Building a business is harder than it looks, despite the unbelievable rewards a successful business can bring. Second only to raising children, building a business is a roller coaster ride of extreme highs and gut-wrenching lows.
It’s easy to think that we’re alone in facing the challenges of building a business. The truth is…many have gone before us, and they not only paved the way, but successful founders can teach new entrepreneurs how to avoid the pitfalls of business ownership.
3 Pitfalls to Avoid as an Entrepreneur
As one of those pioneers with a track record of launching and growing numerous start-ups, there are three key pitfalls to avoid:
1) You are not your business
The BIGGEST mistake entrepreneurs make is that they BECOME their business.
They allow themselves to be defined by their business’ performance, from revenue, profit, employee and client satisfaction. They work harder than the need, and they make things more complicated then they have to be…all to prove that they are good enough.
You are NOT your business. Your business comes from your passion, but it is not who you are. Just like your children have a mind of their own, your business has a life of its own, and you can’t BECOME the business. Build your business, but don’t become your business.
2) Don't confuse quality with perfection
The second pitfall business owners make is that they confuse quality with perfection. Entrepreneurs have a deep desire for quality, control and excellence. They were born to set the standard and they are relentless perfectionists who obsess over every detail. They think their obsession is a commitment to quality, but it’s actually an illusion of perfection. Quality is relative, subjective and situational. What the entrepreneur thinks is a “quality product” a customer may devalue. Perfectionism is NOT quality, and in many cases, by needlessly chasing perfection, the entrepreneur will take his focus off of the things that matter. Business owners chase perfection when they make that all-time faux pas of becoming the business. When we unknowingly believe our value rests in the perfection of our business, we are doomed to fail. Business is perfectly imperfect. Get used to it.
3) Avoid obsessing over minute details
The third mistake business owners make is they obsess about minute detail. Versus spending time prioritizing the things that really matter to making a business grow.
3 Priorities for Success in Business
There are ONLY three priorities for business success, and all resources (including the entrepreneur’s time) should be allocated against these priorities.
1) Generating New Business
By focusing on lead generation and sales activities with more than 50% of the business owner’s time, the business will maintain its growth. Businesses, like people, are either growing or dying, so if the entrepreneur’s focus isn’t on growing the business, it will start to die
2) Growing and Serving the Business You Have
40% of all prioritization of resources should be placed on growing the existing business, by providing the best possible experience and ensuring customers are delighted. In addition, spend time thinking of ways to GROW with your customers. How can they become champions of your business, and tell your story.
3) Driving Efficiency
Believe it or now, only 10% of a business owner’s time should be spent here, even though most entrepreneurs obsess about details with time that would be better spent elsewhere. Building a business is messy. Make it better AS YOU GO. The reason why entrepreneurs spend too much time driving efficiency is because of the next two pit-falls.
So, regardless of where your business is on the scale of perfection, rethink your priorities, remind yourself that business is perfectly imperfect, and separate your value from your business.
You are MORE than your business.