12 Things NOT to Do as an Entrepreneur
12 Things NOT to Do as an Entrepreneur

12 Things NOT to Do as an Entrepreneur

Published on September 11, 2023

There are close to 600 million entrepreneurs in the world today. Some entrepreneurs are more successful than others. They work in a variety of industries, but there are some constants that bind them all together.

Being an entrepreneur comes with ups and downs, but to ensure long-term success, you'll need skills. To set yourself up for success, you have to learn which skills of an entrepreneur are most important.

It's not always easy to navigate the murky waters of entrepreneurship. Don't make it harder on yourself by making rookie mistakes. Check out this guide to avoiding key errors in business ownership.

1. Don’t Procrastinate

Few things will cut into your new business success like procrastination. Your entrepreneurial skills can't truly shine if procrastination gets in the way.

While you may need to take breaks for self-care, it's important not to develop this bad habit. Procrastinating will just add more stress and workload to your already full plate, making success even harder to reach.

Entrepreneurs rely on strict schedules. Your schedule should make time for brainstorming, delegating, networking, and day-to-day tasks.

Doing so will help prevent procrastination, allowing you to keep up with your workload in a manageable way.

More than anything, make sure that you understand the psychology of procrastination so that you know the triggers and how to avoid them. People often procrastinate because they're perfectionists or have anxiety about the future.

Take a deep breath and recognize that success is built one day at a time. Your days are won one moment at a time. Develop an attitude for action and you can't go wrong.

2. Don’t Doubt Yourself

Pulling off any business venture requires unshakeable confidence. Self-doubt will cause you to move slowly on good ideas or back off from them altogether.

Self-doubt is natural, especially when you are trying something new and ambitious like entrepreneurship. The only way to succeed in spite of self-doubt is to stay focused on your goals and not let negative thoughts keep you from taking necessary risks.

To combat self-doubt, focus on why you started your business and create a plan for success that breaks down each goal into achievable steps. Remind yourself of the great things you’ve already accomplished, which will give you the confidence and determination needed to continue striving for more.

3. Don’t Pay too Much Attention to Others

This is a great piece of business advice and life advice in general. Focusing too much on other people's perceived successes, failures, and achievements will only leave you struggling to achieve your own.

Once you go down the rabbit hole of comparison, you'll develop analysis paralysis that can hamper your entrepreneurial success. It can be tempting to compare your progress to that of successful entrepreneurs, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Remember – everyone starts in the same place. It doesn’t matter where you are on the journey. All that matters is how far you go. Keep your eye on your own progress and stay focused on your goals. Take constructive criticism from those around you, but don’t let envy distract you from achieving your goals.

4. Don’t Lose Focus on Your Vision or Goals

Every part of your business planning hinges upon your ability to have vision and set goals.

If you have a big, ambitious idea for your business, it’s important to stay focused on that vision. Don’t get lost in the details. Know your ultimate goal and plan accordingly.

As you’re working through the day-to-day tasks of running your business, make sure they are taking you closer to what you want to accomplish. Also, if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to revise or abandon it altogether in order to stay true to your original goals.

Play the long game and break every part of it down into micro goals that you can scratch off your list.

5. Don’t Forget to Take Risks and Experiment Often

Taking risks is part of being an entrepreneur. As the former undisputed heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson is legendarily quoted as saying, "everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."

You might think your path forward is clear but you never know when something unexpected could happen. That’s why it’s important to be open to new ideas and approaches – aka, roll with the punches.

Experimenting in different ways can help you find opportunities that you didn’t even consider before. Being agile and fluid in the face of risk will actually help ensure your success.

In fact, your ability to take risks is one of the most important entrepreneur skills to have.

6. Don't Forget to Stay Informed and Educated

Running a new business is one thing, but you need to remain an avid learner if you're going to be successful. Invest in whatever courses, training, or coaching you need to become competent and masterful at your craft.

Continue your education every year so that you have the skills you need to thrive.

7. Don't Forget to Write a Business Plan

Business planning is essential if you're going to have any sort of longevity with your company. Make sure that you draw up a plan that outlines your mission statement, goals, and how you are going to accomplish them.

Outline things related to researching your competitors and understanding what kind of help you'll eventually need to hire. This plan will also tell you how much business capital you will need to get your company off of the ground, in addition to other important details for running the business. Failing to

8. Research Your Market

Due to the excitement of starting a business, many entrepreneurs fail to take the time to properly research their target market. This can be a costly mistake as it’s essential to understand your customer demographic, as well as competitor offerings and pricing.

Before launching your business, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research while also assessing potential risks and opportunities in order to objectively evaluate the viability of your venture.

9. Neglecting Marketing and Branding

Many entrepreneurs are so focused on their products or services that they neglect the importance of strong marketing and branding. A compelling brand story is essential for effective customer engagement and conveying your company’s message.

Most customers judge a business by its image, so make sure you invest in quality visuals such as videos, logos, advertising materials, and website designs to strengthen your branding identity. 

10. Not Networking Enough

Networking is one of the most valuable activities entrepreneurs can do. Establishing relationships with other professionals in your sector allows you to tap into invaluable industry knowledge and create potential partnerships or collaborations.

It’s also a great way to stay up-to-date on trends, solicit feedback and gain some free advice and moral support by talking with like-minded individuals who understand the issues you may be facing.

11. Not Establishing Short and Long-Term Goals

Many entrepreneurs dive headfirst into their business without an end goal in sight. This can be a huge mistake that can derail the entire process. It’s important to map out both your short-term and long-term goals for your business because it shapes your overall success.

Start by writing down what you want to achieve within the first year, then outline details such as revenue targets, growth objectives and even key milestones that need to be hit along the way. This will help you stay focused on the big picture and chart a path forward to success.

12. Ignoring Financial Planning Responsibilities

Financial management is an integral task for any business, yet one that is often overlooked or mismanaged. It’s crucial to stay on top of your finances and understand what financial resources you have available, so you can make informed decisions when it comes to diversifying investments, expanding operations, and more.

Reviewing your cash flow statement, taking out loans, and investing in the right budgeting tools will help you stay ahead of the curve – and hopefully, avoid any nasty surprises down the line.

Hire a certified public accountant (CPA) if you have to, and stay ahead of the game with your taxes so that you stay organized and keep your records straight.

Develop the Skills of an Entrepreneur

The sky's the limit for your success when you have the skills and spirit of an entrepreneur. Now that you know what not to do, you have the opportunity to start your successful business from scratch.

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