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5 habits that could be holding you back from attaining success

Posted by Grace Townsley

July 13, 2021

Blind spot check: if you’re frustrated with the growing pace of your startup or mature business, you might just be trapped in one of these five habits that can limit your success.

Operating without a plan.

You’ve probably heard Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” And it’s no less true for entrepreneurs and business owners alike.

Successful businesspeople have developed the habit of identifying their customer’s problem, developing a solution to it, selling the solution through crystal-clear marketing strategies and growing their company as a result.

Think of the biggest and most successful companies you know – they make technology that works, shoes for every sport, deliver exactly what you need fast and create eco-friendly cars. This simple model of problem > solution > marketing > growth defines their strategic plan. And they don’t make decisions that are out of alignment with their overall company plan.

Overcomplicating your business.

So many entrepreneurs and business leaders go wrong here. They struggle to narrow down their ideal client or customer segment. They can’t clearly articulate the problem they are trying to solve and how their product or service solves it better than the competition’s.

The better habit? Simplify your business so your potential customers can quickly and easily understand how you want to help them. People are more likely to buy into your company’s vision when they understand it. 

Making decisions from a risk-avoidance perspective.

The pain that comes from losing money, opportunity, market share, or a good employee exceeds the joy that comes from an equally big win. We are all loss averse, meaning a loss causes a stronger feeling in us than an equal degree of success.

This phenomenon can build a habit of risk avoidance, crippling the decisions of entrepreneurs and business owners. When a lot is on the line, taking business risks is daunting. But no leader gets ahead without taking calculated risks in the name of growth and innovation. Not unnecessary or spur-of-the-moment risks, but strategic, well-researched risks with a potentially high upside.

Neglecting yourself.

You are your most valuable employee. As the business owner or entrepreneur, if you quit, the whole business ceases. And yet, so many business owners allow themselves to become run-down, drained, overleveraged, overworked and eventually burned out. For servant leaders, a leadership style in which the business owner focuses on serving their employees instead of the employees serving the owner, it is especially easy to neglect your own needs in the process of caring for others.

Successful entrepreneurs and business owners understand that caring for yourself is a high priority to maintain a healthy business and team dynamic. When you are well rested and insulated from high-stress situations you make better decisions and maintain better relationships.

Spending too much time learning.

Yes, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. That can even be the case with research and learning. The expert myth says that people feel the need to be an expert, or consult an expert, before making a major decision. But even experts make mistakes, so putting too much confidence in their opinions can leave your business overexposed.

Similarly, business owners and entrepreneurs who spend too much time studying and analyzing their product, market or structure may miss valuable opportunities to act now and learn along the way. It is natural to feel like you must be the expert in a field in order to make a ripple in the industry, but the reality is that sometimes those who think differently and bring in a new perspective are the ones who stand out the most.

Takeaway: Change doesn’t happen overnight. But if you take some time to consider the tips above, you just might find a couple areas in your leadership style where a small change can lead to your next major breakthrough.

Grace Townsley is a professional copywriter who specializes in breaking down finance and business topics. She is the founder of Townster Creative Services, a digital marketing agency that helps startups get noticed.


Grace Townsley
Grace Townsley

As a professional copywriter in the finance and B2B space, Grace Townsley offers small business leaders big insights—one precisely chosen word at a time. Let's connect!

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