Top 10 Business Planning Mistakes #5: Doing It All

(Note: this is the sixth of a 10-part series listing my revised top 10 business planning mistakes. The list goes from 10, the least important, to 1, the most important.)

Let me start this with one of my favorite quotes:

“I don’t know the secret to success; but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.” Amen to that. In fact, you can package that up and call it small business strategy 101.

And I’ve written about the displacement principle in small business:

In a business, everything you do rules out something else that you can’t do.

And this fits very well with what I call strategy:

Strategy is focus. It’s as much what you aren’t doing as it is what you’re doing.

One of the most common worries I get as I sit as a judge in business plan contests, or more recently in a group of angel investors as a member, is the problem of too many moving parts. That comes back to you can’t do everything.

Trying to do everything usually leads to doing nothing very well.



  • Who Says You Can’t Do It All? I Do. says:

    […] too much, and losing your identity. That – trying to do too much – qualified as Doing it All, which is #5 in my recent top 10 business planning mistakes on my main […]

  • Charles Robinson says:

    Being derivative just makes you one more in a sea of sameness. The best way to own a market is to create it. Do what only you can, and do it so well you create an insurmountable gap to entry.

  • Linda N. says:

    It’s like you read my mind! When your growing, the immediate thing you want to do is grow everywhere, but there is something to be said for taking a regional, slower approach. Thanks for the reminder Tim!

  • Stephanie says:

    Thus procrastination may be less about lethargy and more about an over-abundance of options.

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