8 Productivity Pitfalls New Entrepreneurs Must Avoid

why businesses fail

Building a business takes a lot of time.

With so many things to do and not enough hours in a day to finish them all, new entrepreneurs find out pretty quickly how valuable their time is.

If you’re starting a business on your own, then you know you’ve got to make the best possible use of your time every single day.

Productivity doesn’t mean being busy all the time but being busy with the right things. It means knowing which tasks to pick and which ones to delegate or put off for another day.

Want to know more? Here are productivity pitfalls you should keep your eyes peeled for. Hopefully, by knowing them in advance, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding them in the future.

Online Distractions

There are so many sites that hold our interest often longer than they should. When you’re not aware and careful, scrolling through sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter can take the better part of your day.

Before you know it, the entire morning’s been wasted on nothing more than clicking through sites. Stop this from happening by making a schedule.

Block off two hours for checking your emails and reading through sites, one in the morning and the other one sometime in the late afternoon. When your hour is up, get to work. This will keep you productive for most of the business hours.

Not Using Technology

Technologies today offer some of the best ways to kill delays in many aspects of the business. That’s why being updated on the latest technologies—such as videoconferencing from Bluejeans—can help you streamline your business processes and save dollars in the process.

For instance, if you’re planning to hire globally, you’ll need to frequently check up on your teams. Videoconferencing makes that possible in an efficient and cost-effective way.

So don’t get left behind. Learn how to use new technologies to help you get your business off the ground. With the right tools, it’ll happen that much sooner.

Putting Things Off

You’ve got a ton of work to do. But procrastination makes you sit back and do nothing. Don’t let that bad habit get in the way of making the most of your day. Start on the task early.

Give yourself ample time to complete the project. The more time you have, the better prepared you are for it. That means less chances of making a mistake or missing a critical deadline.

Too Much Clutter

If you’ve got too many things on your desk, it might be time for you to de-clutter. Having too many files, books and even keepsakes can distract you, as well as crowd your working space in the worst way.

So keep the knick-knacks to a minimum. Having a nice, organized space helps you focus and puts you in a better mindset and mood to work.

Unfinished Work

Don’t leave things unfinished. Tasks, no matter how few, often add up pretty quickly. One way to make sure you’ve get everything important done for the day is to write a To-Do List or an accomplishment report.

Whatever format you pick, the purpose of the file is clear: it’s there to help you track your work. This way, you’ll always be on top of your deliverables and won’t leave important tasks hanging.

Wrong Priorities

If the only thing important to you is the bottom line, then you’ve got the wrong priorities in place. Profit is important, yes, but building a business — one that lasts, that endures — requires more than a fondness for making money.

It requires perseverance, determination, and often, customer service that puts the needs of your customer above everything else.

That means putting credibility, honesty, reliability, transparency — all these and more — at the core of your business. It’s about more than making money; it’s about providing the best kind of service to your target market.

Bad Hires

In young companies, hiring the right team is crucial. It can make or break a company. Why? Because you’ve all got to invest your time, effort and energies in making sure the business succeeds.

A team with the right attitude won’t mind the work, the long hours, the constant changes in protocol and processes — all common in startups and new companies.

Everybody’s learning their way around. Experimentation is often the name of the game. But bad hires, people who are excessively negative about the work and company, aren’t just downers.

They can lead to a company’s downfall by spreading too much negativity that demotivates and upsets the motivation of everyone else on the team.

Fear of Failure

Don’t let your fear of failing keep you from trying. Often, the most successful entrepreneurs had to go through a lot of mistakes to get where they are today. The difference is that they didn’t let those failures keep them from their goal of attaining success.

They never stopped trying to improve, to be better. So should you. Teach yourself and your team to make failure a part of your learning process and you’re sure to see your business grow and improve in no time.

(Photo by Ed Yourdon/ CC BY)

Tina Su is the editor at Work Awesome and Think Simple Now.


  1. Jeremy Campbell on the 9th February

    Great article, the last point is especially important to keep in mind as most entrepreneurs need to fail a few times before they finally get a small hit on their hands. Some go through bankruptcies even! For being an entrepreneur it’s all about keeping things in perspective, and knowing when to hold them and when to fold them.

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