There are plenty of things we should all be doing more of in our businesses, but today we wanted to talk about some things we should all stop doing in business. Some of these are things that may have become habitual ways of operating for us – and yet, they’re holding us back. They’re sucking our time, and turning our focus onto the wrong things. Basically, they’re stopping us from making real progress with our businesses.
So here are the 7 things you should stop doing in business…
1) Stop thinking your problems would be solved with more capital
Most businesses should be profitable and stand on their own two feet. You might need a small amount of capital to tide you over, but except in a few specific types of businesses, thinking you need more money just shows that you’re not designing your business to be profitable. Cut costs and focus on revenues.
2) Stop thinking your problems would be solved with more staff
Sure, it would be great to have more people helping you, but the reality of most businesses is that this is not how it all begins. Map out the ideal organisational structure, but then work backwards. What are the first couple of positions you should hire for? And importantly, what revenue or profit milestones do you need to hit before you can justify these resources? Write them down and set them as goals. In the meantime, get used to being scrappy and get your own hands dirty.
3) Stop complaining about your staff
Almost every single business owner with staff does this – and yet, it does nothing useful but reinforce limitations. Firstly, accept the fact that no-one is going to do things the same way as you. You might eventually get some people that can do some things better, but generally these people cost decent money. Even if your staff aren’t perfect, look for the good in each of them and focus on that.
If you spend your days with people you’re constantly bitching about, you’re not going to have a good time! So see the good in people and learn how to have fun together.
(Of course, if you have serious staff issues, make the tough decisions and have the tough conversations. Everyone would be better off with someone else in that role.)
4) Stop complaining about your customers
Sure, there are some customers that are hard work who could do with an attitude adjustment, but the vast majority of people are actually very reasonable. If you’re finding that most people are unhappy, it might be time to have a hard look at the quality of your service/product, or perhaps the expectations that you’re setting through your communications.
Customers are the heart of any business – especially small businesses. Get to know some of them and understand where they’re coming from. To be successful in business you really do need empathy and a true love for your customers.
5) Treating your business like a hobby
You might have started your business as a project or a passion, but if you’re serious about growing this thing, it’s time to change how you think about your business.
Squeezing it in when you get time or when you’re ‘in the mood’ is not going to get you far. Even if it’s not your full-time thing, set aside some dedicated times that you can devote to your business. Put some systems in place. Set some goals. And most importantly, create a business plan (use our one-page business plan template here).
6) Getting Lost in an Overwhelming To-Do List
There’s always lots to do when starting and growing a business, but having a long-list of things that you hope to get through in a day is not going to help. The key is to prioritise what needs doing (you can try the bottleneck principle or the prioritisation matrix as tools to help). You’ll make a lot more progress by only focusing on a few things a day. Get disciplined and write out your top 3 priorities for today and then focus on them until they’re done.
7) Trying to be all Things to all People
You’ve probably heard the quote;
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everybody.”
And in business, this couldn’t be more true. You might be stuck in the trap of trying to be the cheapest and the highest quality solution around. This won’t work – you have to choose a strategy. Or, you might be stuck trying to service vastly different types of customers. In the long-run you’d be much better off getting clear about your target market and designing your business around their needs.
Remember, if you’re mediocre in the eyes of everyone, this is much less powerful than being amazing in the eyes of a few.
What are the things that you need to stop doing in business? Let us know about your experiences.