We talked to business owners about common bad practices that hurt your business.
You’ve crossed off nearly every box as you’ve sought to improve your business—you have a great product, a solid business plan and incredible employees. But your business isn’t thriving as it should be. Why? The answer may be you.
Sure, external factors such as regulatory red tape, high taxes and a slowly rebounding economy affect your business’s success. But internal factors—namely, your personal and professional habits as an entrepreneur—are often just as important variables.
We talked to several entrepreneurs who identified habits that may sabotage entrepreneurial success.
1. Failing to Plan
“Now that they are their own boss and have freedom, [some entrepreneurs] don’t structure their days. Even though they are their own boss and took the leap into entrepreneurship, many can't manage themselves. They don't arrive at their desk at the same time each day. They are afraid to be structured for fear it will stifle their creativity, but really structure gives them even more freedom when set up right.”
—Erica Duran, Certified Professional Organizer, President of Erica Duran International
2. Not Switching Off
“So many small business owners just never switch off. For the first six months [of owning Mezoose Creative], I was answering emails as late as 11:30 p.m. I was working every day and every waking hour. This is stupid. Stop it. You are hindering your own creativity and mental clarity and you won't be helping anyone by doing that.”
—Maria Gallifuoco, owner of the digital design agency Mezoose Creative
3. Not Addressing Employee Turnover
“The only solution I have been able to come up with [to address employee turnover] is to build in place redundancy, where people train their counterparts and their replacements. The goal is to allow them to move into new and more challenging roles. If you aren't focusing on team development, then you aren't building a business.”
—Nathan Kaiser, owner of 2bar Spirits, a craft distillery in Seattle
4. Doing Business With Friends
When you engage a friend as a customer or client, the stakes are high: If everything goes right with the transaction, you're fine. But if there's a glitch—poor customer service, a bad product, a disagreement over payment—the relationship can suffer.
“If you lose money, you can always make it back. Not sure I can say the same for [losing] friends.”
—Marc Sampogna, owner of Canopy Brand Group, a Manhattan-based branding agency
RELATED: Tips for Working with Friends
5. Being a Perfectionist
“I wasted too many hours perfecting details customers ultimately didn't care about, which left me overlooking aspects that were important to the customers. I overcame this by stepping back and taking a look at how I spent my time, and realized I was perfecting details that didn't affect the product itself or how the consumer uses it.”
— Ryan Chaffin, Founder of NFNT, makers of wood watches