Behavioral Science

Entrepreneurs Say the Darndest Things [List]

by . August 31st, 2014

As entrepreneurs, we’re all used to having a seemingly amazing idea, then see it fall down when we execute it. Our biographies are basically “Trial-and-Error on Ice.” However, the same could be said about the stuff we say. We make mistakes by saying things that seem optimistic or minor, but just like trial-and-error, we should be used to the idea that many small things can pile up to big things.

Here’s a list that a lot of us say which we probably shouldn’t.


1. I’m doing the best I can.

Never say this. This is a horrible excuse. You’re telling your client that there is nothing more you can do about the project and that you are inferior to your competition.

2. I can provide you everything you need.

As an artist, I have major beef with this statement. A lot of people in my field and a whole lot of other fields say this and end up washed out. Because when you say you provide everything, the client would want to maximize that.

3. It should be around $400-$800.

Just be honest and say $800. Offering a range will make the client gun for the lowest possible price with the highest possible output. Be specific about your price and your objective.

Miguel Peres de Rosa

4. Let’s take a spin on my Ferrari.

We get it. You’re rich. You’re successful. Did we need to know that? No. In fact, the mere notion that you’re way more successful than I am probably mean you’re overpricing me for a horrible service.

5. You’re better than my last client because…

I should have made this number one on the list. Never gossip. True: experience may be the best teacher, and to a point, you could flaunt it. But never EVER gossip and/or compare. When a client comes to you, they expect unspoken trust. If you say things about other clients, what’s stopping you from talking about them?

6. … But…

The difference of “and” and “but” is the whether you’re willing to solve the problem or not. “But” shows that you’re pushing away the matter at hand and distracting the client with something shinier. “And” shows that you’re solving the problem with the next statement and maybe something else.

7. Your current guy is terrible.

Did I say to never gossip? Never gossip.

Tambako the Jaguar

8. Let’s go over your problems.

Be positive. Look for solutions. The client knows they have problems. That’s why they’re with you now. A highly regarded rule in the art community is that all critique must be constructive. This should be standard for everything. If possible, state a solution without stating the problem at all.

9. Tell me about your company.

This statement shows that you aren’t invested in this relationship and are incompetent with research. You need to show that you like this client by noticing the things everyone should know and even some things that only a few know. Stalk them.

10. THIS is what you want.

Ok. My stance on this might be different from a lot of people, but even though this is necessary NOT to say, we know it’s a lie. We know more about our product than the client, and they won’t know what they want until they experience it. That’s innovation for you. But never let the client know this. Let them feel in control and imply everything.

Will Folsom

11. One thing I learned from business school is…

Society is confusing. On one hand, they want you to go to school for a piece of paper saying you wasted four years learning theory. On the other hand, they don’t really care that you learned anything. Actually, they kind of despise it. Saying that you learned something from business school implies that that thing is outdated and basic.

12. I’ll offer you my best-of-the-best.

This sounds great. You’re getting amazing service. … However, other people aren’t? Offering the “best-of-the-best” implies that the rest of your company is mediocre and unsatisfactory. Instead, tell them that your whole company is made of amazing people, but you’re offering those that are specifically tailored to their needs.


13. So I once met this stripper…

Small talk is great, but never give TMI (too much information). Think of things you’d tell the in-laws upon meeting them for the first time. Be that conservative. Once you get more comfortable with your client, maybe you could loosen your collar a bit, but this is strictly a case-by-case situation.

banner/header by Ted Mielczarek