Why Being So Serious Could Slay Your Start-Up

Why Being So Serious Could Slay Your Start-Up


There are many different kinds of people who build businesses. Some let their business consume them entirely and everything else suffers. Some have hobbies and a life that they integrate with work seamlessly.

Others start a business because they are unemployable, but for all the wrong reasons. Many entrepreneurs think that every decision they’re about to make is life changing, world ending and the most important thing that they will ever do.

They take a ‘no’ like a personal insult and assume that every gap in conversation signals a sales opportunity.

Related: The Bedtime Routines of 4 Exceptionally Successful People

Being too serious about your business can have a detrimental effect on your state of mind, company culture and relationships. You might think that hustling every lead until it’s dead or converted at any cost is the right approach and sometimes it is, but there is a place and a time for fun too.

I’ve been deathly serious about businesses before and I’ve also been so relaxed that I was almost asleep throughout.

There’s no easy way to decide how much focus is too much or how far you should push. It’s easy to slide into bad habits and turn people off your business. Find what works for you and clearly define how you want to achieve your ambitions.

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The ‘Always On’ guy

Integrating the things that you love into your daily habits is imperative. Ideally work should be one of these. But there’s a difference between integration and insanity.

I run a sock and accessory business but that doesn’t mean that because everyone has feet I should try to sell socks to everyone I meet. That’s too pushy. Sometimes restraint is the best sales methodology.

Hardcore sales people like to use the acronym ABC (Always Be Closing). Closing deals is great for your business but so is a network of people you trust and who trust you. If you’re constantly trying to exploit them for your next sale, your network will dwindle.

The ‘Never On’ Guy

On the opposite side of the scale is the entrepreneur who, no matter how hard people around them try, just doesn’t give a damn about their business. This is a rare affliction but it can be even more frustrating than the ‘always on’ entrepreneur.

Usually people who run their own businesses are driven, hard-working and have decided to avoid the big corporates and build something of their own. Occasionally I come across someone who really isn’t enthralled with the idea of running their own company, managing their own staff and bringing in meaningful revenue.

Often ‘never on’ entrepreneurs have stumbled into a decent idea or business and people that rally around them to send them leads to grow their business. They respond with a lackadaisical email a few days after the deadline has passed.

Serious entrepreneurs find it infuriating when money is left on the table or leads go begging. If you’ve chosen to work on something you love you shouldn’t struggle to answer phone calls or emails that will help your business grow. It’s important to prioritise but your company shouldn’t always be at the bottom of the list. 

The ‘Just Right’ guy

There isn’t a firm rule for what works and what doesn’t when it comes to business. Elon Musk likes to work without meals or sleep for days at a time, while the founders of Buffer.com like to travel around the world while they work on the business and grow their team and product.

Considering how personal the act of building a business is, it’s hard to say what is appropriate and what’s too far. There are many successful but pushy entrepreneurs who are hard to be around and that’s okay if you’re willing to be that person.

Related: 9 Things Successful People Won’t Do

There are also successful entrepreneurs who approach their business like the rest of their life; with a very laissez-faire attitude and that’s okay if you can make it work.

Building successful businesses is so hard to do, statistically and pragmatically, that whatever you think works for your business is what you should do. Just be conscious of how others are reacting to your tactics.

Nicholas Haralambous
Founder of the luxury sock company,, Nicharry.com , CEO and co-founder of Motribe before the company was successfully acquired by Mxit in August 2012.

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