The 5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Stop Doing
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Despite the “hero status” that many successful entrepreneurs get, it’s important to realize that most made the wrong choices, spent time on the wrong projects, and possibly worked with the wrong people before they eventually became successful.
As a new entrepreneur, you can and should learn from the mistakes of others.
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, stop doing these five things:
1. Stop scheduling team meetings.
In his TED talk titled “Why work doesn't happen at work,” Basecamp founder and CEO Jason Fried said the following about meetings: “Meetings are just toxic, terrible, poisonous things during the day at work.”
And hee’s right. You might be fooling yourself into thinking that your weekly 10-person meeting is a good use of everyone’s time, but you’re wrong. Meeting often make teams less productive and are time wasters. Think about it: When you have a 10-person meeting that lasts 60 minutes long, you’re not just taking an hour from everyone’s day, you’re taking ten hours of work away from your team as a whole. Each person is wasting an hour that they each could have been spent getting quality work done -- work that makes you money and work that makes your business better in the long run.
Pro tip: Cancel all the meetings you have scheduled for this week. Instead of talking about everything that needs to get done, just spend the time actually getting things done.
2. Stop involving yourself in every project.
When your business is still small, it might make sense for you to be involved in every project and decision that needs to be made, but as it grows, you need to be able to let go of the reins every so often. If you’re unwilling to step aside or delegate tasks, it’s usually a pretty good sign that you don’t fully trust the people that you’ve hired to work for you.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to delegate. Once you begin to trust your team and give them the freedom to test new ideas and strategies, it won’t take long for you to start seeing positive results.
Pro tip: Hire people that know more than you. Pay them well, keep them happy, and they’ll help you become a more successful business owner.
3. Stop looking too far ahead.
In business, things change fast. Your job as an entrepreneur and a leader is to put your company in the position where you and everyone working for you is comfortable with and able to quickly adapt or pivot if necessary.
That means you can’t spend too much time looking far ahead into the future. I’m not saying you shouldn’t set long-term goals for yourself and your team -- you definitely should. Just don’t spend all your time thinking about what things will be like in the future.
Instead, focus on the present. Set goals that you and your team can reach by the end of the week, month and quarter. Find wins and recognize success milestones along the way -- it’s an important part of growing your business and creating loyalty throughout your team.
Pro tip: Write down three goals you want to reach by the end of the week. Review them at the end of the week and see how you did.
4. Stop making assumptions about customers.
It’s easy to make assumptions about your customers, but it’s not at all helpful when it comes to growing your business.
A recent Bain & Company survey of 362 companies found that 80 percent of companies believe they deliver a "superior experience" to their customers. When surveyors asked customers about their own perceptions, however, they rated only 8 percent of companies as truly delivering a superior experience.
As an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to make assumptions about how your customers feel, what they want, what they need help with or what will make them buy again. You need to spend time gathering data -- quantitative and qualitative -- that can help you understand your customers better. This means putting out customer surveys, analyzing and learning from analytics and becoming an all-around better listener. When you stop making assumptions and start learning from actual data, you become a better, more successful business owner.
Pro tip: Talk one-on-one with one of your customers every quarter. Come with questions but be ready to listen too.
5. Stop sweating the competition.
Don’t fear the competition. Pay attention to them and learn from them, but don’t waste time worrying about them. If you’ve got a good product or service, a good brand, team and processes; you will find success.
Too many entrepreneurs get caught up in battles with competition. They waste time and money launching smear campaigns and other “dirty” tactics that are intended to hurt their competitors. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead of spending all your time and energy worrying about the competition, focus instead on building customer loyalty, better products, and a strong team.
Pro tip: If one of your competitors is doing particularly well, run some online and offline competitive analyses to try to learn from them. Take what you learn and see if you can apply it to your business. Don’t lift or copy from them. Learn and do something better.