In every situation, every game, every event, you're bound to have winners and losers--and business is no exception. In fact, nine out of 10 startups fail to gain traction and end up closing their doors. It's competitive out there, and if you want to count your startup among the few that survive, here are eight habits you need to avoid.
1. Giving in to fear
Allow yourself to be paralyzed by fear and you'll never take action when the chips are down. Every entrepreneur who has lived in the trenches knows that failure is the key to success. You take risks, recognize what didn't work, learn from your mistakes, and move on. Sometimes mistakes are the key ingredient to success.
Words and ideas don't generate revenue, and nothing gets done when all you do is talk about it. Successful entrepreneurs take action on ideas. They execute and launch, even when that decision can be terrifying.
2. Chasing the success of others
Take note of the success of others. Let it motivate and drive you. Just don't let it consume you. Every person has the potential and ability to become a success. However, if you waste your time focusing on what a competitor is doing, you'll only undermine and sidetrack your own progress. You can't launch and grow a business when you're worried about what someone else is doing.
3. Assuming you know everything
It doesn't matter how much experience you have, there's always more to learn. You must be willing to be inspired and to learn from those around you. You might be an expert in your industry, but that doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about running a business. Humility is a virtue to be embraced by entrepreneurs.
4. Focusing on the material
If your attention is on chasing the money and creating a lavish workspace with expensive furniture and creature comforts, then there's a problem. You're not focusing on anything that makes a difference or provides value to the customer. Far too many entrepreneurs are dreaming up extravagant workspaces when they should be trying to launch out of a shared office space or a converted garage.
Of course your goal is to make money, so invest in products and services that generate revenue.
5. Making excuses
Whenever you make a mistake, claim it. Then learn from it. This is business, and in business things don't always go according to a masterfully crafted blueprint. If you can identify the problem and find a solution, then you won't make that same mistake again.
If you make excuses for problems or mistakes, then you'll repeat them because you never took the time to identify the problem and apply a solution.
6. Getting wrapped up in your ideas
Your ideas and dreams are what brought you this point. But if you live in those daydreams, you'll never be able to look at the bigger picture and understand the economics of business. Daydreams don't typically include concise profit and loss statements or budget plans, so it's up to you as the entrepreneur to lay out those details.
Grab your dream and pad it with plans that help you survive the short term and move your business from the red to the black.
7. Being an island
You may very well be a sole proprietor in the beginning, but you still know people. You may even have employees before launch. You certainly have professional contacts, friends, and family--so there's no reason to get stuck in a set way of doing things all by yourself.
In virtually everything you will do, there will always be a smarter, more efficient way to go about things. Be willing to learn and open up to those around you to help you succeed. Extra eyes and ears are invaluable for a new entrepreneur.
8. Taking negativity to heart
You are bound to come across people who don't agree with your ideas. They'll think your product has no market, your service is weak, your brand seems watered down, and your concept has no direction. The single biggest mistake you can make is listening to negative opinions and taking them to heart.
The more unique your ideas are, the more you can expect these people to pop up and tell you not to bother. Anyone with this mentality should be avoided like the plague. They are a poison pill to your success. These are the types of people who would have told Ford that customers don't want automobiles because they are too fast, can catch fire, and are dangerous--horses are the safer bet.
You won't be alone.
You're going to make mistakes. You're going to get a little sidetracked and lost along the way. But correcting these habits before you start your journey will make it easier to get yourself on the path to success.
What other habits do you think entrepreneurs must avoid if they want to succeed? Share in the comments below: