Successful people are successful for a reason, they are not simply born lucky, they work hard at the right things to ensure they achieve their goals and are most importantly, open to opportunity. The thing that holds most of us back in terms of completing our tasks is our bad work habits, and most of us are content to get away with them for the foreseeable future. On the surface, these things make us a little less productive, and they might not look great in a performance review, but we live with them and have the view that everyone has their ‘stuff’. The problem is that if or when you set on to your entrepreneurial journey, everything changes. An entrepreneur needs more direction, has more authority and obviously more freedom, but they also have far more accountability for their decisions and habits. So, if you have any of the below bad work habits in your armory, it is best to nip these in the bud and start working towards getting rid of them.
Here are just 10 of the key bad work habits that you need to avoid at all costs in order to be a successful entrepreneur:
- Being too comfortable with your ways and change averse
The one thing we can all be certain of in life is change – it is a universal fact that change is inevitable. Time brings change and change brings new best practices. As an entrepreneur, if you’re not prepared to keep up and try new things, others will quickly eclipse your work. Spend some time each week reading about the latest innovations, trends and study findings in your industry. Listen to the ideas of people, because listening to outside opinions is a great way to start brainstorming. Take the risk of implementing a good idea, but bear in mind that not every risk is a success, but risk takers are generally the most successful business people. Come out of your comfort zone and try to expand your horizons.
- Not planning your time
If you are not a planner, you need to become one! Planning is one of the most important things that an entrepreneur must focus on. The freedom of becoming an entrepreneur can easily be abused without good planning. Like a business plan is important to set up a business, similarly planning your day ahead is important to stay focused on the tasks at hand. As an entrepreneur, if your priorities aren’t clear, you may never be able to achieve them and remember – time really is money – you need to use it well. Plan for each day, each week and each month – plot out everything you need to do and organise those tasks based on order of importance.
- Not communicating well
One of the major drawbacks of technological advancement is that people’s communication skills in general are not the same as they used to be maybe half a century back. But even in today’s day and time, most successful business people recognise that a range of communication skills are still vital to business. Waiting for emails is a waste of time and doesn’t allow for immediate clarification or explanation. Not updating team members, bosses or clients on project statuses and not communicating when you’re waiting on something creates a black hole ripe for missed connections and overblown expectations. Make sending project status updates a regular task on your daily to-do list—and don’t let it slip.
- Running late
This is a terrible habit and is not healthy for anyone in business generally. As an entrepreneur meeting with prospective clients or otherwise setting an example for the team, running late can damage your image. It’s okay to set your own schedule, but when you say you’ll be somewhere, you need to be there, and on time. Hence, make it a point to be on time every time.
- Delaying the decision making process
Procrastinating with decisions is not a habit that will serve you well in your own business. As an entrepreneur, you are expected to have decision-making capabilities. Decision-making can sometimes be easy but at other times it can be hard. Hard decisions may take their toll on you, but as an entrepreneur you need to come down on one side or the other – and live with it. Even a bad decision is better than no decision, so eliminate your habit of delaying decisions now.
- Learn to say “No”
We are brought up to be people pleasers and have a problem saying ‘No’. While this might work when you are at the beginning of your career and trying to climb that corporate ladder, when you become an entrepreneur, you need to get comfortable with saying no. Not every client is worth taking on. Not every employee candidate is worth hiring. Not every idea is worth pursuing. So, you must know when to say No and do it for the right reason
- Lack of trust
An entrepreneur tends to try to be all things to all people and wants to control every facet of their business. But, while as an entrepreneur it is a good thing to supervise, second-guessing everything your team does can hamper your team’s morale. This leads to massive inefficiency—a major hindrance of success. If you’re re-doing others’ work, then you can’t focus as much time and energy on your own work. Trust your team.
- Not appreciating advice
Advice should be listened to. Obviously there is no guarantee that all advice that you come across will be helpful, but never taking advice means you’re missing opportunities and repeating a lot of hard work and mistakes. Being independent and hardworking isn’t a bad thing, but unsuccessful people ignore input from others to their own detriment. Be open to learning from someone else’s mistakes and experiences. Analyse them and then decide your course of action.
- Not taking ownership
Accept blame for the mistakes you make. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we make mistakes. Unsuccessful people make excuses and point fingers, shifting blame anywhere but themselves. This makes you look unprofessional and unaccountable. Hence, it is advisable to acknowledge that something went wrong and form an action plan to keep it at the top of your mind for next time to ensure you don’t make the same mistake again.
- Negative thinking
You cannot be negative if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. Negativity is very dangerous for any venture that you seek to accomplish. If you’re negative about your company or job performance, that negativity can easily affect your actual quality of work. Negativity hampers your dedication towards the task at hand, which in turn reflects in the outcomes at a later stage. So, just ditch that negativity and put your best foot forward towards achieving your dreams.
A habit is a habit because it is behavior that has been repeated over and over. It is for this reason that habits are hard to break, especially when breaking that habit pushes us outside of our comfort zone. But, the journey to success is about facing up to our fears, creating new behaviours and good habits that will serve us well in new endeavours. Kick these habits and you are well on your way to a successful future.