I have had an interesting journey in business and I made many crazy mistakes during my early years. I literally laugh when I look back because some mistakes were just too dumb. I will share with you a few of my many dumb mistakes.

  1. Quitting
    A few times a thought of quitting crossed my mind. In fact, more than once I spent over two sleepless weeks contemplating on the next move after quitting. When I look back I think it was extremely unreasonable of me to think of quitting because I wouldn’t have become who I am today. I wasted time thinking of quitting, time that I should have used fighting for the business.
  2. CEO Too Early
    I started acting like a boss instead of an employee. I was trying to over organize too early by putting a secretary & Personal assistant in place when it was far from being necessary. I hired sales people and begun feeling like I should not be in sales, forgetting that the most important role of a startup entrepreneur is sales. Company sales nosedived as a result and I had difficulties maintaining operations.
  3. Advise From Too Many People
    When I was starting out I had this edge to fully consult. There is nothing wrong with that but the biggest question is ‘Who are you consulting?’ I had too many people giving me many different and contradicting ways of how I can grow as an entrepreneur which confused me in the process. I was once convinced that selling a wide range of products is the best way of winning more customers but that proved to be the worst nightmare.
  4. Living The Dream Too Early
    I had a crazy way of living my dream too early. During our traditional wedding ceremonies, we were required to present monetary gifts one at a time. Whenever it was my turn I would be out there splashing out money for the show. I did the same at family events like funerals which required my contribution. I would contribute fifty if not a hundred times more than my peers like cousins at the expense of the business. Before long the business showed me the EXIT door.
  5. Not Having A Schedule
    I had no systematic approach to business, no proper planned out strategy when I was starting out. As a consequence I found myself stagnated and not progressing because I would wake up and face whichever direction the spirit led scouting for sales without a strategy. Now that I know, I think I was dumb to make such an unreasonable mistake when starting out.
  6. More Employees Means Growth
    At one point I was so interested in seeing my business grow and was mistaken of the view that the more employees I had the bigger the business was. At one time I had more employees than necessary and it cost me savings and direction which eventually caused me stress. I have since learned that you can have a small but effective team achieving so much more than a bigger ineffective team.

These are amongst the many mistakes I made but now I know and I have grown passed such silly mistakes. I hope you have picked one or two lessons.

By: Dumisani Ncube
Founder/Group Chairman, DLN Group


  1. I am 25, and working on my own business; a tech solution center in Bo the southourn province of Sierra Leone. I think I have learned a lot from these mistakes because I actually find myself in those shoes if yours.
    Thank you so much for the mentorship and guide.

  2. Early years of business success makes us make decisions based on emotions not reality….
    Am always greatful to be your follower sir.I learn alot and looking forward to registering at your school of business

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