TIME Careers & Workplace

The One Word You Need to Stop Using Immediately

This four-lettered word can hurt entrepreneurs.
This four-lettered word can hurt entrepreneurs. Adrianna Williams—Getty Images

Four little letters


This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

I don’t typically make generalizations, but I believe there is one word every entrepreneur should immediately strike from his vocabulary. That word is “hope.” As an entrepreneur, if you find yourself on a regular basis starting sentences with “I hope,” such as …

“I hope that the market responds to our new product line.”

“I hope that this new VP we hired works out.”

“I hope that our biggest customer doesn’t leave.”

… then you may have already lost the battle.

Hope is an expectation based on desire. Every business has expectations at many levels, but these expectations cannot be achieved without planning and execution.

Hope implies a lack of control.

It is simply anti-entrepreneurial to give up control. Control is why entrepreneurs have chosen this path … to control what we create, who we work for and how we get the job done.

On the other hand, a lack of control can be a sign of storms on the horizon. Lack of control is a primary reason behind many unexpected situations. Lack of control is why many entrepreneurs look like they just took a shot of Jack Daniels when they talk about raising venture capital. Lack of control over what you create, whom you work for or how you do it is often at the core of why many entrepreneurs fail.

Hope implies a lack of planning.

The minute you begin to hope is the exact moment when the situation is officially no longer going as planned. This is a dangerous position to hold as an entrepreneur. Sure, there are risks and situations that are simply outside of your control. However, the successful entrepreneur will have a plan for assessing, addressing and executing through unexpected situations.

Cultivate plans, not hopes.

Just because an entrepreneur uses the word hope doesn’t necessarily mean she lacks a plan altogether. However, it does somehow, if only subconsciously, set a tone of relinquished control.

So the next time you hear yourself begin a sentence with those two words, “I hope,” take a moment to think about how you would finish that sentence if you started it with “I plan.” Doing so will switch your mindset back to a state of control, allowing you to approach situations with the proper plan to achieve your goals.

So just delete the word hope entirely from your entrepreneurial vocabulary, and start planning for success.

Read more from Inc.com:
How 4 Entrepreneurs Started Up (Really) Young
Firing an Employee–Even a Bad One–Is Hard to Do

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