10 Bad Habits Entrepreneurs Must Give Up To Be Successful
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
As an entrepreneur, success is not negotiable. Unfortunately, despite your knowledge, ambition and talent there are a few disastrous personality quirks that are probably holding you back from realizing your full potential.
Therefore, it’s worthwhile to examine ten common bad habits even the most capable people frequently fall prey to. Chances are you’re guilty of at least one of this success squelching foibles.
Even the best computing systems have limits. Assign them too many tasks, and they quickly grind to a halt. The same is true about you and your creative talents. You may be multi-talented and highly knowledgeable, but there’s a limit to a number of tasks that you should be handling at any one time. Consider imposing an arbitrary limit on a number of things you focus on at once.
Start with a low number, and expand it as you see fit.
If you found yourself nodding through the last paragraph, you might be an obsessive mono-tasker. Certainly, the Zen teaching that we should do one thing at a time is true when the different tasks you’re juggling are complex. But in the modern world, not every task takes all or even most of your mental faculty. When you encounter one that does — by all means — focus on it solely. Otherwise, it might be time to put another item or two on your plate.
Delaying Systems Development
In the foundational days of a new business, there’s a lot of shooting from the hip and few rules to follow. That can feel very liberating, but if you want your businesses to grow, you will need to put some management systems in place. You need to be able to walk away from an office and still have it function in order to scale your enterprise. It’s never too soon to start drafting management policies and leadership schemes. Consider these to be like the scaffolding for new branches for your brand.
Promising Too Much
Confidence is key, and you’ve probably got plenty. But it can be tempting to make promises based on a disproportionate amount of the resources you have. Sure, maybe you could put out three times your normal number of widgets this month- but it would leave your capital assets depleted. Don’t make major production commitments unless the returns will more than compensate you for it. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Being Too Risk Averse
Nothing worthwhile happens without either risk or commitment, and you need to know when one is going to work better than the other. If you’re afraid of risk, you may try to compensate by committing yourself to regular diligent effort. Obviously, there are greater vices in the grand scheme of things. But failing to recognize those moments when the value of a given risk is optimal can make you non-competitive in your industry.
Failure To Delegate
You cannot do everything yourself. This goes hand in hand with what we said about Delaying Systems Development. Your people should be capable of following your instructions consistently and unsupervised. Delegating doesn’t mean lording over every person and process. It means assigning agents to work on your behalf. Once again, this is necessary to scale your business. If you don’t want to grow, don’t delegate.
The opposite of delegating, micro-managing wears your people down, wastes your time, and makes you into a petty tyrant. If this is a habit you suffer from, it might mean that you don’t trust your team to get things done. If you have a good reason to feel that way, maybe it’s time to trim some fat. On the other hand, your micro-managing may just be a nervous habit. If that’s the case, you need to work on it before you drive everyone away screaming.
Being Reactive, Not Proactive
Remember in old west movies when a villain shot at someone’s feet to make them dance? When you only work reactively- you’re letting the world shoot at your feet. The key is to deal with those bullets before they even start flying your way. You need to foresee trouble, and not just wait for it to land on your doorstep. If you’re not proactive, you’re very easy to throw off balance- and a prime target for your competition. Be ready for problems before they happen. The same goes for opportunities. You need to have capital ready to invest before key investments present themselves to you.
Mistaking Profit for Growth
This is the equivalent of hiding money under your mattress. If you want to grow, you need to be reinvesting in your business. If you’re not reinvesting, you’re hoarding- and that’s not growth.
Remember what we said about Omni-Tasking? Well, the same is true with your health, energy, and endurance. We understand you’re driven. That’s great! But taking time off is an investment in your most important capital asset- your own wellbeing. Take those well-deserved vacations. Sit down. Breathe. Enjoy the success you’ve worked so hard for.
Should you find yourself prone to committing any of these common human foibles, take heart — you’re far from alone. These are very prevalent weaknesses in people in all professions and all walks of life. The good news is, you’ve already done more to secure your own success and financial freedom than the average person — and that means any work you do to remove the bad habits discussed above will only make you more competitive, more productive, and more productive. Now that's an investment worth making!