Breaking bad business habits

A while back I talked about young businesses in relation to mental health and how to take small steps while building your empires. The response was eye opening.

As much as I am giving all these ideas and advice on how to grow your businesses, many readers really appreciated the content on mental health. For this reason, I will be balancing habitual pointers with tips on running a business.

This week we focus on habits. Make sure you work on your mentality that eventually develops into habits.

I met a long-term friend and the first thing he asked me was how I manage to do all this. Ten years ago I was just a young man from Eastlando. At a time when my peers were thinking of where and when to get drugs, I was planning my future. I started a business.

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I knew I wanted to own a business, so instead of mopping around and giving excuses of how young I was and how I didn’t have cash, I started working towards it. I set up a second-hand clothes business, though small at the time, and took it from there. 

The perfect plan

Most of us have the perfect plan - imagined or written down - but never want to work for it. It has been tried and tested world over that no matter how perfect your plan, or how brilliant your idea, if you don’t follow through with executing it, you will go nowhere.

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So what habits are holding you back from being your best entrepreneurial self?

Not sleeping enough

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Most of us are ambitious and we tend to push it to the limit, which is not a bad thing. But burn out exists and it can lead to hospitalization. It’s essential for the brain and the body to rest. You will notise that every time you get enough rest, the next morning starts on a high positive energy level.

There was a time in my life I was too busy to sleep more than two hours in a day. That was three years ago. One morning, I woke up felt a little unstable and almost fell down. I sat back on my bed.

What followed immediately was sudden high fevers and I couldn’t get my feet to move. I told my wife we needed to go to the hospital and cancelled a big meeting for later that day.

At the hospital, the doctor said the medication was simple; I just needed to rest. Since that day, I have made rest my first priority to the point I have two days off in the week to rest and spend time with my family. And what good it has done for my health, family and business.

Living for the weekends

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I usually go out, it’s recommended, to unwind after a tough day, catch up with friends, or as we like to put it, to see what the city has to offer.

In a recent chat with a friend who goes to the club every weekend, we did some simple calculations on the expenses of a night out: Food and drinks on a normal night out would cost an average of Sh7,000.

Then of course, as responsible people, we don’t drink and drive. A taxi sets us back Sh1,500 bringing the total to Sh8,500. If you multiply that with the four weekends in the month, assuming you only go out on one day of the weekend, and sum that for the entire year, that’s almost Sh500,000 which can be injected into a small scale business.

Many a business have been started with less. So don’t get me wrong, going out is not bad, but don’t overdo it.   

Caring too much about what people think

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This is a big problem when it comes to entrepreneurs, and has led to many failed businesses. People are afraid that if they fail then the backlash from friends and family would affect them, but we can only learn when we fail and we will only fail when we try.

But trying is something few people are willing to take up. Often, new innovations have no specific blueprint. It takes failure to know what doesn’t work and move to the next step towards making it work.

Poor money management

I have employed friends whom I have heard say that the money they get doesn’t get them to the end of the month.

It makes me wonder if this is because of poor planning on their part, or is it time for growth. This is a discussion many are not willing to have.

A lady friend mentioned that by 15th, her salary is spent and she gets a loan to get her through the rest of the month. Ongoing through her expenditure, it was established that she loses most to interest on loans, impulse buys and that she couldn’t account for almost 25 per cent of her salary.

What I do, and it has worked for me, is that every time I get money, I budget before spending a single coin.  

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