Entrepreneurs have more than enough to think about: developing prototypes, marketing their services, sometimes simply making payroll. When you have such heavy burdens on your shoulders — and other people’s livelihoods on your mind — it’s easy to push aside the aspects of entrepreneurship that look like more work.
Avoiding those challenges, however, can mean the difference between finding yourself a part of the 10 percent of entrepreneurs who succeed — or becoming part of the 90 percent whose businesses falter. Running headlong into those challenges can set your company on a trajectory that makes growth not only possible, but sustainable.
Here are seven challenges entrepreneurs avoid that you should start embracing:
1. Being proactive about bookkeeping and accounting
Talking about finances can make even the most experienced entrepreneur flinch. But Ben Robinson, CEO of Bookkeeper Business Launch, the leading matchmaker between expert bookkeepers and entrepreneurs, says, “You can’t put your head in the sand. You have to hit your finances head-on.”
The knowledge you have of your business, combined with some understanding of accounting, can help you strategize and collaborate with your bookkeepers to make the best financial decisions for your company. Your business’s financial success relies on more than your bottom line, so set up regular — and frequent — meetings with your bookkeepers to ensure you’re keeping tabs on all of it.
2. Investing in personal branding
Being too humble or not having the time to focus on your personal brand doesn’t negate the fact that personal branding is vital to your company’s success. Customers want to relate to the companies they do business with, and one of the best ways to earn their engagement is by humanizing your brand.
Invest in leaders’ personal brands — as well as other key employees’ — so they’re seen as leading voices in your industry. Creating content, booking speaking engagements, and hosting webinars are all great ways for your team to establish itself.
3. Being deliberate about taking time off
Launching your brand can translate to 80 to 100 hour weeks spent getting the business off the ground. It’s often needed, though that’s not always the case. Tim Ferriss, who runs on a four-hour workweek, and Stephan Aarstol, who champions the five-hour workday, have created schedules that ensure they receive a good deal of time off.
In many instances, however, entrepreneurs are wired to work pretty hefty weeks, and it’s extremely important to be deliberate about spending time with the important people in your life. Your personal life directly impacts your performance at work, so make sure you proactively schedule time to disconnect and nurture the relationships that matter most to you.
4. Creating structure
Simply put, creating structure is the only way to truly scale. You can get away with being all over the place as a startup and driving $2 million in revenue in a hot industry, but to build an enduring company and a real brand, you must have structure.
As you build your organization you need to make sure processes are in place that scale with your business. If you aren’t the one implementing these practices, make sure you hire someone who is.
5. Remaining focused on what’s most important
If you read the book “Essentialism,” you’ll see the importance of being focused on what matters most. As an entrepreneur, you often see a shiny object and rush to it, which ultimately ends up hurting your core business. Make sure you have your priority straight. That’s right — “priority” singular, not “priorities” plural.
Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism,” explains, “The word ‘priority’ came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next 500 years.” The word “priority” implies that something takes precedence over everything else, so treat it that way.
6. Avoiding risk management
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get excited about your vision and where you feel your company has the potential to go. This can blind you from seeing risks that could destroy the company’s reputation.
Zenefits, for example, dealt with a situation most entrepreneurs never expect to encounter: Its employees were smoking, drinking, and having sex in staircases. This article makes it clear that these actions don’t represent the values or the culture the brand’s leaders want, but when it comes down to it, leaders need to do their best to limit risks that can hurt the brand overall — the buck stops with you.
7. Catering to your pride and ego
With entrepreneurial success comes the temptation to form a bigger ego. With 90 percent of startups failing, succeeding is a great accomplishment, and that sense of accomplishment is sometimes accompanied by the feeling that others should see you as a big deal.
The most down-to-earth entrepreneurs work hard to remain self-aware. Spending time with those closest to you — the ones who are invested in you, regardless of your business success — will serve as a reality check in your weakest moments.
Entrepreneurs aren’t known for their procrastination — if anything, they’re known for getting things done quickly and efficiently. But that proactive attitude can go hiding when they’re faced with challenges that make their lives more difficult, from staying on top of their accounting to creating structure. Not addressing those challenges, however, truly will make entrepreneurs’ lives more difficult, making it important to stop running from these challenges and start embracing them.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
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