A lot has been said and written about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and I am most certainly not going to tell you what you need to become one. Knowing what not to do is as important (if not more) a part of your plan of action if you want to succeed at just about anything, be it a game of scrabble or a business venture. The rules remain the same…to win you need to avoid doing things that will set you up for loss.
This is why today I’m going to talk about the top 8 things that are stopping “you” from succeeding as an entrepreneur; so here are the 8 things that you should be doing but aren’t doing…
The sterling quality of a human being is humility. Knowing who you really are, acknowledging the fact that you are good at what you do but there are others who are better is a big part of the personality of the most successful people.
Only when you are humble will you be willing to listen to other people be they customers, employees, family or competitors. Humility is accompanied by an open mind which is your window to the rest of the world. Realizing the worth of an idea that is not your own, sensing its potential and the willingness to invest in it all come from humility.
Willing to Learn
This is a direct fall out of being humble. Only when you have humility will you be willing to learn the lessons that this journey called entrepreneurship is going to teach you. The “know all” position might seem like the loftiest and the best one there is but believe me it isn’t.
So if you are going to make presentation to clients and don’t know how to create a decent PowerPoint presentation be willing to learn from your assistant or partner who knows a thing or two. This will add to your knowledge bank and help you make a good presentation vis-Ã -vis making a bad one, painting a tardy picture for your business and losing out on a good order.
The most unsuccessful people in the world are those who are unable to let go. Be it a failed product launch, an errant employee, a rude customer or an unreliable supplier, you have to learn to let go. Don’t blow up things and beat yourself up over failures. This might seem too philosophical but take a deep breath and remind yourself”¦”this too shall pass”.
Building contacts with people is the life blood of any business and networking is important, in fact, critical for success. Get on Linkedin, Plaxo, Connecture and Bizsugar promptly. Connect; forge alliances and get the word out about your products, services and plans”¦watch your business and contacts grow!
The Ability to Recognize Ability
“What is more important than ability? The ability to recognize ability”, this is one of my favorite quotes. Be it an employee who knows much more about product planning and development or a friend who can design great accessories to go with the clothes you design, recognizing talent and ability, nurturing it and giving it room to grow is critical for business success.
Each of us has our limitations and so do you, you wouldn’t be human otherwise. So keep your eyes and ears open, spot talent and support ability instead of restraining it with orders, diktats and a closed mind.
Hire and fire is a thing of the past, it is a no good HR policy. To attract the best talent and keep it with you there are three things you need to do”¦recognize, reward and renew your commitment to retention of talent. This is not easy especially in the startup stage. You can start by outsourcing but if you want people to stay then make them stakeholders if you really want tem to stay and cannot afford to pay the going rate. That’s why Employees Stock Option Schemes and Sweat Equity shares evolved!
Giving Credit Where It is Due
Always recognize and appreciate good work. You add value to people when you value them, a simple mantra but its importance cannot be over emphasized. If an employee came out with an ad campaign that brought you in the public eye say that he did it, it will help you build your image as an employee centric firm and you will have motivated him to do better in future.
Avoid: criticism (unless absolutely essential)!
Ever since I read an article about businesses using barter to run, tide over difficult times, step out of debt traps and creating assets and partners I have become an advocate of barter for business. Be it letting artists stay at your resort for free in exchange for art or taking free photographs for your kids piano lessons at a music academy…barter is a model that can be used to overcome many a stumbling block in business. This really is the subject matter of an entirely different blog post!
Having said that, the simple formula for success is:
Assets-Liabilities= What to do to succeed in business-Knowing what not to do in business
What’s your take on this?