6 Things That Damage Your Business

Written by

Linda Prafke

Linda is a passionate educator, a highly sought-after business coach and a Certified Management Consultant.

Mistakes happen, but some you can avoid.

Honest mistakes are common and necessary byproducts of learning and growth. With that said, there are some mistakes that you’re better off avoiding, especially if they could permanently damage the business you’ve built. 

We’ve gathered the six most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make, and provide some advice on how to avoid or remedy them.

6 business mistakes

1. Failing to finish what you start

Starting a new project is like falling in love: it’s exciting, emotionally charging, and infused with all kinds of entrepreneurial motivators. Perhaps we get obsessed with our newest project and are so focused on our idea that we think it’s all going to go well – and forget to pay attention to the potential challenges that we may have to face.

After some time goes by, the project turns out to be harder work than we initially expected. Maybe it’s taking too long to complete the project and there are some uphill battles that we feel we can’t win. Sometimes, we get stuck and it isn’t completely clear what the next step is.

We grind to a halt.

After that, we might start wondering if we should put the project on the “I’ll get back to it” list, or to quit completely. Procrastination sets in.

What you can do about it: See a project through to the end. 

I get it. New projects take a lot of time and effort and don’t always pan out. It’s easy to feel discouraged and to want to forget about the whole thing and start with something fresh. Don’t give up on your project (or yourself) and make sure that you have dedicated a reasonable amount of time and attention to your project before you even consider giving up on it.

Avoid burnout: Keep in mind that this new project is not going to be the only thing on your plate. Set goals that meet these five criteria.

2. Busy being busy

Being “busy” doesn’t mean you are being productive. being busy is glamourized by the media and in marketing, which often depicts people who have little free time. 

Being busy might make you feel like you are close to getting lots of things done; however, remaining overworked for too long can have significant negative effects on the health-life balance. Technology has done great things for productivity, but it has also made it easier for people to become overworked (think about how many times you receive notifications on your smartphone).

Over time, you will realize that all of the time that you wasted not working on your business could have been spent gaining valuable experience and made a little money instead of none. 

Six things you can do about it:

  1. Stop talking about being busy. The more you say “I’m busy”, the more you will actually feel like it. 
  2. Do not take on every task. Saying “no” will be better for your wellbeing in the long term. If possible, delegate specific tasks to reduce your workload.
  3. Stop multitasking during leisure time. Don’t spend your lunchtime checking emails, posting on social media, or even reading work-related material. Disconnect from your work and enjoy your free time. You will end up feeling renewed and energized.
  4. Prioritize your tasks and put them in order of importance. Knowing exactly which tasks need to be accomplished first will help you focus on getting things done on time.
  5. Reduce distractions. Allow yourself the space to concentrate on completing the task at hand. A task takes longer to complete if it has your full attention. Note: this includes notifications on your cellphone or that popup that tells you when you’ve got an email.
  6. Get enough sleep. People who don’t sleep well at night tend to be more forgetful than people who sleep soundly. Eight hours of sleep is optimal, as is waking up early.

 

3. Waiting for ideal conditions

Like procrastination, another big business mistake has to do with allowing too much time to pass while waiting for ideal conditions.

What you can do about it: take the leap

There is never a perfect time to start or grow a business; all you have to do is take the first step, and the rest will follow. Waiting for the right conditions wastes time, something none of us can ever get back.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment to act, make use of what you have – time, the resources you have available to you (money, knowledge, the support of your friends and family), and your determination.

 

4. Not trusting yourself

If you’re new to something, or are trying a new thing, it’s normal to be a little apprehensive. You might question your ability to make your dream come true. You might be taking doubtful comments to heart.

Remember this: no one is on this planet to play second fiddle, take the back seat, or make it small. 

What you can do about it: realize your potential

Our only limits are those that we impose upon ourselves. Each one of us is limited by our own imagination and held back by our own doubts – a wall we build between ourselves and our goals.

It’s okay to trust yourself. The world is waiting for you to start something, waiting to hear what you have to say.

 

5. Making Excuses

“I’m too tired.” 
“I don’t have time.”
“I can’t do it.”
“I am not ready.”

It’s easy to come up with excuses to justify putting something off. The longer you rationalize and create empty excuses, the less time you have to take action.

It’s easy to say, “I will start when I have more experience/money/time/resources.” The truth is, excuses lead to more excuses – it’s an endless cycle. Once you get caught in the loop, it can be difficult to break free and to do what you’ve been holding off on.

What you can do about it: Remind yourself of the benefits. When we make excuses we tend to focus on the negative – how much time we will have to spend doing something, how much effort, how big of a risk we will have to take, etc. to justify our inaction. 

Try making a list of the benefits – the proposed outcome of finishing what you started. Not only will this help outline exactly what you expect from the project, but it will help you refocus your attention on the project and reinforce your original feelings of determination and motivate you to continue where you left off.

 

6. Choosing the easier path

Many people live their entire lives without ever standing up or stepping out. Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold on to this belief and keep procrastinating when work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, a person would be inclined to continuously gravitate towards a more comfortable path, which provides a state of mental security. Of course, it is sometimes hard for us to step out of our comfort zone, especially when there is a lot at stake (as is the case with a new idea, project, or business). 

What you can do about it: inspire, encourage, and empower yourself

Do things that encourage you to grow as a person. Take part in activities that make you more confident, self-reliant, and more in tune with yourself. Stay confident and motivated by downloading affirmations (we’ve got a bundle of them here), making a vision board (learn more about them here), and reflecting on each day before going to bed. If you are journaling, take some time to learn more about yourself and how you think.

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