7 Good Entrepreneurial Habits That Turn Bad

Entrepreneurs are passionate people. They live life on the go, trying to achieve their goals and succeed in their chosen field. In doing so they fall into particular patterns of behavior, forged in the unique environment startup culture creates. In truth, many entrepreneurs find themselves forming habits that can only be described as eccentric.

Habits that started as the best practices required to make a startup succeed may begin to work against them, proving to be a disruption in their business. This typically occurs as the nature of the business changes due to the rapid growth successful startup observe upon inception. Here are a few of the habits that may turn bad if they are practiced routinely.

1. Multitasking

For most entrepreneurs, the early days (or years) of taking an idea from inception to launching a business are lonely ones. Typically low on capital, ambitious entrepreneurs simply cannot afford to hire a team of experienced workers to handle the various elements of business, from finance to marketing. They become multitaskers out of necessity, often learning new skills as they go learning from mistakes.

The need to multitask is one of the circumstances: the entrepreneur who runs a one-man show is responsible for all business functions, and with several taking place at once, they must prioritize their time appropriately.

This is an admirable skill, but it has various drawbacks. Multitasking creates a lack of focus, or rather a focus on too many areas, simultaneously. With attention being drawn in many directions, small but essential details are missed. This leads to an overall reduction in efficiency that can negatively impact the business.

As the business grows, so too do the number and complexity of the tasks that need to be performed. In this case, multitasking represents an unwillingness to give up control on the part of the entrepreneur. Acknowledgment that in order to grow, capital must be invested in creating a team is a big step for any first-time entrepreneur. Assigning tasks to employees free up the business owner to focus on what is important for driving the business forward.

2. Procrastination

Prior to the attainment of orders of significant size, a role within a startup allows you to work at whatever pace suits you. While this is considered an advantage of startup culture by many millennials, it can also be their undoing.

If you want to see growth in your business, you can’t put tasks on hold indefinitely. A consistent level of productivity will be required. The business owner should set the tone of the startup. Being careless about start times and working hours will promote inefficiency within the organization.

That is not to say you must micro-manage your team, but that your work ethic should inspire them. It is important not to cause undue stress for your employees by rushing a deadline having procrastinated until the last minute. Completing tasks in due time allows you to be flexible with your employees in terms of working hours and such.

Procrastinating also causes undue stress surrounding the completion of a task, and the added pressure leads to the task requiring more man hours than had originally been necessary. There is a limit to how long a task can be delayed, and leaving important tasks will ultimately damage the business.

3. Inflexibility

One of the greatest business advantages that a startup possesses is its flexibility to adapt to changes in the market. It is of great curiosity then, that many entrepreneurs remain stubborn in their practices. Often this habit is a symptom of the entrepreneur’s inexperience, but being inflexible will prove detrimental to the growth of a startup.

As a business grows, it will be faced with challenges and opportunities. Tackling them requires a flexible approach. A willingness to learn and to grow alongside the business will allow you to achieve greater success. Inflexibility can quickly transform an initial success into failure as the market evolves.

The need to innovate is constant, and blindness to new ideas, trends and technology will soon affect your business. Capitalize on your strengths, but at the same time look for new opportunities and ideas that may add to your business. Finding a partner with a different skillset offers the opportunity to tackle challenges based on varied expertise.

4. Perfectionism

It cannot be said that caring too much is a crime, and especially in the case of a startup, business owners tend to be rather precious about their projects. As such, they tend to plan down to the granular details in business plans, strategies, and more. Perfectionist habits, particularly within the startup environment, will inevitably sabotage a business in a plethora of ways.

Fear of failure only guarantees failure. Similarly, by trying to eliminate errors, both trivial and significant, you are robbing yourself of an opportunity to innovate. Learn to admit mistakes and grow from them. Do not hold yourself and others to unrealistic expectations.

Entrepreneurs tend to be perfectionists but this energy can wear employees down as they fear to make mistakes. This limits their creativity fostering an environment of rigidity and routine without room for mistakes, learning, and growth.

5. Working Too Hard

Burgeoning startups put entrepreneurs under undue levels of stress, but overworking yourself will not benefit your business in the long run. In fact, working too hard or for long hours can have a serious impact on your health, leading to an eventual decline in your productivity and performance.

The human brain needs rest in order to function properly just like the rest of our body. It is essential to take regular breaks to stretch or walk around the office, keeping the blood pumping and the muscles and mind working.

Introducing Pilates or yoga to your daily routine can relieve stress and relax your mind and body. As an entrepreneur, the pressure to succeed forces many to work long hours and take work home with them. As such stretching your body will help in preventing repetitive strain injuries associated with long office hours.

6. Overpromising

For a startup, generating orders is one of the most important elements of business: it represents the companies first steps towards achieving success. It is therefore understandable that entrepreneurs hope to quickly attract as many customers as possible. However, this frequently leads to unfulfilled promises.

Inexperienced business owners are often eager to accept any and all orders that they do not take into account possible negative results. The inability of new business to produce and supply in large quantities can lead to disappointment and customer dissatisfaction if the business is overwhelmed by orders.

Setting unrealistic expectations of yourself or your business will not produce longterm success. Being realistic and practicing humility is important when starting out, and managing the expectations of your customers is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship. Never promise something you are unlikely to be able to deliver.

When launching a new product, keep customers updated without revealing dates or deadlines, even if your manufacturing partner promises to deliver by a certain date. Do not make promises unless you have the product in your hand, or know with absolute certainty that it will be ready by that date. 

7. Delegating

Confidence in your own skills is important in business, but that does not mean you have to do everything yourself. The delegation of tasks will be necessary as your business grows beyond the ability of one worker to accomplish everything. 

There comes a point in business development when hiring additional staff is compulsory. Delegating responsibility for a set of tasks allows you to focus on those elements of the business critical to its success.

Stretching yourself in order to save capital will reduce productivity as your attention and focus are pulled in too many directions. Hire fresh talent and spend time training them, assigning them tasks aligned to their skills and experience.

Though this may feel uncomfortable at first, soon you will notice that you have more time to tackle more challenging tasks and devise strategies that you may not have had time for before. Delegating tasks can also alleviate stress and enhanced performance and as such it may be helpful to consider all the opportunities you miss when trying to tackle everything yourself.

Final Thoughts

It is essential for entrepreneurs to practice good habits, and often this requires taking a step back from the business and looking again with fresh eyes. Don’t go overboard when trying to multitask or micromanage every aspect of the business, and instead learn to accept that not everything needs to be perfect.

Practice flexibility and patience, as this can allow you to achieve higher performance levels and increased productivity. Remember that a business isn’t built overnight, and instead of going it alone, having an experienced team behind you leads to a greater chance of success. 

Above all, be aware of the stress you place yourself under, as burnout is common within the startup scene and has ultimately been the downfall of many inexperienced entrepreneurs.

About the author

Taylor Ryan is CMO at Valuer.ai. He has co-founded 5 startups. Currently, the CMO of a venture-backed Ai company Valuer.ai. Published a few marketing e-books. Consulted on SEO/SEM for 3+ years in the Washington, DC area. Grew up in Washington, DC but have been living in Copenhagen, Denmark for the past 3 years. Mentor, startup junkie, technical marketer, and growth hacker.



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