You might be unintentionally sabotaging your startup in ways you have never considered. As the founder, you probably agonize over ways to increase your profits and efficiency. Why don’t you take the same analytical approach to your own behaviors? A lack of introspection can quietly cause problems and slow growth (or worse). As you look forward to the new year, commit to taking an objective look at your habits and methods. Each of these behaviors can have a range of negative consequences. All of them are counterproductive.
1. You Refuse to Ask For Help
There is a real difference between ignoring unsolicited advice and refusing help altogether. Most of us don’t like being told how to run our startup. You should be willing to ask for help when you need it. There is no shortage of other people who have solved problems just like the ones you have. Although it can be humbling to admit you need help resolving some issue, knowing when to ask for assistance is an important skill. If you refuse help and continue to depend on temporary solutions, you’ll find yourself grappling with the same issues for as long as you are in operation.
2. You Don’t Know Your Purpose
Why do you operate your startup? If the only reason you can think of is “to make money,” that’s problematic. Certainly, profit is on the list of reasons why you chose to get started. It shouldn’t be the only reason. If you haven’t already, you should think about your life’s purpose. What’s most important to you? What makes you the best? Maybe you care about helping people or want to give back to the community. Whatever you decide, your underlying purpose should be evident in everything you do. Making decisions this way helps ensure that every choice you make is the right one.
3. You Never Work On Your Startup
Do you spend the majority of your time addressing small problems instead of striving to improve? Working in your startup instead of working on your startup can lead to a variety of problems. If you feel like you are an employee in your own organization, something is wrong. Your time is better spent addressing big-picture issues and finding new ways to improve your practices. Instead of solving problems as they arise, try to discover the causes for the issues. Instituting new policies and changing your practices can help you avoid your troubles altogether.
4. You Use Time Ineffectively
As the adage goes, there are only so many hours in the day. It sounds like obvious advice, but you need to be sure that you use your time efficiently. A lot of startup founders fall into the trap of thinking that a busy schedule is a sign of success. It isn’t always the case. If you find yourself performing the duties of an employee and not an owner, you aren’t using your time effectively. Small, menial tasks that are familiar can be more comfortable and give you the illusion that you’re managing your time properly. Make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.
5. You Are Stuck in Your Old Ways
Change is hard. Human beings naturally resist it. Those who are successful embrace change and constantly search for ways to improve. As a new startup almost everything will be different, so you need to recognize and embrace this. Some people push back against change and justify it with an appeal to tradition. That is, they continue to do things a certain way because they’ve always done them that way. That’s not to say you need to change your methods if they are successful. The problem arises when you refuse to consider other options. If you can’t admit that there may be more effective methods or that your methods may be flawed, you are only hurting yourself.
You frequently measure the success of the decisions you make for your startup. However, all the spreadsheets and graphs in the world won’t save your startup if you are unconsciously sabotaging it. As you transition to the new year, take a look at your practices and methods. If you find yourself engaging in any of these habits, commit to changing them as soon as you can. Learning to find and address your flaws is a skill that takes practice. Start by having an open conversation with yourself. Where could you use some improvement? The sooner you start making changes, the sooner you’ll notice problems start to disappear.
Now is your turn!
Can you tell us an example of sabotaging your startup?
Did you manage to stop the bad behavior?
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