In today's business environment, businesses have little time to grant second chances. Instead, they are more likely to dismiss a failed business quickly and rarely look back. This is the risk of over-promising and under-delivering. Every successful salesperson knows the ancient adage, "it is better to over-deliver and under-promise than to under-deliver and over-promise." Wise words to live by for any entrepreneur with a new startup. While guaranteeing the world may work in the short-term, there are dire long-term consequences for failing to meet expectations.

(10) Not having a business plan.

Entrepreneurs have an interesting mindset when it comes to business plans. Some live by them. Others say they are a waste of time. The true answer is it depends on the entrepreneur. If you're clearly a person with the drive and dedication to stay on course then a full blown business plan isn't necessary. However, if you have a tendency to jump onto the next big fad then a business plan might be prudent.

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