If You’re an Entrepreneur, Don’t Read the News
Do you feel panicked to make decisions for your business because the news is telling you that the world is blowing up? Then, you should stop reading, watching and listening to the news.
1. Do you remember summer of 2022 when all we heard about was impending recession? Well, it never quite materialized and all of the voices in the media talking recession then took back their words. However, the damage was done, and many businesses started squirreling away cash and reducing spending budgets and freezing hiring to protect themselves. Unfortunately, even though the news changed gears, it wasn’t followed up with any confidence that would bolster markets or businesses into spending again.
2. The SVB failure, startups around the U.S. and world furiously began considering the sustainability of their banks and freaking out about the security of their money. More squirreling away of money and full stop to spending.
3. Layoffs got you thinking about your own overhead and spending? Consider this: These mega companies hired like crazy during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, but now many of these people were not really doing anything or are considered redundant. Don’t feel bad for them; the job market is in their favor.
4. I remember people saying after the Great Recession how they should have taken the opportunity to grow their business more during that time and they believe that their business would be different today.
Most of these news stories come from large corporations and have wreaked havoc on businesses of every size. As an entrepreneur, you can either let fear get the best of you or you choose to weigh the news stories to consider the “what and who” to take away what really matters to your business. Smaller businesses have so much more flexibility to pivot and double down than large companies, so why would you compare your business future to a corporation that is less nimble?
While it’s important for companies to stay on top of what’s happening in the business world that may affect theirs, it’s equally important to remember to not let it cause fear and panic. Fear is debilitating to the average person and can paralyze businesses.
So, if you’re an entrepreneur, don’t read the news so much, or at least glance through the headlines and move on. Like everything else, this will soon be yesterday’s news. You can easily stay informed without becoming overwhelmed.
And if you need more reasons of the impact too much media consumption can have on an entrepreneur and their business, here are some worth considering:
Negativity bias: In journalism school, the motto was always “if it bleeds, it ledes”. News often focuses on negative events, such as disasters, conflicts, and scandals, which can create a negative outlook and impact an individual’s mood and mindset, let alone that of an entrepreneur. If one high profile person touts the end of the world, every media outlet is on it, whether true or not. All it takes is one person to say something radical that generates global media attention only to not come true or later to be outdone by another voice with another opinion.
It is shown that constant exposure to negative news can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and even a sense of hopelessness, which may not be conducive to an entrepreneur's ability to think creatively and make sound business decisions.
All of this can lead to Fear. As mentioned, fear is debilitating to the average person, but it can be devastating to a business. Fear can lead to poor decision making or rash decisions that are made with a short term view. Fear trickles down to employees and partners who worry about losing their job or contracts. Fear does no one any good.
Biased information: As we all know news outlets can be biased and subjective, influenced by the editorial perspective of the media outlet or its key stakeholders. This can lead to misinformation or incomplete information, which may not provide an accurate picture of the reality. Entrepreneurs need reliable and factual information to make informed decisions, and relying solely on news may not always provide that. High profile “experts” don’t have a crystal ball and they don’t always have the right information. They can only speak about what they know based on the specific sandbox they play in, but it can create panic, nonetheless.
Fear of competition: It may sound crazy, but some entrepreneurs may avoid reading and watching news to prevent being influenced by what their competitors are doing or to avoid unnecessary comparison. Letting the competition dictate what you think you should be doing versus what is actually right for your business is counterproductive. Founders and entrepreneurs need to have a peripheral view of the what’s happening around them but stay focused on what matters for their business, its stakeholders and growth. Constantly keeping track of competition through news updates and the grape vine can lead to anxiety and distraction from achieving business objectives.
Cause decline in innovation: Great innovation is promoted through free, unbiased, if possible, thinking. For entrepreneurs, and their team, to innovative they have to be free of the stress to create, industry, market or investor pressures and expectations held by others. To think outside the box and stay ahead in the competitive business landscape, limiting exposure to news can provide this freedom to think independently, without restraint to develop creative ideas and solutions to big problems without being influenced by people, current events or market trends.
Mental well-being: Being an entrepreneur stressful and demanding on its own. Why bring in more chaos? Limiting exposure to news can help entrepreneurs maintain their mental well-being and reduce stress levels, as they can avoid getting caught up in the constant barrage of negative news and sensationalism that creates fear that can lead to poor economic and business decisions.
It's important to stay informed about relevant industry trends, economic developments, and other factors that may impact a business, and we’re not suggesting anything different. We are suggesting entrepreneurs set healthy boundaries on news consumption to maintain focus, reduce distractions and keep innovation moving forward to maintain priority on their business objectives.
Entrepreneurism is said to be one of the greatest spiritual journeys one can go on. A journey that requires passion, belief and faith, all of which can be destroyed if we follow the other sheep off the cliff. Of course, pandemics, wars, natural disasters and economic events can cause every business to rethink, restructure and redefine, but those are rare. Choose to not be distracted and keep moving forward.