As entrepreneurial women, our hustle -- the ability to act on ideas, shift gears to meet new opportunities and accomplish things -- is our greatest asset.
As many serial entrepreneurs will attest, if unchecked, it's also our greatest liability.
Here are three common entrepreneurial habits that may be derailing (or at least curtailing) your business:
1. Biting off more than you can chew.
As entrepreneurial, high-capacity women, there's no challenge we find to be impossible. As a result, we sometimes say yes to so many opportunities that it would be impossible for us to fully execute.
As a result, we may have to manage expectations later, build capacity quickly, or execute with less mastery, just to get a project done.
Quick Fix: Learn how to pause and count costs before saying yes. There are some huge and urgent opportunities that might not allow for “sleeping on it,” but when those hard choices arise, ask yourself three quick questions before you commit:
1. Can my team execute this at a high level, given our current priorities?
2. Is this project aligned with what is most important for our organization right now?
3. If this project is all we accomplish in the next three months, will I be satisfied? If the answer to these questions is yes, then commit. If not, decline or at least manage expectations before moving forward.
2. Trading proven strategies for new, unproven ideas.
Entrepreneurs generate ideas more quickly than machine guns spray bullets. Coming up with new and innovative ways to solve problems is part of the business DNA. That's why it's so easy for us to override a proven business strategy in favor of a shiny new idea.
The challenge is that sometimes, in our desire to improve, we are too eager to replace a good strategy with an unproven one.
This can alienate team members who are frustrated that we're changing something that's working and earns us a reputation for being a little flighty.
The challenge is in knowing when to switch out the old for the new and finding ways to test ideas before launching into them.
Quick fix: Fail fast and fail small. When piloting a new idea, test it with as small of a group of customers as possible. Make sure the sample is representative of your customer base and use your findings to inform whether or not you move forward with your idea.
Deny the urge to just "go with your gut" if you already have a strategy that's working.
3. Hiding from the brutal facts.
Entrepreneurs are visionaries. By and large, most of us hate the rote, sometimes boring tasks of evaluating the success of each of our initiatives and weeding out the unsuccessful ones. We also tend to have "pet initiatives" — things we want to succeed at all costs.
As a result, we tend to gloss over the brutal facts of how our pet initiatives are doing. We also tend to miss the details of which areas of our organizations aren't performing as well as they should be because deep down, we don't want to know.
Quick Fix: Create a dashboard of the three most important indicators of success for each division of your business. Update it weekly. Force yourself to sit down with your team, walk through it and make decisions about allocating resources based on what the data is telling you.
Clearly, these quick fixes aren't the end all, be all of managing our entrepreneurial neuroses, but they are a beginning.
What other strategies do you and your team use to manage the dark side of your "hustle" skillset?
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