In 1989, one of my favorite books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was published. It became a national best-seller, making author Stephen Covey a household name. Covey wrote the book as a guide to help readers achieve self-mastery. As business owners, we must also achieve self-mastery. Mastering ourselves involves mastering our habits and making sure they are in alignment with the outcomes we desire. If you want a thriving business, examine your habits and make sure they’re not sabotaging your success. Make sure you are not practicing the six habits of ineffective entrepreneurs, as detailed below.
Habit 1: They Don’t Plan. In business, setbacks will occur. The best way to manage them is with prudence and foresight. We all know the familiar saying, If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Yet many entrepreneurs fail to implement strategic game plans to handle business mishaps. Illness, employee turnover, litigation, economic downturns, and financial crises adversely affect business. Rather than be reactive, be proactive and put risk management plans in place.
Habit 2: They Waste Time. Highly ineffective entrepreneurs fail to command their day. They lack the discipline to manage their time and get things done. What business legends and successful startups have in common is the ability to be productive and master their time. Business icon Jim Rohn said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” For entrepreneurs, this could not be more true. There’s far too much innovation and competition in the market to be idle. Therefore, minimizing distractions is a must. Try checking your e-mail and social media only at specific times each day. Look at your cellphone only on breaks. And, of course, wake up earlier and complete your most important tasks first.
Habit 3: They Wear Too Many Hats. You have one head, yet you’re wearing several hats. Can you imagine someone walking into your office wearing 10 hats? Wouldn’t they look crazy? Perhaps that’s how we look to the outside world when we take on so many roles in our business. We overextend ourselves, get out of balance, and on many nights lose sleep. When you’re the office manager, bookkeeper, and sales force, you don’t have time to be the owner. All your time is spent working in the business and not on it.
Habit 4: They Give Away Services. If you’re a service professional, listen up. Your expertise is your greatest commodity. It is not to be undervalued, devalued, or handed away free of charge. Your strategy and know-how, like any other product, must be monetized. If not, you may have a business now, but you won’t have one later. Remember, sustainability is built on sales, and sales make or break your business. So sell your services and never compromise your worth.
Habit 5: They Don’t Network. Not networking is another habit of ineffective entrepreneurs. I know that conversing with people you don’t know and hobnobbing with strangers aren’t always fun. However, sitting in your office tucked away in your own familiar world is counterproductive to your business. Getting out and building relationships is key to your success. The more you do it, the better you will be. Executive leadership expert Karima Mariama-Arthur says networking requires courage. She refers to courage as a muscle that must be used in order to get stronger. Mariama-Arthur recommends introducing yourself first, leaving a powerful impression, and most importantly, being yourself.
Habit 6: They Don’t Market. The marketplace is noisy with sounds from your competitors. From Facebook ads to YouTube channels, entrepreneurs are creating new avenues to market their business. What are you doing to compete? What marketing strategies will you implement to get the attention of consumers? This habit is not only ineffective but also adversarial to your success. Marketing is fundamental. Without it, your brand and your sales suffer.
Remember, building great habits that support your vision will ensure your success.
Teri Nichole Harrison is an attorney, success strategist and startup consultant for out-of-the-box entrepreneurs. She is CEO & founder of Fearless & Fabulous Worldwide, a personal development and business consulting company in Nashville, Tennessee. Teri is also founding attorney of the Tennessee Business Law Center and author of Winning at Entrepreneurship: Innovative Strategies for Small Business Success. For daily empowerment and business insight, follow Teri on Twitter: @_teriharrison and visit her website: www.ffworldwide.com.