Everyone is always telling you what you should do to be successful in business. I thought for a change, I’d tell you (based on my own bitter/sweet experiences) some of the things you really shouldn’t do. Here are my top nine DON’TS when it comes to being successful in business:
1. DON’T start or continue a business with no idea of why what you offer is needed and wanted. Find your niche, be sure people want what you have and have a plan for how you will grow this business into the future.
2. DON’T believe you are the only one who can do what you do as well as you do. No matter what you do, no matter how specialized it is… there will be others out there who can be trained to do it just as well as you… if not better. Get your ego out of the way. Or you will become your business’s biggest liability when it comes to growth.
3. DON’T be afraid to hire people. You cannot do it alone. No one will ever buy a business that is dependent on its owner. You must build a team around you. This is, however, one of the most challenging aspects of business and most small business owner often make a complete mess of it to start with. Which leads us to DON’T number 4…
4. DON’T do your own HR. Most business owners are better leaders than they are managers. You can probably inspire people to want to work for you with your vision, your passion and great ideas. But an employee will never share the same level of passion as you, no matter how good they are at their job. Get an expert (HR consultant) to get the right tools and processes in place to motivate your team and manage their performance effectively.
5. DON’T try to grow too fast. You need people – but you need to know you can afford them first. Make sure there is enough forward cash flow in the business first – don’t hire them hoping the business will miraculously appear out of nowhere to pay for them.
6. DON’T ever believe that doing the work is more important than selling the work. Learn to do the IN/OUT dance – make the out there selling part of your job as important as the in there doing. You must have a sales pipeline in place at all times, always thinking about where your income is coming from next.
7. DON’T try to run a business without a budget. Business is a financial game, and you must lead with the numbers. Project your sales, set your expenses – have a plan to achieve these and then make the plan happen. Lead with the numbers. Create strategies to achieve financial targets and take action.
8. DON’T try to do it on your own. Business can be a very lonely game. Especially in the early days when you are doing everything. Even if you have a business partner or management team, it’s too easy to be introspective and talk yourselves into believing what you are doing is right. Get an external perspective on your business right from the start – a mentor, advisor, Board, Advisory Board… someone who will challenge your strategies and hold you accountable to your goals.
9. DON’T let the bastards grind you down! There is an extremely high probability that at some stage during the life cycle of your business you will want to quit. You will hate your clients, hate your staff, hate your suppliers and maybe even hate yourself for putting up with all their crap. You will have days like these. I call them duvet days. Go home, pull the blankets over your head and hide. But come out fighting again the next day, because as I saw on a billboard once: “I’m not saying it will be easy, I’m saying it will be worth it”.
Hope you liked this blog post. Now DON’T be shy… share your comments below, let’s get talking about the DO’s and DON’Ts of business success!
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