Hard work can get you far—but sometimes not far enough. Especially if you ignore important details such as benchmarking, market research, or you know, reality.
One CEO was so motivated to build a new product feature that he forgot to product-test the market, Freeman recalls. The feature turned out great. But nobody used it, because nobody wanted it.
Another entrepreneur was making $150,000 in yearly revenue and wanted to be at $10 million in five years.
Even if they doubled their business every year—a lofty goal in itself—they’d still only hit $4.8 million in five, said Brian Moran, whose company provides business advice to business owners and entrepreneurs.
That’s not even halfway, and “you’d be like a top 50 Inc 500 company,” Moran told them.
Returning to the restaurant example from earlier—a third scenario would be the guy who expands his business only to end up burying it because he took on commitments he couldn’t fulfill. Say, he overspent on furniture because he misjudged how much he’d make in the first year.
“There’s nothing wrong with having big goals,” says psychologist Sharon Saline, Psy.D., who specializes in ADHD. “The issue is if you create goals that you in no way can achieve. Or if you have trouble letting go when the goal doesn’t work out.”
“Entrepreneurs get very myopic,” says Moran, “almost like they put blinders on. And sometimes that works. If you’re trying to bore through a tunnel, you’re going to need that laser focus. But what happens more often than not is you don’t see the two-by-four coming up behind you.”
That kind of tunnel vision can lead you to lose perspective—when you’re spending all your time and energy going after one thing, you forget that other things are important too. Things like your health, your relationships, or in Siegel’s case, your cellphone.
When Siegel was running his first startup, he once threw his phone against a wall when his wife became upset with him for taking a late business call, smashing it into “a million pieces.”
“That was an expensive temper tantrum,” he jokes. But “you learn. You build a pattern recognition. You apologize. You make mistakes because you’re human. Part of it is making time to unplug.”
“The myth is that entrepreneurs work 24/7 and give up every moment of the day,” Siegel adds. “There are moments in time to do that, but if you do only that you will fail because you’ll burn out.”