There is a lot of good advice out there about how to start and run a business. Where you should go, what you should do, and habits you would do well to cultivate abound in business literature.
But a significant part of business and life is knowing what not to do. Balancing the do’s and don’ts will help you remain on task and focused on your business.
Below, we’ll explore four things not to do as an entrepreneur:
1. Don’t Forget to Set Goals
Just as you likely produced a detailed business plan to get started, you also need to set goals once the company is up and running. These may include strategies for HR, finance, marketing, and other day-to-day operations tasks. Failure to do this means you may be spending more time dealing with these problems because the direction wasn’t thought out previously.
Goals can also include key business principles such as how many new products to create or what services to offer. Goals could also include a growth rate or profitability level. Forgetting to consciously set goals with the same enthusiasm as a detailed business plan leaves too much to chance and means there is nothing to measure yourself by over time.
2. Don’t Forget to Pass the Hat
Many founders wear all the hats in the beginning. This habit may be necessary initially, but as soon as growth kicks in, that weight becomes unmanageable. The problem is that entrepreneurs and owners often continue to try and do most of the work for all key positions.
Even after growth is established and employees have been technically hired to handle one of the many “hats,” many founders find it difficult to let go of key decisions. There are numerous examples of finance managers not being allowed to trigger payments, manufacturing managers not being able to place material orders, and logistics staff not being able to ship finished goods because the founder still does all decision-making.
As your enterprise grows, your responsibility will grow too. Make good hires and pass the hat so you won’t be bogged down by trying to do it all!
3. Don’t Ignore Mistakes
Mistakes happen. And in a fast-paced startup with lean staffing, it can be easy to ignore errors. While workarounds may serve a budding business, as your company scales, they can result in a broken process that drags profitability.
When producing ten product units, making a daily manual change to address a problem is acceptable. However, it would be unsustainable when units are in the thousands or you’ve farmed your production out to contractors who don’t know where to look.
Ignoring mistakes also impacts your ability to learn and innovate. Many companies use their mistakes as teaching and training opportunities. Others find that by analyzing mistakes, they can uncover a path to innovation in processes, products, or services.
4. Don’t Pass Up the Opportunity to Help
A new business is exciting and challenging but can also be overwhelming. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask for and receive help.
The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College offers programs and assistance in entrepreneurship, mentorship, innovation, and R&D. Our programs guide and facilitate growth for new leaders.
HBEC has a diverse staff, hands-on help from students, and a deep and active connection to business leaders who have experienced the challenges of entrepreneurship and who can help you with both what to do and what not to do.
Contact us to learn more.