How to Break Bad Habits That Are Holding Your Business Back

by Sha Drena Simon . November 29, 2017
What's really holding your business back?

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is a strategy that only works until it doesn’t. Bad habits can cause your business to lose money, burn through talent, or fall behind competitors. Some bad habits don’t hurt profitability right away, but instead contribute to changes in culture that can make a major failure more likely in the future.

Once you learn how to break bad habits within your business, you can identify and change them before they become major problems.

8 Bad Business Habits That Are Preventing You from Being More Successful

Taking inventory of your business practices to determine which ones need to change or be implemented. Some of the habits you thought were helpful could actually hamper your business.

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Bad Habit #1: Fear

The risk you took when you launched your business must be followed-up by more if you’re going to continue to succeed. Fear of failure could hold you back from taking profitable, calculated risks. Some might even be necessary for the survival of your business, especially if yours is in a fast changing industry or locale.

How to Change it

Build risk into your business model. Take a look at potential losses and gains from changes, as well as the further opportunities success could make available to you. Even failures can provide important learning experiences that can pay off later.

Read: How to Deal with Failure: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Bouncing Back

Bad Habit #2: Not Keeping Up with The Latest Business Trends

What worked for your business when you started it might not work today. Your business could be obsolete, but you might not even realize it until you can’t find any new clients. Less dramatically, you could be missing out on new markets or ways to do your business even better.

How to Change it

Set aside some time for research and development. Build this into your company culture and budget. Simply read a few articles on your own time won’t be enough to know about the newest changes in your industry and the best ways to adapt to them.

Bad Habit #3: Not Hiring the Right Talent

Your business is only as strong as the talent it employs. The right people can help to bring your vision to life and expand it in ways you hadn’t previously considered. With the wrong people, you could face turnover problems, poor morale, and failure to achieve your goals.

How to Change It

Hire talent that fits the culture of your organization. This can cut down on attrition and can help productivity. Try looking for people who have greater expertise than you in whatever role you hire them for. By doing his, you can bring new capabilities to your organization others can build on.

Bad Habit #4: Managing Instead of Leading

It’s necessary to give our orders as a business owner, but this is not the same as leading. A leader inspires their followers and can help them to perform their best. This doesn’t happen if your approach is entirely managerial, and consists of making every decision for your subordinates,.

How to Change it

Make the division of power within your business clear with your managers. Consider leaving day-to-day operations to them, while giving them advice and focusing on the bigger decisions regarding the direction you want to take your business.

Bad Habit #5: Never Taking Time Off

As an entrepreneur, your business is probably the main focus of your life. It’s exciting to work toward your goals and feel a sense of accomplishment as you see your vision come to life. However, even if you don’t feel like burn-out is a risk, taking step back can help you gain a new perspective of your business, and new ideas on how to make it even better.

How to Change it

Choose managers who can effectively run the business in your stead. This can also help you run your business more effectively when you are present. Leave behind some emergency contact information, but try to put as much distance between yourself and work as possible.

Bad Habit #6: Intertwining Your Work and Personal Life

It’s common for your personal and professional lives to overlap, especially if you have friends or family involved in your business. Unfortunately, while there can be advantages to mixing the two, any conflicts that arise could be hard to contain in either one. This could strain your relationships outside of work while also negatively affecting operations in your business.

How to Change it

Unless there’s a compelling reason, you should avoid working with friends or family. If you do work with them, both parties should agree to work with each other in a purely professional manner.

Bad Habit #7: Wearing Too Many Hats

Your business is your baby, and you probably want to be involved in every aspect of it. However, you can easily overextend yourself if you try to handle all of the work on your own. The possibilities for your business will also be limited by your own strengths and weaknesses.

How to Change it

Delegate responsibilities to others who have skill sets that can complement yours. In addition to taking weight off your shoulders, they can provide insight to help make their own department, and your business, better.

Bad Habit #8: Setting Unrealistic Goals & Projections

Setting goals that far exceed your business’s capabilities can actually be counterproductive. You could take on too many clients, cut the quality of your service, and lose money, all to meet your new demand. In addition, changes that you make contingent on unrealistic projections might never materialize, harming your business.

How to Change it

Learning the numbers of your business, such as how fast you can complete a project or how much each unit of your product costs, is enough to give you a better perspective of your business's capabilities.

Read: Business Hit a Plateau? Use These 5 Strategies to Reignite Your Growth

Every business, no matter how well-run, has a few things it can improve. Identifying and changing your bad business habits when times are good could not only help you avert disaster later on, but can also improve your business right now.

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