Having run my business now for nearly four years, I’ve come to realise that the habits (both good and bad) that I had as an employee have followed me into self-employment. Whilst many support my business (such as acting on inspiration, writing and blogging prolifically and making lists), there are some bad habits which have had an adverse effect on my business and if I hadn’t nipped them in the bud, would have ruined my business for sure.
And, having spoken to fellow entrepreneurs and business owners, it would seem there are three commonly shared bad habits that could be the difference between success and failure in your business.
Do you have one of these habits and are you looking to break them? Read on, as I share exactly what actions you can take to transform them and do something about them!
1. Marketing sporadically
There’s a common pattern in businesses. You invest time, money and resources into marketing your products and services. You get more customers (yay!). You stop marketing (because you’re busy with the new customers). You fail to fill up your pipeline and end up panicked, doing another big marketing push to get more business in.
Whilst it works, to a point, it’s stressful and completely unnecessary. Once I realised that panic-marketing on a sporadic basis was actually a lot more hard work and effort than consistently marketing my business, it helped me break this bad habit and switch things up.
How to break the sporadic marketing bad habit:
- Spend time every day on marketing.
- Create a marketing calendar and stick to it.
- Batch your marketing and schedule it (e.g. writing newsletters one day a month and scheduling them out over the next 4 weeks).
- Create marketing campaigns that run consistently in the background to timely campaigns and offers.
Procrastination has been the bane of my business life. To be honest, it was a bad habit even as a student and then an employee. For some reason or other, if I could put off a task until the deadline was looming and imminent (and therefore the pressure was ON) I would.
I used to claim that procrastination was an amazing tool in helping me get things done and that I did my best work under pressure, in truth, it was stopping me from achieving so much more in my business.
How to break the procrastination bad habit:
- Break tasks into small pieces and just do the first step.
- Keep distractions (like social media notifications) to a minimum.
- If you catch yourself procrastinating, change your environment (I found going out and working in a coffee shop made me way more productive).
- Get accountability and someone to keep asking you how you’re progressing and remind you that results come before comfort.
- JDI – just do it.
3. Trying to do it all
As entrepreneurs and business owners we wear many hats. Especially when you’re in the start-up phase and are doing the job of five people all on your own. Just because it’s how most businesses start, doesn’t mean it’s helpful or healthy for your business.
Trying to do it all yourself (or holding on to control when it’s time to delegate) is a bad habit most business owners won’t care to admit they’re guilty of. But it’s harming your business. Because once you get to a stage of profitability where you can afford to get support, your time is much better spent growing and building your business than trying to man the whole ship, and clinging on to every task because that’s how you’ve always done it is how bad habits form (and stick).
How to break the trying to do it all bad habit:
- Identify your zone of genius (ZOG) – the tasks in your business you uniquely excel at.
- Identify the tasks that aren’t your ZOG and you can outsource to someone else.
- Outsource just one of those things to begin with (e.g. bookkeeping is often a good starting point).
- Once you’re used to the first task being outsourced or delegated, pick another.
- Keep note of the hours you’ve gained from outsourcing and delegating and how that’s contributed to growing your business and giving you more time doing the work you’re best at.
No matter what bad business habit you’re trying to break, the first step is acknowledging that it’s no longer beneficial to you or your business. From there you can make small changes on a daily basis to break it. Reports show it takes 22-66 days to form a new habit, and therefore it takes that long to break a bad one! So stick with it for a month or two and you’ll find that bad business habit is no longer a threat to your success.