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Bad habits entrepreneurs have to beat

By Pauline Muindi | February 24th 2021

To be successful, both as an entrepreneur and in life, you have to be aware of your shortcomings, which enables you to work toward overcoming them. You can hire people to help you fill in the gaps or outsource the tasks you aren’t competent in. 

However, not all entrepreneurs are self-aware enough to identify bad habits that hold them back from success.  Many business owners are wondering why their businesses seem stagnant, even though they’re doing everything possible to make progress. If this is your situation, consider kicking these nasty entrepreneur habits to the curb to achieve success:

Micromanaging Your Team

Are you the kind of leader that is constantly hovering over their employees? Do you have a conviction that nothing can be done right unless you’re fully involved? While this fear is totally understandable, it could be holding your team from achieving their full potential in their individual roles.

Not only is micromanaging annoying for your employees, but it also takes up precious time that you could be devoting on tasks that only you can do for your business such as looking for investors and planning for the future.

Make sure you hire people who are competent in their roles and trust them to work with minimal supervision. All hires should be thoroughly interviewed to ensure that they align with your company’s core values and the requirements of their position. If you realise someone isn’t a good fit, let them go as soon as possible.

When you invest in finding great candidates, you will be able to trust that they know what they’re doing. Let them know that they can reach you whenever they need your assistance or input and give them free reign to accomplish their tasks.

Avoiding Risks

Entrepreneurship is all about taking calculated risks. If you are not a risk taker, you might want to rethink your decision to be a business owner. Although risks might not pay off, a calculated risk is always an opportunity to learn and grow. As Frederick Wilcox puts it, “Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”

Since most people are averse to risks, entrepreneurs who don’t mind taking risks have a competitive advantage. They’re likely to stumble on opportunities that aren’t overcrowded and reap the benefits of being ahead of the competition. Most successful people will tell you that they got where they are because they were willing to go where others weren’t going – whether in terms of product development or investing in new ventures.

Risks that are common for entrepreneurs include risk of loss due to fluctuations in the market, competitive risks, credibility and technology risks. The fact that you chose entrepreneurship over a reliable paycheck from a job shows that you are actually a risk-taker. To exercise your risk-taking muscles, try taking small risks at first. Think along the lines of adding a surprising perk for your customer, fielding an innovative menu addition, or trying a new market.

Doing Too Many Things

Many people fancy themselves to be great multitaskers. But according to various scientific studies, no one is really efficient at multitasking. Humans are actually terrible at multitasking as giving attention to too many tasks leads to a decrease in productivity. One study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that students took 40 per cent longer to solve complicated math problems when required to switch to other tasks.

As you switch from one task to another, your brain has to reboot, in a sense. This means that you have to spend additional brainpower getting back to speed on one task. And just as you’re getting fully focused on the task at hand, you are distracted by yet another one.

To boost your productivity as an entrepreneur, block out time slots to focus on certain demanding activities. For instance, when you are working on a task that requires full concentration such as going over your financial plans, resist the urge to check social media updates or take non-emergency calls.

Research from Florida State University found that the optimum time to work on a project is 90 minutes. Schedule your working time into 90-hour blocks, especially for intense projects. After 90 minutes, you can take a break before getting back to a different task.

Not Networking

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, especially if you don’t get used to reaching out to your support network. Many entrepreneurs fall into the habit of trying to shoulder every problem on their own, which is not good for either their health or the business.

Don’t be drawn into the cycle of working all the time. Instead, take time to network with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and even clients. Networking is a valuable way to develop your knowledge, keep an ear on your industry’s news, and gain referrals for your business.

Instead of reaching out only when you have problems, ask questions to know how you can be of value to others. Once you start extending a helping hand to people in your network, it is much more likely that they will reciprocate when you need it.

Valuing Wealth Over Health

It is quite common for entrepreneurs to be caught up in the pursuit for business success that they forget to prioritise their health. You work late, eat fast food, don’t get enough sleep, and take up bad habits such as smoking or heavy drinking.

Realise that with poor health, even your business success won’t mean much. Fortunately, taking good care of your health doesn’t take as much as most people assume. Setting a regular 30-minute exercise routine, eating healthy meals, taking water, sleeping for at least 6 hours daily, and making time to be with your loved ones will keep you both physically and emotionally healthy.

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