The company you keep and the people you notice will affect your performance as an entrepreneur. Be careful who you bring into the fold, as they can and will affect your long-term success. It’s difficult to think of people as dead weight or hindrances, but that’s exactly what some people will be. You need to identify and handle them as soon as possible. The 4 people who will hinder your success:
The Negative People in Your Head
Everyone has them, the voice in their head that tells them that they’ll never make it, that whatever they do they’ll never be good enough. This is the voice of someone who told you that you’re going to fail, lingering in your memories to appear at the worst possible time. Of all the people in your life who can get in your way, the part of you that breeds doubt is the most difficult to deal with. If you don’t handle your insecurities, you’ll never make it.
There’s only one thing to do – don’t listen to it. Everyone who’s made it to the top of the heap has had that voice and they ignored it. Don’t let your doubts get in the way of your talent and ingenuity.
The People Who Always Want More
There is merit in looking for value in everything. As an entrepreneur, you probably approach life that way as well. You’re always looking to get the most out of everything, from deals with investors and suppliers to your time. The problem comes when someone’s trying to get more out of you and your start-up. They can be anyone, from customers to acquaintances, who wants to squeeze more value out of you. Sometimes they ask for refunds for things they didn’t even buy from you or they’re constantly asking you out to coffee just to ask what you’re doing with your company so they can imitate it. It seems harmless until you realize just how much they’re taking from you.
First of all, these people are taking time and energy away from you, both things you could be using on your start-up to improve it. Secondly and most insidiously, they’re trying to get free advice. This is knowledge you earned through experience and study, and they want it for free. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help when you can – set-up mentorship programs or give talks at networking events. But don’t give it out for free, because not only are they wasting your resources, you might end up making your own worst enemy.
The Wrong Target Market
One of your primary duties is to make sure you have the right target market. The best product, if aligned towards the wrong demographics, will not sell. So all your efforts must be geared towards getting your ideal target market’s attention.
Most beginner entrepreneurs start by trying to get everyone interested in the product. Then they end up getting angry and confused when people start rejecting their efforts or leaving the start-up’s mailing lists. The fact is they’ve made a critical error, and that’s thinking that everyone will want their product. Even Apple has people who have no interest in their products and it’s somewhat naïve to think that everyone will want your brand new offering.
The wrong target market will make you waste time trying to get them. Celebrate it when people unsubscribe – you don’t want people who aren’t interested in what you offer and how you offer it. Focus on the right people, the ones who will or already love your company and your product. Make them ardent supporters. Focus on who you have instead of those you don’t.
Online Trolls and Bullies
Your start-up will likely have an online presence. Being on the Internet opens you up to many opportunities. You’ll expose your business to more people and have another way for potential customers to find and use your services. The problem is you’re not going to get just nice people – you’re going to get cyber bullies. These are people who’ll attack you and your product. They’re going to try to bring you down, sometimes for no reason at all beyond their own amusement. If you’re really unlucky, you’ll find someone crusading against you just so they can build their personal brand online.
The funny thing here is that the real threat isn’t them. They’re nothing but sound and fury. The real problem, if there is one, will come from you and the way you react. Will you waste time trying to neutralize their negative commentary or will you ignore them and focus on improving your services?
Part of what will make you a successful entrepreneur involves minimizing hindrances and maximizing your advantages. That involves looking at the people who waste your time and cutting them out. It involves looking at yourself and making your sure you use your time to strengthen relationships with your target market instead of trying to get everyone. Pay attention to the company you keep and you’ll increase the odds that your start-up will make it.
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