Small business

Things Not To Do When You Run Your Own Business

Way to successNever moan

Moaning is one of the most unattractive features of any personality. Whose company would you prefer? Someone with a positive, optimistic outlook or someone who spends the whole time bellyaching about things that aren’t going well? Moaning is unacceptable for anyone who works on their own. Why? Because it is actually an admission of failure. If you don’t agree here is a simple translation of a moaner’s conversation to illustrate the point:

Bloke in pub: ‘Business is really tough at the moment and things aren’t going very well.’

There are two possible translations of this remark: ¡®I am not talented enough to get the work I want.’ or: ¡®I am too lazy to get the work I need.’

This is not an exaggeration. If you run your own business, then your fortunes are entirely in your hands. You can invoke as many higher powers as you like, blame macro-economic conditions, and invent reams of blether about precisely why you don’t have enough work at the moment. None of this smokescreen will disguise the fact that you haven’t had the wit or the determination to go and get it. This is not some assertion cooked up by a motivation guru or a sales zealot. It is cold, hard logic. So type it up and stick it on the wall: No moaning. There is one other essential part of the ‘No moaning’ credo. Never be tempted to join in with a customer who is moaning. You can sympathize briefly, but then it is your job to suggest ways in which you can make it better, otherwise these dreadful people will rapidly turn you into a moaner too.

Never drink during the day

Does this point really need clarification? Then go back and work for a company. This is a no-brainer. The same goes for drugs and anything else that has the capacity to turn you into a blithering idiot during work hours. Save it for the weekend! If you ever receive a call from a customer in the afternoon and you are less than compos mentis, your reputation will be on the slide immediately. ‘I wouldn’t use him, he’s a bit of a drinker’ is not how you would wish to be described around town. If you really do have to have a near-compulsory jolly with a customer one day then turn your mobile off and return any calls when you are sober, saying that unfortunately you were in an a 1-day meeting or out of town. Never get involved in important business when you are in danger of talking rubbish.

Never watch daytime TV

As with drinking, watching daytime TV is the rapid road to Loserville. What makes this so obvious?

  • You should be working
  • You won’t learn anything
  • After a short while, your IQ will probably fall.

If you disagree with this and insist on watching this drivel, then you only have two possible courses of action:

1. Reduce the quality of your work from now on to reflect your new low-level intellect

2. Lower your prices immediately to reflect your diminished aspirations.

Never finish a day before deciding what to do the next morning
This simple little discipline works incredibly well. It is outstandingly easy to do, and is the best ever way of ensuring a good night’s sleep. Simply write down what you have to do the next day and, if appropriate, allocate the necessary time for it. Now you can relax. There are many subsidiary benefits to this approach. First, it is impossible to forget to do something because it is written down. Second, you come across as totally on the ball because you genuinely do know what you are doing the next day. And third, you don’t have to worry about the tasks for the next day so you can go and have that drink after all.

Never do anything unless you know why you are doing it

How blindingly obvious is this statement? It would be a good principle for all businesspeople to abide by. Actually, it applies to anything you ever do in your whole life. This is so profoundly irrefutable that it is worth stating again:
Never do anything unless you know why you are doing it.

It stands to reason. Think carefully about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Your time is your potential money. If you are doing something unnecessary, then for every minute you do so, you are shooting yourself in the foot. Only do the things that matter. Your time is too precious to approach it any other way.

Linda is a Finance advisor and has recently started writing on Finance and Insurance. Her flair for Insurance comes from the owner of Don Bullard Insurance.

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