Unhealthy business habits that an entrepreneur must vanquish

Unhealthy business habits that an entrepreneur must vanquish


Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

10 Oct 2016, 11:40 — 6 min read

Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Ram over the evil Ravan. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, light over dark and truth over deception. As an entrepreneur, it is therefore a good opportunity for us to reflect on some of the unhealthy business habits that we can vanquish in our lives.

No one starts a business to fail. Everyone wants to succeed but the degree of success varies and failure is common. Why so?  There are certain habits that could lead to the downfall of a business and hence must be avoided. I have tried to list a few here.

1.       Not taking risks

Entrepreneurs must learn how to manage risks. A ship’s purpose is to brave the seas and not to remain on the shore. Yes, it is risky when the sea is choppy but the captain knows how to sail in a storm.  An entrepreneur must also anticipate risks, plan ahead and face tough times boldly. Most entrepreneurs get caught up in cash-flow issues due to poor follow-up of pending payments. This is a risk that can be avoided by careful financial planning.

2.       No focus

Stay focused but learn to switch focus when it matters. In a lean setup, an entrepreneur will find herself wearing several hats. This will make her/ him spend less time on each of the priorities and perhaps not giving full attention to them when it matters. An entrepreneur must learn to focus on the top priority issues at all times. 

There is also a negative aspect to staying focused -- remaining too focused on one thing and neglecting other components of the business. Opportunities may be lost this way.

Have a balanced approach to staying focused. One must be ready to let go of a business strategy if it is not producing results.

3.       Not delegating  work

I have seen entrepreneurs, who have started their business with passion, but ending up micromanaging every aspect of their business. This will not help. One must appoint persons with the right qualifications and learn to trust them.  Micromanaging or failure to delegate can be caused due to lack of funds or inability to get the right staff. However, this cannot be a long-term affair.

4.       No transparency

Remember, that the passion to succeed is what drives entrepreneurs and may not always be the driving force for employees. An employee joining the business will have his/her own priorities in mind such as a career growth and good financial opportunities. This is the hard truth. 

As the first step, have clear documented procedures and processes and keep them updated at all times. Irritations that usually manifest in the form of resignations or non-cooperative approach to work are mostly related to rules regarding performance assessment, increments and leave. Well-documented procedures will avoid such situations and therefore enhance business growth.

5.      Flexible about ethical beliefs

Needless to say, an unethical business will not last long. No need to elaborate. Always be honest to your business and society.

6.       Over-promising & not keeping the promises made

An entrepreneur is always under pressure to win business and that often leads to over promising. It is better to say upfront what can be done and what cannot be done, so that the client/ customer are not caught unawares.

You may have short-term success but remember it is much easier to win business from an existing customer than getting a new customer. If you have failed in your project with your customer due to over-promising, it is highly unlikely that you will secure the next order from them. Remember, your reputation travels fast and hence you may get bad referrals, thereby harming your business.

7.       Being a workaholic

It is true there are no holidays or fixed working hours for a business owner. However, learn to allocate time for some leisure activities such as a holiday, reading a book, movies and so on. Take time off to attend family events such as weddings. Being a workaholic may bring financial success but will also drive away friends and relatives.  Maintaining a good work-life balance is one of the secrets to success.

8.       Believing that it is only money that matters

Vitamin- M is no doubt important. But for an entrepreneur it should not be the sole objective. Focus on quality, good customer relationships, an inspired team and learn to function as a leader and a mentor for your team. Money will automatically follow.

My article will not be complete without mentioning these not-so-good habits that  can further come in the way of business growth.

  • Not finding it necessary to reply to mails or even acknowledging them
  • Not returning calls and always having a busy line
  • Scheduling a meeting and postponing it at the last moment for no apparent reason
  • Browsing through mails instead of reading them and therefore not replying to the point
  • Not being open to customers/ clients about project delays
  • Not being open about delays in payments to the vendors

To conclude, I believe, that by not falling into such unhealthy habits, one can look forward to success as an entrepreneur. 

Good luck.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Managing partner of Innovatus Systems, founded by him on January 1, 2013. Sridhar is a result oriented professional with over four decades in the Information Technology &...

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