If you are an entrepreneur, your role is very different than if you were employed by somebody else. At the end of the day, the responsibility for running your own business lies at your feet and any bad decisions you make are ultimately things that later on you will have to either stand behind or work to make right. Here are our Top 5 Tips for avoiding bad business practices that you might come to regret:
1. Changing the direction of your business completely is fine and in many cases it is entirely needed to ensure survival. But if you are changing the focus of your business on an annual basis or even more frequently than that, what kind of message are you sending to your employees and customers?
Employees will be unsure about the future if you are unable to commit to any strategy for more than a few weeks. They might live in constant fear that their jobs could be at risk and look for a more stable position elsewhere. More importantly, it will also leave your customers scratching their heads in confusion!
2. Hiring people who will only agree with you (or punishing them for disagreeing) is insidiously damaging for the long-term future of the business. You won’t notice any issues at first, but building a culture of “yes men” who are too afraid to challenge you on some of your decisions will mean that your business ignores or overlooks problems that develop into bigger things over time.
3. Don’t focus on the micro and overlook the macro. If you spend all day dealing with one difficult customer to the detriment of all your other ones, you are ultimately putting the overall health of your business at risk. There is a well known saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and it is particularly appropriate when it comes to running your own business.
4. Try to not annoy your customers or the people who work for you. Remember that customers pay your wages and one frustrated and upset customer is likely to go out of their way to tell many more people about why your company is bad than ten people who were satisfied with their experience.
Likewise, dismissing the quality of the work of one of your employees is only going to serve to either annoy or upset them – constructive criticism would be far more effective. Empathy is a valuable tool to learn for any business owner that keeps infuriating their staff or customers.
5. Self-confidence is great (in fact it is essential for any entrepreneur) but being self-confident to the point where you never doubt any of your own decisions or methods is a dangerous attitude to have. Questioning your own decisions is a healthy part of entrepreneurial growth.