Three Things Successful Entrepreneurs Never Do

When was the last time you learned a lesson the hard way? You fumbled in negotiations, costing you that contract. Do you have pangs of regret remembering that business deal snagged by your competition?Should have considered outsourcing projects instead of in-house operations, to cut costs?

You’re in good company if you ever made a costly misstep, it comes with the territory. If it’s any comfort, the most successful businesses are constantly roadblocked by pitfalls. It’s fortunate the stories are well-documented; for your business sake, skip the mistakes and apply costly lessons others learned.

This isn’t your usual to-do list, though. Consider these points as precautions in running your business:

1. Don’t Forget Why You’re in Business

It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re in the thick of a thriving business. Some forget why they started their businesses in the first place. The reasons may vary, but it’s often to fill a need; it could be personal, financial. Is there a niche on the market few businesses are catering? Did you intend to break new ground in the industry?

The “why” of your business will tide you through times when the “how” doesn’t make sense. If you built your business so you can spend more time with family, keep this in mind once there’s too much on paperwork your plate. Successful entrepreneurs are fully aware of priorities, and they’re willing to drop everything for the sake of what’s truly important.

2. Don’t Enter Partnerships in a Rush

This is tricky dilemma, especially if the prospects are too appealing to pass on. When you’ve done all the legwork, consider trusting your intuition. It’s great if you’ve started this business with friends and long-time acquaintances, and now everything’s as strong as ever. However, some partnerships fall flat because of mismatched expectations. It’s best if you thoroughly consider future business partners, ensure they’ll complement your team.

Opposites do attract, and it’s good business sense to on-board someone with skills and approach opposite to yours. This creates conflict, but it also keeps you from being complacent. You can bounce and filter ideas off each other, in effort to glean best solutions.

3. Don’t Stay on the Plateau, Keep Evolving

All progress occurs outside the comfort zone. You’ll reach plateaus in productivity, in revenue; there’s trickle of new clientele. These should push you to be proactive, take measures and get out of that rut. You only need to consider the humble beginnings of the most successful companies. Google and Apple started as garage businesses; imagine if these plateaued after eperiencing moderate success?

Successful companies keep evolving, for better or for worse. If outsourcing projects is the hard decision you have to make, consider the trade-off in cost and efficiency. There’s always risk of loss in business, but there’s also potential for gain. You can’t know what’s waiting for you at the corner if you don’t turn the bend.

You’ll make mistakes on your own, some can be costly. But, learning from other people’s mistake gives you the advantage. You don’t have to go down the well-tread path of mishaps. If ever you stumble into obstacles few have hurdled, you’ll at least have acquired wisdom of others, enough to tackle problems head-on.

Elsewhere on this blog:

You Need These Five People to Succeed in Business

Be Locally Famous: Six Strategies for Budding Businesses

Four Outsourcing Challenges Your Business Needs to Hurdle

Four Outsourcing Challenges Your Business Needs to Hurdle

Is your business outsourcing projects to specialized teams? You’re on the right track in taking that first step; it’s cost-efficient and feasible. There are also fewer worries in entrusting processes to skilled, experienced teams. However, you need to overcome a handful of challenges before you invest; have you considered how the employees in the company will respond the changes, and are you clear on the expectations set with your service provider?

Outsourcing work as extension of your business is beneficial in the long run, but you need to cover all bases if you want to milk all of the benefits. Here are four challenges you need to consider before, during, and after you take the plunge:

1. Transitioning the Management

Outsourcing parts of your operations could mean you’ll have to let some people go. At the very least, you’ll restructure teams as necessary. You need to anticipate the disruptions, manage it so the change wouldn’t be a liability. Existing employees may resist with lack of support; some may also seek other opportunities. Nip this at the bud with proactive strategies that gradually, seamlessly transitions the change in management.

Develop a professionally made communication draft, sent to all stakeholders affected by the transition. It’s best if you can personalize each message to the recipient; sending unique messages to different employee levels will also work. You need to address everyone’s lingering thoughts, “What about me?” and “What’s in this for me?”

2. Cultural Differences

You’re coordinating with teams from different timezones, sharing tasks with different cultural and corporate mores. Your corporate culture may be opposite from your service provider; are you willing to adjust rigid policies to accommodate your provider’s casual approach? What works for you may not work for your provider, and a compromise can be your best solution to achieve synergy.

Factor in national cultures, which can be categorized into differences in language, work ethics, work hours, and religion. Asian cultures are less confrontational than their western counterparts, and your straightforward approach may be received as aggressive, threatening by your eastern counterparts. Your service provider will likely have awareness training resource on hand; coordinate and trade notes in effort to merge the cultures.

3. Unrealistic Expectations

They say great expectations come with great disappointments. You’re partially at fault if you don’t clarify expectations with your service provider at the outset. It is true some companies expect their providers to take care of everything, which is hardly the case (unless stipulated). Set the bar too high and you’ll end up overcritical on the output, worsened by a barrage of negative feedback.

Your executive team need to be aware outsourcing isn’t the end-all of solutions; expectations must be realistic and agreed upon by all parties. Employees and stakeholders must be kept up to speed on developments, including setbacks encountered as the project unfolds. Managing expectations ensures there’s goodwill between the company and clients moving forward.

4. Protecting Intellectual Property

IP is always at risk when you’re working with outside parties. Non-disclosure and non-competition clauses should be airtight, and strictly enforced. Mitigate risks in areas affected, including access to information, physical properties like buildings and offices; implement administrative safeguards that sanction employee conduct.

Keep in mind the safeguards must consider the corporate and cultural differences mentioned, draft policies that anticipate and cover for loopholes. You can’t be too careful with your intellectual property, and it must be said that once that precious trade secret is out, it is out.

All things considered, the benefits of outsourcing outweigh its disadvantages. It’s just a matter of ensuring you’re on the same page with your provider every step of the way. You have everything to gain with efficient coordination, since your business is heavily invested in the results.

Elsewhere on this blog:

Navigating Timezones: Three Strategies for Expanding Businesses

Business Metrics: What Surveys Can Do For Your Business

Why Outsource to the Philippines?