Keep From Repeating These Business Mistakes

Business Mistakes to Avoid by Michael RozbruchAs an entrepreneur that has been in the tax resolution industry for almost 20 years, I have had my share of business mistakes and victories. I often say that history is written by the winners, but it rarely forgets the mistakes of the losers. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes in business and how you can avoid your own loss going down in history.

Stake Your Claim
In 1858, Edwin Drake reinvented the oil industry. He discovered that drilling tools could be lowered into the earth through cast iron pipes, stabilizing the hole. Drake successfully struck oil in August, 1858. Unfortunately, Drake never patented his design. He spent the next 20 years living in poverty, while others used his design to build their fortunes. Decades later, the state
of Pennsylvania finally recognized his contribution to its booming oil industry, awarding Drake an annuity of $1,500, which amounts to $38,000 in 2016.

Lesson: Protecting your intellectual property is important in any field. Using copyrights or trademarks can help keep your brand unique and prevent others from benefitting from your hard work.

Consider the Possibilities
In 1977, 20th Century Fox hired a director named George Lucas with plans for an epic space adventure called “Star Wars.” In negotiations, Lucas asked for complete merchandising rights in exchange for a $20,000 pay cut in his check. Fox jumped at the deal. “Star Wars: A New Hope” brought in over $786 million, with inflation, but the merchandising alone earned Lucas $3 billion. The “Star Wars” franchise has made over $6 billion at the box office, while combined merchandise sales total $24 billion worldwide.

Lesson: It is likely most things will not go as planned. Successful entrepreneurs must consider epic failures and massive successes before assuming they’ve made the best deal.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change
In 1999, Excite was the most popular and widely used search engine on the web. Excite CEO George Bell was presented with an offer to buy a new search engine and its technology for $750,000 — from a company called Google. Bell turned them down. A few years later, Excite’s stock plummeted. Meanwhile, Google is now worth over $180 billion today.

Lesson: Nothing is forever. Technology evolves, as does the tastes and preferences of your customers. Being able to change with the times is key to long lasting success.