It is very rare for a business to fold overnight. Typically, the death of a business is a protracted affair. A single wrong decision never results in the collapse of a business. Instead, it is the same mistake being made again and again that causes a business to fade away. In the majority of cases, these repeat mistakes fall on the head of the entrepreneur or the business owner. Entrepreneurs don’t only have to worry about the financial survival of their business but also the financial survival of their employees.
As an entrepreneur or business owner, have you ever wondered if you’re making any such mistakes? If you’re a foresighted and responsible individual then it is likely that you have. In fact, it’s likely that such thoughts keep you up in the night. One of the ways through which you can counter the potentiality that your limitations will result in the demise of your business is creating a stop doing list along with the to-do list. However, what should you put in your stop doing list? Here are some suggestions.
Stop Doing List Item #1: Accelerating or Procrastinating All the Time
The majority of entrepreneurs in the world fall into two categories – the accelerants and the procrastinators. The accelerants are those entrepreneurs that are always rushing from one point to another. These individuals are so accomplished that they try to do everything themselves. More importantly, they actually think that no one can do the task as well as they can, which is the main reason why they’re accelerants. The procrastinators are the opposite of accelerants. They face so much resistance in life that most of their tasks and goals are delayed. The lack of punctuality, as a result, puts a lot of pressure on them.
As is obvious, too much of anything isn’t good. So, the first item on your stop doing list should be to neither be the accelerant nor the procrastinator. You need to balance things out to ensure that work gets done without you getting burnt out. It’s easy to stop being the accelerant – just set specific work hours and break times. The same goes for stopping procrastination – set minimum targets for tasks done and time worked.
Stop Doing List Item #2: Saying Yes All the Time; Multitasking
Accelerants are made of ‘yeses’. They say yes to everything which is precisely why they have too much to do all the time. Saying ‘yes’ all the time also means that you learn to multitask. However, scientifically speaking, there is no multitasking. The human brain is incapable of multitasking. It just switches from one task to another really fast which makes us think we’re multitasking. The price we pay for multitasking is performance. You will not be able to reach peak performance if you try to multitask.
You’ll end up becoming the Jack of all trades. You simply cannot be the master of all skills. You need to pick and choose your battles so that you can resoundingly win all of them. You need to learn to say ‘no’. If you can do that you’ll not only suddenly find yourself freer and happier but also more successful.
Stop Doing List Item #3: Working with Ambiguity or Lack of Clarity
Procrastinators, by definition, are people who avoid work till the very last moment. What is the consequence of doing that? You don’t have enough time to clarify or course-correct if something goes wrong in the end. This means that you end up working with a lack of clarity and loads of ambiguity. As any experienced professional will tell you if you don’t know where you’re supposed to go, how do you expect to find the right roads to get there?
Ambiguity or lack of clarity can also come from your clients or customers if they’re especially busy and uncommunicative as often as you’d like. Working with ambiguity or lack of clarity, whether you’re a procrastinator or not, should definitely be in your stop doing list. If clarity is hard to find, then it’s better to halt the project altogether till you get clarity. If the client or customer is intransigent then it’s better to ditch the project altogether because he’s going to end up giving your work a bad name in the long run anyway.
Stop Doing List Item #4: Forgetting Administrative Aspects
Many entrepreneurs and business owners start out as individuals who are good at something. It could be any trade. However, this can also end up being a trap. For example, if you’re good at coding and you open a web development company, then you may just end up getting stuck in coding. This would mean that you would focus on one client or project at a time. At best, you’ll focus on five. Maybe you’re talented enough to focus on 10 but sooner or later you’ll hit the 24-hour wall.
There are only so many hours in the day, of which you can work only so many hours. If you forget the administrative aspect of your business, then it will remain forgotten till your business’s lack of efficiency ends up killing it. As a business owner, you need to take the broader perspective, which means administrative tasks such as creating and improving systems and process flows. Effectively, you should put forgetting administrative aspects of your business in your stop doing list.
Stop Doing List Item #5: Avoiding Mentoring and Training Employees
Recruitment is one of the greatest challenges for any business today, irrespective of how big or small. There just aren’t enough talented individuals out there. There’s a clear reason for this too and the reason is that most businesses are looking for the end product. This means finding a candidate who fits seamlessly with the business’s work ethics, culture, skill set requirements, financial brackets, industry expertise, behavioural expectations, and everything else under the sun. If you actually take a step back and think about it, such candidates are rare.
Candidates that aren’t rare, however, are those that are willing to work hard at becoming an asset for your business. In other words, these are candidates that have the right attitude. These individuals are uncut diamonds, but you’ll need to see through a lot of unwanted layers. Cutting these raw rocks in business takes the form of mentoring and training. Therefore, if you’re avoiding mentoring and training employees, then you need to put it on your stop doing list because the right attitude combined with the right guidance, can lead to greatness.
Stop Doing List Item #6: One-Upmanship and Domination
Some entrepreneurs and business owners drink their own Kool-Aid. This maybe an American term but it is, for some reason, very catchy and in this case very apt. Entrepreneurs often have to focus on marketing which means portraying their business and themselves in a positive light. What happens when they do this a lot is that they start believing their own falsely create hype. They start thinking that they’re special.
As a result, they close their minds and hearts to new ideas and concepts. In order to maintain their perceived perception of themselves, they start focusing on dominating the people around them i.e. associates and subordinates alike. They get into the game of one-upmanship. This game prevents learning and growth. If the business owner doesn’t learn and grow all the time, then the business won’t either. Hence, if by any chance, you’ve been drinking your own Kool-Aid, it’s time to put it in your stop doing list.