why it is not like the usual one and 80% of entrepreneurs suffer from it

why it is not like the usual one and 80% of entrepreneurs suffer from it

Everyone knows the usual procrastination – it’s tea with TV shows instead of work. But entrepreneurial procrastination looks completely different, and therefore it is difficult to recognize. What is it, how to detect and neutralize it?

The phenomenon of procrastination

In simple words, procrastination is when you do something else instead of doing things that you think are necessary. You go, instead of writing a diploma, watch series instead of doing a work project.

It is customary to beat yourself up for procrastination, but like any behavior that is frowned upon, it is very logical. You avoid those things that do not bring joy and threaten trouble in the future, and replace them with things that are more pleasant or, at least, safer. Let’s say you put off submitting a project because you’re afraid of facing criticism. Or you make a report for an endless time, distracted by social networks, because you consider filling out plates to be a rare nonsense.

In this respect, entrepreneurial procrastination is very similar to ordinary procrastination.

But there is a nuance

Peculiarities of entrepreneurial procrastination

Most people are in a situation where someone gives them a task. A student writes a diploma not of his own free will. The manager distributes tasks to employees and they have to do them. Actually, the psychological conflict, the answer to which is procrastination, usually looks like this: “I was told to do a pointless and joyless task that I would not do in my life, but which must be done, so I will delay and sabotage it with all my might.”

The entrepreneur himself determines what and how to do, so entrepreneurial procrastination begins to play with new colors.

Entrepreneurial procrastination is when an entrepreneur does anything but the really important things that help the business grow.

This, by the way, explains very well why it is possible to be a very active procrastinator who is constantly busy but barely makes ends meet.

Entrepreneurial procrastination has 3 popular causes.

Reason for procrastination #1. You are comfortable when someone gives you a task

This may seem strange. After all, people usually start a business in order to feel more freedom, not to play by other people’s rules, to implement their ideas. However, if you came out of employment where the framework and tasks were clear, the burden of freedom can be overwhelming. And then the entrepreneur feels the temptation to take on the role of executor and subordinate himself to customers.

“Let the clients tell me what to do, and I will do it,” the entrepreneur thinks, and essentially gets several employers instead of one. Now he can not make decisions about the development of his business, but focus exclusively on the development of clients.

There is only one sign that you are dealing with entrepreneurial procrastination. Instead of working on your business, you want to escape into client projects, because there you are comfortable, there you feel useful. Conversely, you feel embarrassed when you have to make decisions about your business.

Reason for procrastination #2. You do what you like, not what you have to

Entrepreneurial freedom can revolve around the fact that an entrepreneur focuses on what he loves to do and does what contributes to the growth of the business. Once upon a time, I had the opportunity to watch the guys sawing through a startup, consistently making all the mistakes they could and stubbornly refusing to do what was needed.

Because they liked to come up with ideas and saw code, they came up with an idea, did not test it and immediately started sawing the product. They refused to show the product to anyone until it was completely ready, constantly supplemented it with new features, did not think about how to get and keep users in the product, but spent a lot of energy coming up with ideas for a creative advertising campaign (but so that money hardly spend on it). The result: 2 years of development and several tens of millions wasted.

But this is an enchanting example, and usually everything does not look like Ragnarok. It’s just that the entrepreneur focuses, for example, on making the product perfect, but ignores marketing and sales. Or lovingly polishes a site where he knows every pixel by name and does not pay attention to the fact that this knowledge does not increase his profit in any way.

The most interesting thing is that if you point out this fact, the entrepreneur will turn on rationalization and explain why it is so important to devote time to the site (take the team to retreats, arrange the furniture according to Feng Shui, do not show the product to anyone until it is perfect).

Reason for procrastination #3. There is no connection between effort and result

Most small businesses are a chaotic set of body movements that, with luck, will eventually turn a profit.

And so, when you do everything for 1-2-3 years and you don’t understand what is important and what is not, the body turns on its defense systems and begins to sabotage:

— no, I will not introduce a new motivation system;

– No, I do not prescribe regulations for employees;

— no, I will not make repairs in the office;

— no, I will not run ads;

because it is not known what positive effect this will have on the profit.

What will help to cope with procrastination? There is one remedy that will be useful in all three cases.

Clarity in business

All three reasons for procrastination have one common feature – it is not clear which actions can increase profits, so it is easier:

  • go to client projects;

  • polish the site and do other exciting things;

  • save energy and do not make unnecessary body movements.

Therefore, the first place to start is to understand which efforts are working and which are not. And what an entrepreneur should not do himself. Here are three steps to get you started.

Digitize your actions

Time seems to be an available and cheap resource, although in fact it turns out to be the most expensive. Therefore, it is very useful to measure how much time you spend on tasks that you do personally, and then multiply this hour by the hourly rate of a specialist and compare it with the return you receive from these tasks.

Let’s say you spent 12 hours polishing the site. At an hourly rate of 450 rubles, you would spend 5,400 rubles. Would you give this money to a third party professional for such a job? Was it worth it? If not, then maybe it shouldn’t have been done at all?

While I was writing the article, I saw a post by Pasha Molyanov, the founder of the Zrobimo agency, which perfectly illustrates how important it is to analyze where the focus of an entrepreneur’s efforts is directed. It is always useful to compare your body movements with the return they should bring.

An important point. Sometimes you want to do work that is not very useful for business, just for the soul. This is normal. It’s just important to honestly admit that it’s more of a hobby than a real job, and not expect it to bring results.

Digitize the results by direction

A rare business has one direction or product. For example, marketing agencies, and sites are made, and advertising is adjusted, and strategies are developed, and they also sell their courses. As a result, there is a feeling: “We do so much, but we don’t see much profit.” So that this feeling does not lead to procrastination, it is important to analyze efforts and results in terms of projects.

This will allow you to see where you are blasting power but not getting any return or taking damage at all. Efforts, by the way, should be evaluated both in terms of money, including digitizing the time of the company’s employees, as well as moral efforts, since there are projects that are formally profitable, but very difficult to give to the team.

Digitize results by business function

Business processes can be divided into bunches depending on functions, such as customer acquisition or employee recruitment. For small companies, it is advisable to highlight seven functions.

  1. Strategic management here is everything related to business management as a whole. Goals, planning, strategic management of the company.

  2. Marketing and PR — here are all activities related to attracting the target audience.

  3. Sales here are all actions that convert the target audience into customers.

  4. Personnel — here are all the processes related to the hiring of employees, induction and dismissal.

  5. Finance – although absolutely all processes have a financial change, financial planning, management of receivables and payables and financial flows are better to be carried out separately.

  6. Production (product) – here are all processes of service provision and product production.

  7. Quality support – the processes that help maintain the quality of the product/service are collected here. Collection of feedback from customers, training of production employees, implementation of standards, etc.

The function can be performed by the entrepreneur himself, a special employee or an entire department.

Each function must work towards a measurable outcome that is valuable to the business. For example, the output of the Quality Assurance function is employees who produce a product that meets customer requirements.

When you have KPIs for each function, you can compare the effort (monetary and moral costs) you put into each function and the return on it. As a result, it becomes clear what needs to be fixed or optimized, and what already works properly.

Although financial transparency is not the only way to defeat procrastination, it is a necessary condition for starting to act effectively, earn more, see meaning in your actions and fuss less.

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