The One Word That Kills All #Entrepreneurs – #entrepreneurship

What? One word can’t kill… It’s true. I am at the end of another semester and this one was better than ever. However, three things happen at the end of each semester I teach.

  1. I am somewhat sad it’s over – Some of those bright young people who I have enjoyed their energy and effort over 12 weeks, I will never see again. I will miss getting together each week and being a little nervous that what I am teaching that week won’t connect and surprised when it does…
  2. I am somewhat happy it’s over – The grind was a bit much, having a full-time job, traveling and teaching. I dislike grading paper as much as I disliked having to write them as a student.
  3. Time to reflect – Even though I have been teaching the topic of entrepreneurship for three years now, I still think a lot about what went well and what didn’t go so well. My thoughts, when I let them, dwell more on what didn’t go well and how I can improve it.


As I was wading thought improvements of this semester I realized that I could do a better job explaining the overall landscape of the entrepreneurial world. Things like social entrepreneurialism, or Intrapreneurship, and things like, startups, main street and fast growth entrepreneurialism. Then my mind went to wanting to add a module (those are what I call teaching units) to the class on failure. So much of the class works off the idea that if you apply the principles and concepts I teach you will be successful, but I never talk about the things that will kill a business. Plenty of business ideas have failed even if it’s a great idea, and plenty of businesses have succeed with a bad idea… same holds true with the people in the business… having great people doesn’t insure success (it helps a lot but it’s not a sure thing). That’s when I came up with this…

The Killer

I believe the one word that can kill all entrepreneurs and their efforts is (drum roll) assume. Entrepreneurs that assume their idea is good or they have a market or the level of effort to succeed is low as well as support and abilities are in deep (deep) trouble. Assuming that a five-year exit is possible even when asked, “who do you plan to exit to…” is answered with, “I don’t know” is ridiculous. Assuming that your product or idea is relevant, needed, useful, innovative, marketable, achievable and good is dangerous. Here is the rub – that there are no secrets to success as an entrepreneur and action is the best course (I call that the fire – aim – ready method), assuming without testing, data or experience is the quickest way to kill your idea. Don’t do it!

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and Queens University and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.

2 Replies to “The One Word That Kills All #Entrepreneurs – #entrepreneurship”

  1. After reading the article, I understand why an assumption is a killer for an entrepreneur. Further, I believe that planning and having a structure can eliminate and reduce risks. Therefore, eliminating assumptions and creating a detailed plan can reduce risks.

  2. Assuming in entrepreneurship isn’t the only way in life that that will get you in trouble. Assuming in general is a terrible idea, and I can only imagine that it will be even more harmful when trying to get your business off the ground. Not only will assumptions leave you vulnerable in your personal life (especially when it comes to not having a backup plan) but assumptions can also rub people the wrong way. If you come off as too brash or too confident to investors/partners you’re likely going to strain or end those relationships.

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