venetian masksThe aisles of Wal-Mart and every drug store in the United States are cluttered with costumes, spooky decorations, and party-sized bags of candy as Halloween approaches this weekend. Some people will disguise themselves under pop culture personas, while others slip into frightening masks. October 31st marks a day where it is acceptable to be someone you’re not or experiment with an idealistic version of yourself. However, as an entrepreneur, there are some personalities that you should never try on no matter what time of year it is.

The Zombie. Working toward your dreams can be mentally and physically exhausting, but floating through life like a cast member from The Walking Dead isn’t healthy for you or your business. When you begin feeling tired or rundown, remember that if you aren’t eating right, sleeping enough, or taking some time to participate in hobbies that will keep you mentally stable, that can be damaging to your business. According to research done by The Energy Project, a company that works with organizations to create a more productive, happier, healthier work environment, 79 percent of people in the workforce do not get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and 69 percent of people interviewed identified not feeling focused due to this. Without taking self-care into consideration, business leaders let down their customers, their employees and themselves, so remind yourself it’s okay to take a break when you need it.

The Superhero. Batman never checked with anyone before he hopped in the Batmobile to save an innocent civilian. However, when starting a business or trying to expand your business, you must rely on more than just your gut. Without validation or feedback from an array of target market consumers and experts, you are increasing your chances of the product or idea being a flop.

The Vampire. Businesses only thrive when they have customers, and the best kind of customer is a loyal one. While many leaders in start-up companies start out with the best intentions, if they grow faster than expected or start struggling, they begin to look at fast fixes and forget the importance of customer service and soliciting feedback. Just like these mythical creatures find prey quickly, while desperate for survival, leaders in business can fall into the trap of going for the fast sale or quick money without making the effort to truly put the customer first. Others forget to follow up after the launch, which makes the customer feel used.

The Pirate. The eye patch that usually goes along with this classic Halloween costume blocks off half of the vision of the person who is wearing it. No matter how great your product or service is, there is a reason why they say, “It’s all about how you know.” Without the power of networking and finding every opportunity that you possibly can to make connections, you are missing out on half (sometimes more) of your potential customers or future employees and advisors. In 2014, the Business Network International (BNI), a group that helps people worldwide develop long-term business relationships, generated $8.6 billion through business referrals.

The Disney Princess. Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel taught us to always look for the best in people and did so with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. While this positive attitude is admirable, carelessly hiring and trusting others with your business can quickly lead you to defeat. Take some extra time screening and interviewing applicants and hunt after people who have different skills than you or characteristics that will balance out your weaknesses.

The Ghost. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not investing enough into the marketing and online presence of their product or service. Imagine a quiet partygoer standing under a white sheet next to a werewolf dripping in fake blood and a sparkling Elsa replica. Who would you notice? Invest in people who know how to promote you through multiple outlets, so you can focus on your passion and the mission of your business.    

Bottom line: Whether you are a doctor who is looking to start a practice of your own or a college grad who is looking to take a small business you started in your garage to the next level, it can be pretty scary. But if you stay self-aware enough to change your behavior when you see that you are acting like one of these monsters, the rewards can be pretty sweet.  

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