“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit”
All small business owners want their ideas to become a success, yet so many of them go out of business in the first two years.
There can of course be unforeseen catastrophic events like a major lawsuit, sudden change in the market or change to policy – yet these big events are rarely why companies go out of business.
Small businesses frequently fail because of multiple bad habits that snowball, often without the owner being full aware of them.
Here are 5 bad habits for you to watch out for and address in your business.
1. Focusing on too much at once
Getting one product or business off the ground is challenging enough for most entrepreneurs. However business owners have a tendency to try and a lots in a short amount of time. Often instead of focusing on one or two things at a time, they set themselves 8, 10 or even 20 goals!
The problem with this is that they spread their focus, energy and time too thinly, so instead of achieving more, they in fact achieve far less.
Think about it like spinning plates. If you just have one or two that you are trying to keep in the air, you’ll have the time, energy and focus to keep them up beautifully. If you have 10 going at once, you’ll be run ragged between each. By not being able to give any plate enough time so there is a good chance you’ll drop them all.
2. Waiting for everything to be perfect before taking action
Many business owners get so hung up on waiting for the perfect time, the perfect plan or the perfect amount of money and they fail to take action.
Waiting for perfection is actually another form of procrastination that is stopping you from achieving your goals. Perfection is a myth; there will never be a “perfect” anything.
Successful business owners recogonise this and subscribe to taking imperfect action. They then learning from the results they results and then trying again until they get the outcome they want.
3. Wasting time on activities that don’t lead to a fee paying result
In the first few years of your business at least 80% of your time needs to be focused on the activities that will help you to increase your income. These include talking to potential customers, building a tribe of people who love what you do, understanding what your customers problems are, publishing useful content to attract more customers, converting more customers… you get the picture.
If instead you find yourself doing activities like creating the perfect filing system, diligently doing your accounts, networking in places your ideal clients aren’t, rewriting your website for the 5th time, spending too much time on social media … then your business results will reflect this. To be successful in business you can’t only do what feels comfortable, you must do what is needed to get a result.
4. Creating products instead of solving problems
A mistake I often see passionate business owners make is to develop an idea they think totally rocks and then not be able to find any customers who want it.
The reason this fails is that they are approaching it the wrong way round. The most effective way to approach this is to first find a group of people you are passionate about helping. Then find out what their problems are, so you can create solutions that solve these problems. When your solution solves a problem your market has then of course they are going to buy it.
If you are in the clothing industry in Alaska, there is little point in making bikinis for the locals. No matter how pretty you think they are, getting a tan is not a pressing problem for them!
5. Being reactive instead of proactive
Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of entrepreneur or are you more strategic in your thinking?
If your approach to business strategy is a little like throwing mud at a wall to see what sticks, your results are most likely going to be erratic at best.
In order for your business to evolve, you will need to take a more measured and proactive approach. This includes set goals, measure your results, understanding market trends and planning for the future.
You need to start to grow your business on purpose instead of waiting to see what happens to it by chance.
As well as being a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and ex-CFO with over 20 years experience, she has also worked extensively with small and medium sized business owners to help them grow profitable businesses.
She's also a certified coach, NLP practitioner, Metadynamics TM Consultant and contributor for Kochie’s Business Builders.
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