It is not easy to be an entrepreneur. You have lot of things to handle and, at times, the pressure becomes too much. A report by Gallup found 50 percent businesses fail within the first five years. There are several factors why there is such a high failure rate but one of the main reasons is the owner’s inability to do everything required to run a business.
In today’s dynamic work environment, entrepreneurs are performing many tasks, some of which are not necessary and only increase the burden. Let’s bust seven myths about entrepreneurship and help you be one of the entrepreneurs still in business after five years.
Myth 1. Early to bed is always a good thing.
Ben Franklin told us entrepreneurs long ago that “early to bed and early to rise” is essential, and it is a definite plus in certain situations. However, it doesn’t always work well for an entrepreneur. If anything, becoming a night owl improves productivity while sleeping late for some has its benefits. According to reports, night owls have a higher IQ and a much more creative mind than those who go to sleep early.
Research also suggests that starting early is advantageous. Since I love to sleep, this one has been challenging to adopt, but I’ve found that taking a power nap during the day has helped me adjust to this type of sleep schedule and boosted my energy levels. Adopt a new sleep schedule slowly, staying up an hour later at first and gradually adding more late-night time while doing the same incremental changes to the morning wake-up call.
Myth 2. Never lose focus.
Actually, too few distractions can stunt your creativity. There are apps specifically to help you to avoid distractions but, according to medical science, getting distracted has several benefits. It helps you concentrate and sharpen your creative skills in the longer term. Distractions also refresh your mind because you are taking your focus off something that wasn’t getting solved anyway. It is important to take breaks at work for better brainstorming and greater energy.
To help me not become distracted for too long, as it is so easy to do, I use a time tracker app to assess how I have spent the day as well as an alarm that tells me it’s time to get back to work.
Myth 3. Don’t stress over the small stuff.
With the level of stress that is common at work and in life, there’s plenty of advice out there about not sweating the small stuff. While that’s true, it can become all too easy to adopt an easy-going attitude about everything. However, there are those moments that call for a little fierceness and a dash of aggression. In fact, a little stress can be very beneficial for entrepreneurs.
For example, when I tend to worry about a project or feel the pressure of a deadline looming, my effort increases and I end up doing a much better job than if I had taken a relaxed perspective. Just make sure that the stress doesn’t disrupt your sleep or cause other health issues.
Myth 4. No matter what, stay calm.
Sorry for the disturbing news but staying calm may cause you emotional dissatisfaction. It can be good to be angry, and psychologists believe you shouldn’t internalize this emotion. The anger allows you to reconcile your differences and feel lighter. While entrepreneurs are taught to stay calm in all kind of situations, there are times when it is appropriate to show this emotion.
For example, if you find that someone has stolen proprietary information or an employee has plagiarized content. If you don’t demonstrate that you are angry, then these other people and others will assume you are a “push over” and will identify you as an easy target. However, don’t ever get violent or ‘too angry’ because this illustrates a loss of control. Instead, anger should be constructive and be used to improve relationships and get better results.
Myth 5. Never pass up a chance to cut costs.
There are two ways to increase profits: adding to the sales volume and reducing expenses. In attempting to lower costs, entrepreneurs can end up making grave mistakes by going for short-term gains that result in long-term losses. Always look at long-term profits instead of short-term gains. Spending more money can sometimes mean a lot more profit, and trying to save money on everything can cause you to lose money.
For example, if you’re purchasing a new vehicle for your business and consider getting it out of state, while this strategy has its benefits, there may be duties and other charges involved that lead you to pay more than if you had just bought it locally. If you’re trying to cut costs by handling all your vacation reservations, you might miss out on the thousands in savings that a booking company and their packages might offer. If you are thinking about reducing your team this month to save money, what happens next month when that big order arrives? That’s why I regularly measure strategies related to costs and profits before just going with the one that saves me money right now.
Myth 6. Always say ‘yes’ to another customer.
The reality if you plan to be in business for the long term is that accepting every project runs a big risk of getting the reputation as somebody who promises but doesn’t deliver. Never bite off more than what you can chew and digest. Many business owners take all work that comes their way without seeing their limitations because they adhere to the feast or famine perspective.
If you can build only five hundred boxes a month, then do not accept a contract for six hundred boxes until you are sure of completing the contract on time. If you don’t deliver on that new quantity, the client who placed that order will take their business elsewhere. Even worse, you will gain a reputation as an unreliable company to do business with, which may lead to further lost work.
Measure and assess your capacity before accepting extra work. And, wherever possible, consider if you can bring on temporary staff to handle the additional work. If you can’t, it’s better to decline the extra projects.
Myth 7. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who can do it all.
About the most common way entrepreneurs decrease their productivity is by trying to do every task themselves. Successful entrepreneur don’t handle all the work alone, they become good leaders who teams and delegate tasks. I was tempted to perform all work-related tasks and give into any control freak inclinations that appeared. I quickly realized that it lowered the quality of the experience for my customers. In the short and long term, I knew this would adversely impact my business and brand.
No one can humanly do it all. That’s why I have added to my team with remote freelancers and developers. I’ve also turned to automation software to handle many time-consuming tasks. The result has been a huge jump in productivity and customer satisfaction.
Challenge these myths and make the tweaks to how you do things as an entrepreneur. You will see the advantages almost immediately. While it’s hard to admit that you might be doing things all wrong, it helps to come to terms with that, swallow your pride and make the necessary changes. Your business and profitability will thank you for it.