Starting and running a small business is hard, risky work. According to the SBA, approximately 550,000 new businesses were started in the United States in 2009. Within two years, 30 percent will have failed. Half will be gone within five years. Only one in three will survive to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.
In this Internet era, the speed of business is accelerating, the competition is global, and customers demand more than ever. As a result, business owners have a smaller margin for error.
During my career as a serial entrepreneur, I've made my share of stupid mistakes (and will probably continue to do so). In spite of the inevitability of screw-ups, I take the time to analyze each one and figure out what I should have done differently. The introspection is much more painful and not nearly as fun as celebrating a success. But the old cliché is true: I learn more from my failures than from my successes.
Check out some of the most egregious mistakes new -- and even some experienced -- business owners make, and leave your suggestions for other business mistakes I may have missed in the Comments section.