The end of the year is almost here. As we reflect on our triumphs and joys in the past year, let’s also take stock of areas where we have failed.
As yet another year draws to a close, entrepreneurs who had a fruitful year will remember it flying past them in a blink of the eye. But for those struggling to make things work, it only crawled along. But remember, tough times don’t last forever, only tough people do.
As we move into 2019, here is a list of five ways of thinking entrepreneurs should avoid in business this year.
In India we come up with ‘innovative’ ways to achieve anything, and we call this ability ‘jugaad’. While jugaad is great, what most entrepreneurs forget is that it is not a sustainable or scalable way to do things. Any kind of jugaad is only a temporary fix; it’s like a patchwork job, and most often not a sustainable solution. The key is to use jugaad in any area of your business for the first time only. If it is something you rely on to get things done all the time, then get ready to be a slave to your own business, where nothing can happen or grow without your involvement. Think systems and build systems; do not resort to stop-gap arrangements.
You need money to pay salaries but being a solopreneur is not a great idea at all; it can be worse than being an employee. When you are in a job, your department head will hound you and get the job done, and no matter what, you get a salary at the end of the month. However, as a one-man army, you own a business wherein the responsibility of the marketing, sales, development, delivery, accounting, and administration work is on you And when you are the one doing everything, it could result in getting nothing done. Face it! You need a team to handle different aspects of the business. You need to operate in the knowledge that you make money each time you hire a new resource, instead of the notion that you should hire new talent only once you start making the money.
How many times have you made the courageous decision to hire someone, and then felt a sense of relief and hope that they would handle everything? And how many times have these hopes come crashing down within the first month? The truth is that hiring /appointing people to do a job is not where your job as a business owner ends, but rather, where it begins! The key is to get your new hire to shadow you. You need to invest your time and energy to train people, demonstrate to them what needs to be done and how to achieve it, watch them do it, and then give them your honest feedback. If your new hire is not shadowing you, the chances are they are spending their time staring into their computer screen, feeling demotivated, wasted, and then pretending to do things when you are around. In that case, you don’t have an employee or a team member, but instead, a student who is too incompetent to do what you want them to do, and too scared to tell you that they don’t know how to do it.
If you’ve started your business solely to get funded by an investor and cash out, then that certainly spells doom for you and your business. Business is an activity where you solve your customers’ problems by fulfilling their needs and making a profit for the value you provide them. If you do not understand this definition of business, then you don’t deserve to call yourself an entrepreneur. You need to be clear that you are solving a problem that your target audience faces, it is a problem that they are willing to spend money on, and you have the means to deliver the solution at a cost where you earn a profit. This is when you have built a successful business. Investors are smart and they are not going to flush put their money on you if your idea lacks viability. The key to a great valuation is to deliver value to your customers in the form of great solutions, value to yourself in the form of profits, value to your investor for their trust in you, and do all of the above with the right values. That’s what makes a great entrepreneur.
Successful people value their work and pay themselves. Make it a point to pay yourself, because the worst trap you can fall into as an entrepreneur is to start being okay with not taking money back home and not rewarding yourself for your hard work. You and your business are separate entities, and you are entitled to compensation for the time you’ve invested in building it to the point where it becomes profitable. Only when you make paying yourself important, will you make sure to do what it takes to achieve your goals.
2019 is upon us, let us all resolve to follow these simple rules so that the New Year will not just be an arbitrary date on a calendar, but rather a time of genuine personal and professional transformation. The old year may have ended, but your career is only just begun.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)