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Spring Clean Out These 9 No-Good Entrepreneur Habits for Start-Up Success

Are you guilty of one or more of these nine bad entrepreneurial habits? Well, you aren’t the only one, but these prosperous entrepreneurs have circumvented these challenges and found start-up success.

Nicole Crampton

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As an entrepreneur, your business is your baby, but as a parent you could find you’re being a touch overprotective.

Have you noticed some of these nine no-good habits creeping into your day-to-day practices?

Here is some advice from entrepreneurs who have found themselves in the same boat as you, and managed to turn things around:


Bad Habit No.9

Multitasking

multitasking-habit

Studies have revealed that your IQ level drops by 10% when attempting to multitask and productivity drops by 40%.

In fact, we should call multitasking, switch-tasking since you aren’t simultaneously completing two projects at once; you’re simply dividing your attention between them without allowing your brain to focus fully on one task at a time.

Trying to complete too many tasks at the same time can also reduce the quality of your final product. As an entrepreneur and the driving force behind your business, you don’t want to lower the quality of the products going out the door because you’re trying to do too much at the same time, or you think this process helps to increase your productivity.

Top Advice

“No one can be (switched) on 24/7, and the trouble today is that with Internet access and smart devices, we’re all reachable anywhere, receiving a constant stream of information we feel compelled to reply to.

Leaders tend to want more and more, but good managers should encourage their teams to take time off to recharge, and to encourage daily down time by making a habit of going offline,” say co-founders Melody Tomlinson and Diane Collier from the Performance Booster Programme.

“There’s also a multitude of studies proving that being ‘always-on’ negatively impacts your ability to be effective, and that downtime leads to higher productivity.”

Related: 7 Habits To Live By Even When The “Going Is Good”


Bad Habit No. 8

Failing to delegate tasks

business-delegation

To create a successful business, you need to be able to work independently as well as part of a team. But, if every project is causing a bottleneck when it hits your desk, then it could be a sign that it’s time to loosen the reigns a bit. Your workplace can be a harmonious environment if you include your team and share in the responsibilities of new projects.

It’s understandable that you’re nervous about giving someone else some control, but you can’t be everywhere and you can’t do everything. The sooner you allow your team to grow in responsibility and knowledge, the faster amazing results will start coming in your door. Your employees want to help you make your business great, which leaves you time to focus on the bigger picture and the strategy forward.

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“One of the most important things I have learnt is to let other people in your organisation take the lead,” says social entrepreneur and co-founder of DreamGirls, Ezlyn Barends. “That has been an important realisation for me as I am involved in many initiatives, which makes time a precious resource.”


Bad Habit No. 7

Not making decisions

not-making-decisions

When faced with a sudden expansion of their business, the executives at Jones Lang Lasalle had to quickly find space to accommodate the new team. They took the opportunity to revolutionise how they worked by opting for an activity-based work environment.

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“We chose The Firs in Rosebank because we wanted a pedestrianised, first-world location where our people can pop out for lunch or go for a walk whenever they choose. Because the move presented us with an opportunity to do something avant-garde, we decided to create a space that would double as a showroom for clients (which they love). We are living the offering that we’re proposing to clients and testing it in our own business,” explains Craig Hean, MD of JLL. 

Related: 3 Tough Habits You Must Drop To Succeed


Bad Habit No. 6

Allowing interruptions to happen

task-interruptions

The New York Times reported that the USA losses an estimated USD650 billion in productivity, due to constant staff interruptions.

Can your business really afford to lose on both productivity and money because your team is being unnecessarily interrupted throughout the day?

If you’re finding yourself in situations where you seem to just have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, then start noting down how this is happening in your day and for how long before you get back to the task at hand. If this is happening to you, it’s probably happening to everyone, and your company needs to set up rules about unnecessary interruptions.

When Z Capital, an investment and management consultancy group, started out, co-founder Amanda Cuba soon realised that she needed to focus on the strategy of her business, but prioritising planning over building a business seemed to be impossible.

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“In the beginning, I was involved on a tactical level, and strategy came second. Then my coach advised me to set aside time for strategy unless I wanted the business to fail, even if that meant putting a ‘do not disturb’ sign on my door,” explains Amanda Cuba co-founder of Z Capital.


Bad Habit No. 5

Doing everything on the fly

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PC: Pinterest

Being the go-to-person in your company can only take you so far. If there are vital aspects of your operation that can’t function without you, you could be setting your business up to fail. There have been cases where entrepreneurs have tried to sell their business, but because the entrepreneur is the business they were unable to.

It’s healthy to play a central role in your business, but you need to be able to step away from your business, and not lose sleep over projects that are not going to plan. Implementing systems and processes within your business can help you to create consistency throughout, which brings everyone on the same page a lot faster.

Founder, Yacoob Carr from Munaaz Catering Equipment realised early on that having systems and processes were so essential to a business that he created a business that offers creative chefs a framework to work with.

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“We love what we do because we provide the magic that makes everything happen behind the scenes. We give celebrity chefs like Luke Dale-Roberts, of The Test Kitchen fame, the tools to produce the wonderful dishes he creates. That gives me so much joy. Our clients are creators, and they inspire us. In turn, we take satisfaction from knowing that we add real value to their lives by helping them to meet their goals,” says Yacoob Carr from Munaaz Catering Equipment.

When customers choose Munaaz Catering Equipment, he explains, they purchase peace of mind, and not just a product. This is a critical factor in the hospitality industry and in the high-end food service business in particular, where consumers are fussy and have high expectations.

Related: 10 Habits That Help You Learn Twice As Fast


Bad Habit No. 4

Thinking short-term

short-term-thinking

Yes, thinking short-term can help you out of a tough situation, but there’s a time and a place for everything. If your business is surviving with tactics your team is developing from one month to the next, you may find it almost impossible to scale your business and hold on to customers when you’re not cultivating repeat business.

It may seem like your company is doing well but you need to shift gears and plan for the long game if you want to scale and retain clients. Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane from ShowLove created a unique business that thrives on solid relationships that he cultivated long-term.

Top Advice

“I’ve stopped taking on one-off jobs. I think it’s better to create a long-term relationship with a client. When considering a new job, you have to ask if the job is worth your time. Is it big enough, or will it only be diverting you from jobs that are potentially more lucrative?

Getting repeat work is not about being the cheapest, but about being the best. If you can show that you really add value, clients will be more than willing to pay, explains Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane from ShowLove.


Bad Habit No. 3

Taking unnecessary risks 

risk-taker

Starting your own business can be risky; you took a big risk from the word go when you started your business. But there’s a difference between taking calculated risks with the potential for reward, and unnecessary risks caused by poor systems and processes and ‘unforeseen’ circumstances.

The digital landscape, for example, allows you to connect with more of your customers than ever before, but it also leaves you open to PR nightmares. There are numerous channels of communication available that you will need to somehow manage, or risk damaging your company’s image.

Top Advice

“Scenario planning and risk management is incredibly important,” says Magna Carta CEO Vincent Magwenya.

“You need to have some sort of strategy in place for the day when you find yourself at the centre of a social media debacle. An online catastrophe arrives quickly and unexpectedly, and managing it effectively can be tough. The last thing you want to do is to lash out like a snake trapped in a corner, behaving counter-productively and fanning the flames, so you want a strategy in place that will take emotional responses out of the equation.” 

Related: 5 Habits Of The Wealthy That Help Them Get Rich


Bad Habit No. 2

Not listening 

not-listening

You chose your team for their knowledge, expertise and experience; by not listening to what they have to say you’re only making more work for yourself.

As the creator of the business, some entrepreneurs feel the onus is on them to come up with all the ideas and strategies. But this isn’t true; your team are a part of your business because they want to help you achieve success.

Otherwise, it’s as if you have a great rugby team, but all your players are sitting on the bench and you’re the only one on the field. How can you succeed like that? The only trick is, hiring a great team to begin with, so you can feel comfortable collaborating with your staff.

Top Advice

“People go to work to fulfil what’s most important to them. Because of this, you need to ask yourself two questions when hiring an employee: Does the prospective employee’s vision align with the company’s, and will their daily tasks inspire them.

You need to find out what a person’s values are. If a job in no way aligns with what a person is already dedicated to, the fit won’t be ideal and the work will suffer,” explains Dr John Demartini of The Demartini Institute.


Bad Habit No. 1

Taking on too much without direction

no-direction

The benefit of adopting a Lean Start-up methodology is that it provides a start-up the opportunity to find its niche and become the best at delivering its product or service. Your business could find itself in trouble if you are trying to be in every part of your value chain and offer your customer everything they could ever need.

At some point you will find your business is just stretched too thin and can’t maintain competitiveness operating in so many different, diversified spaces. This is when you need to decide to pull the reigns back, and figure out exactly what you want to do with your business and where you want your business to go.

To make your start-up a success you need to find your niche and you need to launch into that niche with everything your business has. You need to own that niche and everything there is to do with it, become the best at what you do, even if you only offer one product.

Top Advice:

Smaller operations can remain competitive even when behemoths invade their market. Despite the presence of Apple Music, Indie Shuffle has remained relevant by offering niche content that’s carefully curated, and by staying at the forefront of technology. It might depend on tastemakers rather than algorithms for curation, but it fully realises the importance of technological innovation,” explains Jason Grishkoff of Indie Shuffle.

Read next: 5 Habits That Made Elon Musk An Innovator

Nicole Crampton is an online writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa. Nicole has also completed several courses in writing and online marketing.

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Self Development

Why Your Professional Persona Matters

You don’t have to become a different person to succeed in business.

Timothy Sykes

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For superheroes, getting into professional mode is as easy as slapping on some spandex, a mask and a cape. For the everyday entrepreneur, however, the proper work mindset is less about attire and more about adopting a professional persona.

Your professional persona is your personal branding in the workplace. It refers to the way that you conduct yourself publicly in a business setting, and the image you project to coworkers and colleagues. Far from contrived or inauthentic, it’s simply the polished-up way that you present yourself professionally.

How do I develop a professional persona?

It’s actually extremely easy to develop a professional persona. All you have to decide is who you want to be in the workplace, and then take efforts with your attitude, dress, and conduct to become that version of yourself. Action follows intention, and over time, you’ll find that adopting your professional persona feels as natural as putting on your coat before leaving the house.

Now that you understand what a professional persona is, let’s talk about why you should work on cultivating one and what you stand to gain.

Create a self fulfilling prophecy

Success is typically hard-earned and slow in the making. However, if you take the time to develop a professional persona, it can help bring success sooner. If you conduct yourself casually and informally in the workplace, you’re less likely to be taken seriously and might spend far longer in the career trenches.

But if you make a concerted effort to conduct yourself with the professionalism of a manager or CEO, you’ll make yourself a more desirable candidate for advancement. Since you’ve already demonstrated the appropriate attitude for higher level positions, you’re more likely to be thought of when opportunities arise.

Related: 25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

Focus on what’s important

When you establish a professional persona, you put yourself in the right state of mind for work. This can help you attain your career goals.

Say, for instance, that one of your big career goals is to become a leading authority in your field so that you can become the next TED Talk celebrity. With this specific goal in mind, you can tailor your professional persona so that it can help advance you toward this goal. For instance, you might begin speaking at local networking events or starting a topical podcast. Doing things like this will help you establish a professional persona of being an expert in your niche.

Make yourself indispensable

One of the best ways to create job security is to make yourself indispensable in your position. A professional persona can help by letting you establish recognisable and dependable hallmarks in your working style.

For instance, perhaps part of your persona is that you are the person who always meets his or her deadlines on time. In time, this will become part of your professional identity and will be part of how people see you in your office or field. When others know and trust that they can depend on you, you’ll make yourself indispensable. Over time, this can have a powerful and positive effect on your career.

Be taken more seriously

A casual attitude is fine when you’re hanging out with friends. But in a professional setting, it may be holding you back. When you present yourself with a more polished professional persona in work settings, you’ll be taken more seriously. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work, of course. But it does mean that you should conduct yourself with an air of professionalism and should never engage in bad habits like gossip or use language that might come back to haunt you later.

Remember: You get what you give. When you act respectfully in the workplace, you’re more likely to be treated with the same respect.

You’ll get more followers

More and more, entrepreneurs are using social media to attain a higher professional status or to attract more business.

When you take the time to develop a professional persona, you adopt a personal style, a way of articulating, and potentially even an aesthetic. These things add up to more clear and compelling personal/professional branding. This can help you maintain a consistency on social media platforms that makes your posts recognisable. Over time, this can lead to additional followers, which can mean more opportunities for selling, career advancement, and more.

Develop a thicker skin

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t take things personally in the professional sphere. But anyone who has ever experienced rejection or criticism in their career knows that this is much easier said than done.

Your professional persona can help give you some personal armour. When you have a professional persona, it can be easier to separate your personal life from your work to a greater degree. No, this doesn’t mean that you won’t feel any pain when things go wrong, but it will allow you to compartmentalise in a positive way, so that an issue at work doesn’t impact your personal life quite as much.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Company Posts

6 Steps To Cultivate A Success Mindset

What does a winning mindset mean to you? It’s what has separated the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and Floyd Mayweather from fellow professional athletes. Adopting a similar approach could help you achieve massive success in 2019 and beyond.

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A winning mindset is the trait that allows you to persist even when defeat looks like the most probable outcome. People with a winning mindset are much clearer about the process to attain their goals. They are not afraid of failure as long as they believe that they’re doing the right thing. That’s the difference between winners and losers.

1. Persist and understand that you must put in the work before you see results

The most successful people embody the principle of a winning mindset, because very few people in the world, be it in sports or business, can succeed without having to overcome obstacles. It’s seldom that talent is all one needs to succeed in any endeavour, otherwise most people would be successful.

A good way to understand this principle is to observe professional athletes before and during tournaments. Anybody competing in professional sports, such as the Olympics, has the talent but not all professional athletes are winners. A number of their memorable victories were achieved when they came from behind, when it looked like they were losing.

2. Press the reset button for the new year

The new year is notorious for long lists of resolutions that are not honoured and ultimately remain wishes. That said, the dawn of a new year tends to bring with it positive energy and a commitment to do things differently.

Entrepreneurs need to approach the New Year with a simple goal to do better than the prior year in whatever endeavour they are undertaking. It is important to build on current success or failure, and then commit to go one up. That way, the goal won’t seem unattainable.

Related: Many SMEs Start With Great Plans But Fail To Take The Big Leap

3. Take small incremental steps

The first step is to be clear about the goal and to write it down where you can see it every day. The second thing is to map the process of how you will get there, broken into small steps. From there onwards, focus on the process and not the goal as this allows one to achieve small but important victories. This needs to be backed up by an appropriate support system, associating with like-minded people.

4. Don’t stop upskilling yourself

Success in business is about creating shared value and solving real-world challenges that customers grapple with. Skills are therefore necessary to achieve success, so upskilling oneself is never a bad investment. It’s good to know something about everything, but ultimately one needs to know everything about something.

Some skills will be brought in through hiring staff, others through outsourcing and in some cases through strategic alliances.

5. Remember that no goal is static

One of the most important things to always remember is the goal, and that the goal is dynamic; it will have to be adjusted along the way. Business leaders can therefore celebrate the small victories fully aware that there is more work to be done. Achieving temporary success is easy, especially with all the tenders around, but building a sustainable business and staying on top requires persistence and hard work.

Related: Organisational Design Disruptions Do Not Occur In A Vacuum: Future Business Models

6. Your top tool is in your head

It’s all in the mind, backed by passion and a strong desire to succeed. If anything, business leaders need to train themselves to be uncomfortable with the status quo, not to get too comfortable with the present.


Why Not Consider The Acca Qualification For 2019?

ACCA professionals are more than accountants. They think holistically, consider challenges in the context of business and have strong strategic and leadership skills. Visit www.accaglobal.com for more information.

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Self Development

Taking Care Of Mental Health Is Powerful, Not Weak

Charlamagne Tha God talks success, anxiety and mental health.

Lewis Howes

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It’s time to open up. No matter what you’re dealing with, you’re not alone.

There is nothing shameful about having anxiety. Think about this acronym for FEAR – you either Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The more you confront the things in your past you don’t want to do with, the more you’ll be able to move forward. So, are you going to run from your fear, or face it?

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about anxiety and PTSD with a man who has become an unofficial mental health advocate: Charlamagne Tha God.

New York Times bestselling author Charlamagne Tha God is best known for being co-host of the nationally syndicated hip-hop iHeartRadio program “The Breakfast Club.” He is also a social media influencer; an executive producer with his own production company, CThaGod World; and co-host of the popular podcast Brilliant Idiots.

Charlamagne says that refining his life’s mission and examining his past helped him take control of his anxiety.

Don’t allow anxiety or depression to cause you to keep suffering. Learn about Charlamagne Tha God’s mental health struggles and what he did to restart his life on Episode 721.

Related: The Business Of Anxiety In Business: Giving Heroes Permission To Feel Vulnerable

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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