Many people don’t like to hear the truth about themselves…especially if this truth showcases weaknesses, shortcomings and downfalls. We all like to hear words like “you are your own boss,” “you are in control of things,” “you are one step closer to personal freedom”.
But while being a businessperson comes with many perks, it turns out that sometimes our very own behaviors can end up being a liability to the very businesses we are trying to build. The truth is that your personal habits could actually be the ones causing your business not to grow.
Here are 5 notorious personal habits that are quite common in Africa; and ones that could actually be taking a toll from your many years of hard work.
1.Mixing Business With Friendship, Women
If you are the kind of person who struggles to maintain boundaries between family, friends and business, then you are likely to have a difficult time managing your firm. Likewise, I am sure you have heard of the old quote that goes “Mix women with business and you will see dust”.
While that quote may sound sexist, it actually passes a very important message. If every time you secure a government tender you rush to get a second wife or the so-called “side dish”, then chances are that you will not go far as a businessman.
It all boils down to self-discipline and the ability to draw the line between the good and the bad. Just because personal freedom is a perk that comes with entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you have the right to over-indulge. Moderation is key.
2.Withdrawing Capital From Your Business To Fund Your Expensive Lifestyle
Most people get into business thinking that it will solve all their personal finance problems. They get into it in order to sustain a lifestyle their white-collar or blue-collar job could not cater for.
While there is nothing wrong with having a strong, monetary motive for getting into business, withdrawing money recklessly from your business account just because your girlfriend has been pushing you to take her to Dubai for shopping is a big no-no.
The problem with being in business is that no one will limit you or dictate how you handle cash. But if you want to make meaningful progress then it is imperative to limit your access to cash.
A good way to go about it is by regarding yourself as an employee of your company, whereby you earn a regular salary. It may sound like a retrogressive approach but it can actually help you stabilize your cash-flow especially at the early stages of growth.
3.You and Your Bad Manners
I am not here to lecture you on how you should behave, but if your character is the only thing standing between you and your success then we have to talk about it.
How refined are your manners? Are you the kind of boss who always scolds your employees in the presence of customers? Are you the type that always runs away with suppliers’ money? Are you the type that writes bouncing cheques and then switches off the phone?
Or may be you are the kind that cannot working without smoking cigarettes or drinking one for the road.
No matter how ratchet your personal life is, don’t let that become a burden to your business. Consider hiring an image consultant. Better still, invest in structures, whereby you can have someone else handle delicate things like customer care, accounts and debt collection.
4.Not Being Trusting Enough
Almost everyone makes this mistake in one way or another. We sometimes get too possessive of our business to an extent that we run everything from our handbags or briefcases. You don’t want anybody else to handle the cash because you think they are going to misappropriate it.
You don’t want anybody else to make key decisions in your company because you want to feel like you are in control of things.
Therein lies the problem with most African start-ups. That’s why we don’t many businesses that have been handed down across generations for decades. When the founder dies, he goes with all his ideas and the company collapses. Isn’t that what happens?
You have to realize that the business is bigger than your ego and insecurities. The world’s best companies of our time are ones where the founder invests in other people and let’s them play a role in organizational growth.
5.Thinking Loans Are BAD
We all grew up listening to horror stories about loans. How Mr. So and So took a loan to start a dairy farm only for him to be auctioned and left for dead. Or How Mrs. So and So developed high blood pressure due to the frequent sighting of debt collectors near her village shop.
In reality though, loans are not all that bad. You only need to take them for the right reason and with the right motive. Sometimes a bit of loan financing is all it takes to overcome those primary cash-flow challenges that cause 80 percent of start-ups to fold up in less than two years.
As Warren Buffet once put it, chains of habits are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. So could it be that your habits are getting in the way of your business success but you are too busy to notice? Well, that’s for you to figure out.