Break these five habits if you want business success

Entrepreneurial success does not come about by chance. It’s hard won, and it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right mix of attitude, acumen and ambition to succeed in your chosen industry. The best thing aspiring entrepreneurs can do is learn from their predecessors. After all, climbing the mountain is much easier with a map.

If you want to be successful in business, you have to break five habits today. Once you give up the behaviors that don’t serve you, you’ll find that achieving your goals is much easier.

Here are five habits you need to break to be a successful entrepreneur.

1. Stop complaining about how hard it is

If starting a business was easy, everyone would do it. Starting a successful business is frustrating, challenging, humbling and (on the best of days) annoying. Any time you want to complain about the struggle, remember that the struggle is what separates successful entrepreneurs from quitters. If you want to be successful, you have to fight for it. There’s no workaround, no outsourcing, and no easy way to the top.

The key is to adjust your internal narrative. Instead of lamenting the troubles that come with starting a business, appreciate them. Not everyone is able or willing to solve business problems. If so, then you are way ahead of everyone else. See every challenge as an opportunity to overcome difficulties to take your business to the next level.

If that doesn’t work, just remember that you made a decision to be an entrepreneur, and no one likes a person who whines about their own decisions. Suck it up and get to work.

2. Stop working more than you have to

This may sound like a direct contradiction to what was said above, but there is an important difference between the two.

Successful entrepreneurs never shy away from hard work, but they never do unnecessary work either. We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder,” but when people get caught up in a project or problem, they forget this simple piece of advice.

Smart, hard-working entrepreneurs often think like lazy people. They rely on their creativity and ingenuity to find automated or prescribed solutions to their problems so they can avoid time-consuming tasks. Consider payroll software as an example.

Instead of handling payroll manually (which would take a lot of time and effort), smart business owners implement and rely on software. A little extra effort upfront saves time and energy later… and nobody works harder than they have to because the software does the heavy lifting for them.

Smart entrepreneurs are always looking for the easiest, most efficient ways to get things done. They understand that “busy” doesn’t mean “successful” and actively seek to free themselves from unnecessary tasks so they can focus more brain power on larger, more strategic initiatives.

3. Stop chasing investments

Most business owners see investment as a sign of success. It feels good when someone believes enough in what you do to put money behind it; However, successful entrepreneurs know that every investment comes with strings attached. The moment you accept funds from an investor, you are committed to their best interests and not your own.

Over time and over several investment rounds, entrepreneurs can slowly lose control of their business. It’s far wiser to stay lean and mean and keep your eye on the ball. Outside investment is at best a distraction and at worst an albatross. If your goal is to sell your business in a lucrative exit, then stop chasing investments and focus on growing your business. The less you accept now, the less you have to pay back later.

4. Stop panicking about the worst-case scenario

Every entrepreneur who takes the risk of starting a business has a worst-case scenario in mind. Oftentimes, people get panicked by this worst-case scenario. This panic often leads to bad decisions and fear-based reactions. The best thing an aspiring entrepreneur can do for their new venture is to be okay with their worst-case scenario.

Sit down and spend some time going through the situation that is most frightening. Is your business failing? mass layoffs? Embarrassment? Financial dispute? Think about what this situation looks like, how it might come about, how you would feel, what you would do.

It will be uncomfortable, but it will help you realize that even in the worst-case scenario, there is a way to move forward. Instead of letting the fear of your worst-case scenario live in the back of your mind and haunting your every decision, bring it to light and question it. Nine times out of ten, the worst-case scenario isn’t as bad as you’d led it to believe. Once you realize this, you can stop making fear-based decisions.

5. Stop assuming that problems will solve themselves

The company you want to start is almost never the company you end up with. Successful entrepreneurs understand that flexibility and a willingness to change is what will set them apart from the crowd. If you spot a minor problem, you need to fix it.

Too many founders get married to their ideas and assume that the problems they encounter will be solved with scale, better marketing, or a different team. This is almost never the case. Instead of burying your head in the sand and hoping for the outcome you want, face your business problems head-on. If you don’t, they will fester until they kill your efforts.

Breaking those harmful habits won’t be easy, but it will speed up your path to success. Put in some personal work now and reap the benefits later. You will not be disappointed.

Bio: Blake Johnson is a Los Angeles (near Pacific Palisades)-based entrepreneur who has successfully founded and sold a variety of companies currently valued in excess of $1.1 billion. His latest venture is direct-selling dental splints, Byte. Previously, both Currency Capital and IM Capital Access (companies of which he was Chairman and Founder) were named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work, and several of his ventures earned him the fastest spot on the Inc 500/5000 list growing privately owned businesses. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Blake is involved in a variety of philanthropic endeavors.

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