You know what it is about us humans? We can be intelligent and stupid at the same time. Some of us can feel confident one moment and crumble under pressure and wallow in self-doubt simultaneously.
It’s what makes us human afterall.
But then, when it comes to business, nothing can be devastating than all those little things you’d be doing to yourself — in the way of thinking, feeling, doing, or behaving — cause you to stab your potential to death.
Often, there are times when you get in your own way. Here are a few avoidable ways you could be doing that to yourself:
Let’s assume that you are an entrepreneur who started out with a regular job. You could have learnt to act, behave, and do things in a particular way. You would be used to certain protocols, processes, and dealing with people in ways that your company probably casted on stone. But then, you think of quitting your job and start your entrepreneurial journey. As Sir Richard Branson believes,
“Everyone has the entreprenerial sprit”, don’t they?
So, you’d now think that you have that spirit, guts, and that idea. Should you pop the champagne yet? Not yet.
Most people pop champagne and then there’s nothing much to show for it despite the courageous leap of faith from a job to entrepreneurship.
Why, you ask?
Because there’s no “unlearning”. You have to let go of what you know. That’s not easy.
You think you know everything
Entrepreneurs are gutsy, smart, daring, and absolutely determined. They go to great lengths to make dreams reality. Anthony Tjan — CEO, founder, and managing partner of Cue Ball — wrote for HBR also mentions “entrepreneurial smarts” and “luck” as aspects that define entrepreneurs.
That isn’t the full story though. Entrepreneurs might be smart but it isn’t like they’ve been endowed with worldly knowledge. They don’t know everything, do they?
Often, the “smarts” thing gets to your head. Just when you thought you had it figured out, you’d land flat on a bed of sloppy slush, face down.
The funding – growing – exit itch
Jason Fried advocates a few of the following in his book, Rework:
Avoid gunning for external source of funding. Stop seeking angel investors and others.
When you follow the typical startup route, your focus shifts from building something remarkable to building something just to tempt others to investing in.
I couldn’t help but think that it’s such a common thing to do just what Jason says you shouldn’t. Startup founders do this mistake all the time. They focus on seeking investment rounds, the exit strategy, and the like.
If you are in business, get out of the vicious cycle that the startup communities so vehemently suck you in.
Hiring the wrong team
You need a team, but are you hiring the right way? Do you find the right talent? How do you maximize your talent pool? If you are like most businesses, you aren’t doing it right (unless you already know that you do, and that you have results to show). Jeff Haden of Inc.com points out a few mistakes that businesses do such as hiring for skills and not for attitude; hiring friends and family; not considering your gut feel; and taking the wrong kind of risks.
When you don’t get hiring right, you risk the entire business. No one in their right mind would want to push a bad apple in a lot of good ones, right?
What are some of the other ways entrepreneurs sabotage their own potential?