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Six Overlooked Entrepreneurial Traps That Will Kill Your Business: #2. Onion Jelly

Updated: May 28

#2. Onion Jelly: Intoxication From Current or Past Success

Entrepreneurs will often see a vision for serving the world and give all they have to make it a reality. Their focus, dedication, time, and sacrifice pay off, and they experience success.

Hard to imagine, but wins in the past can kill your wins in the future. How does that happen?

When an entrepreneur experiences a win, the temptation to stop the kind of exploring and innovating that brought their initial success can be intoxicating. The result is a complacency that allows your competitors to make you a "has been." When you become intoxicated with a past win, you are stuck and uncoachable for future success.

The world is filled with entrepreneurs who achieved a win in the past but have lost their ambition to win big in the future. Instead of working hard to remain the champ, they get stuck celebrating that win in the past.

What is the answer? Entrepreneurs who are successful over the long haul make continual and improved success a high goal. They tirelessly work to evaluate their wins to do even better next time.

I can never forget a business we bought where the founder was stuck in past success. At some point in the past, she had made and sold onion and garlic jellies. A product line that was once profitable, it had stopped selling. But she had never taken the time to evaluate the success or failure of her products. Continual evaluation would have alerted her to the fact the line wasn’t selling and she could have attempted to salvage, change or cancel it.

My point in this post: Great entrepreneurs work hard to build on current and past successes.

This continual improvement comes from doggedly pursuing the answer to some great questions:

  • What did we do to get here?

  • What can we do to improve?

  • What might we have done differently?

You must constantly monitor your success and see what changes are taking place. Each month and quarter, study your successes:

  • by sales ranking in descending order (highest volume item to lowest volume by item). Also run customer sales ranking by profitability in descending order.

  • by profitability in descending order (highest profit to lowest profit by item)

After evaluation, get rid of the past successes at the bottom of the list. Promote the ones on the top.


A lack of attention to rigorous evaluation of your present and past successes will put you at risk of intoxication. This intoxication will make you feel invincible. This is an entrepreneurial trap that will kill your business.

Making a profit for a purpose requires that you relentlessly evaluate your current and past success. Harry T. Jones P.S. Email me at and let me know how the evaluations are going. I want to help!

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