You don't have to be a genius to be a smart entrepreneur; you just have to make smart choices. It's the overly-impulsive entrepreneur who suffers the consequences of poor choices; the individual who doesn't take the time to look at the big picture.
Do you identify with any of these behaviors? When you shift your perspective on choices like these, your life and business will operate at a much higher level.
These are the things that smart entrepreneurs never do:
1. Say yes impulsively.
Whether it's a sense of obligation or because you think it's a good idea in the moment, an impulsive yes often leads to big problems. The resulting commitments are the very reason that entrepreneurs get off track and feel overwhelmed.
Create a set of questions to ask yourself (is this a priority, does it fit into my vision, am I saying yes out of guilt or another unhealthy thought process) before obligating yourself to a yes, and always take the time to evaluate even the smallest of commitments.
2. Say no impulsively.
Conversely, saying no can lead to even bigger problems, depending on the ask. Many entrepreneurs avoid promising opportunities due to fear-relating thinking. Always let the other party know that you will take some time to think about their request. Make a list of the reasons you're compelled to say no; this can be very revealing. I recently spoke with a client who said no to a speaking gig that would have given her business excellent exposure. She cited the lack of time as the reason for her impulsive no. The reality was that planning her presentation felt intimidating and overwhelming. Once she owned up to that, she felt remorse over missing a great opportunity.
Make time for things that could contribute to your personal and professional growth, but think it through first.
3. Lose focus.
So much to do, so little time. I get it, but you'll get much more done when you focus on just one thing at a time. Jumping from task to task, answering the phone every time it rings, and checking email throughout the day only leads to disaster. Close your door, turn down the phone volume, and avoid email for a while, then commit two hours to one project. This can literally save you hours a day.
4. Hold on to poor employees.
Under performers and those who have a poor attitude at work are holding you back. Smart entrepreneurs work hard to build a healthy culture. If someone doesn't fit into it, and probably never will, it's time to let go. Toxic attitudes create a stressful undercurrent at the very least. At its worse, toxicity in the workplace will result in the loss of good employees and eventually, the loss of clients as well.
5. Take an open-door policy literally.
Too many entrepreneurs misinterpret an open-door policy as an obligation to be available to their team every minute of every day. These ongoing disruptions costs time and money. It's also extremely stressful for the entrepreneur.
Whether you have one employee or 50, ask them to make an appointment to discuss their topic. If it's a constant barrage of questions that disrupt your day, you can solve that problem with a daily morning meeting, along with a designated time mid-to-late afternoon to discuss further questions or problems. The time spent in these meetings will come back to you ten-fold.
6. Over prepare.
There's an all too common belief that being an expert means you have to know everything, and that is simply not true. Being an expert means that you know more about your topic than the average person. Spending an excessive amount of time researching and pouring over materials for a basic meeting, conference, or speech is usually a waste of time. Remembering every fact and statistic on your topic will not result in a better meeting, people are bored by those things.
A prospect or an audience wants to engage with you on a much higher level. They want to know, like, and trust you. It's fine to say that you don't know the answer to a question, but that you will get the answer to them soon.
7. Strive for a false sense of life balance.
You are an entrepreneur because you value your freedom. Sometimes, new entrepreneurs have a dreamy vision of being at the dinner table every night, never missing a school play, and taking as many vacations as they please.
Life balance doesn't come in chunks of time every day, it comes in doses of freedom and flexibility intermingled with hard work.
8. Believe they are always right.
Smart people surround themselves with smart people--and they listen to them. This one's easy, your goal is not to be the smartest person in the room, it's to learn from those who have more experience, creative ideas, and bring a new perspective.
9. Take uncalculated risks
Successful entrepreneurs do take risks, but they are well calculated. The smartest people I know are able to see every angle and potential outcome. They weigh the pros and cons and they are willing to pivot as needed.
If you are ready to take a risk, ask yourself how much you're willing to lose to do it.
10. Demean others.
Success isn't measured by money alone; it's also a reflection of what's inside of a person's heart and mind. Smart entrepreneurs allow others their mistakes, beliefs, and actions. It doesn't mean you have to be a part of it, but judging others only weighs you down.
It's unbecoming to criticize your competition or individuals who don't think like you do. Take the higher road, it's closer to your rainbow.