Being an entrepreneur is an exciting place to be… until the reality hits and you learn that it’s actually harder to grow a business than it originally looked. It all starts with the desire to share your knowledge or skill, continues with the excitement of selling your first product or service, and gets derailed with the frustration of bringing some sustainability into the equation.
After building couple small businesses myself and helping hundreds of entrepreneurs around the globe, I’ve identified couple key areas where most businesses fail. Plus, I’m giving you some key strategies to prevent the failure and tune up the profits.
Mistake 1: Obsessing about the “baby”
This is the biggest mistake you can make in business. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand that parenting goes beyond loving, caring and treasuring the baby. There are unpleasant tasks to do (like changing the diapers), new habits to develop (like teaching your child to eat, sleep, potty train), even sacrifices to make (anybody doesn’t remember those sleepless nights?).
Business is the same. It’s not enough to “love” your product or service. You need to do some unpleasant, yet necessary tasks, like bookkeeping to know your numbers, or marketing to let others know about your offers. There are also new habits to develop, like learning to market, sell, upsell, track, and so on. Building and growing your business will require sacrifices and you will need to ensure that you are willing to make them to move to the next level. You might need to work longer hours or cut down your personal expenses and invest in your business growth, especially during the beginning and growth stages.
It’s time to get real and deal with the responsibilities of your new “baby” (aka business). You don’t need an MBA to identify the next stage for your business and pin point the tasks that need to be done, habits that need to be changed and sacrifices it will require. Just take time to map it all out and understand the scope of your responsibilities.
Mistake 2: Planning gone wrong
There are actually couple mistakes you can make at the planning stage. Let’s look at them one by one.
- Lack of planning. It’s close to impossible to hit the invisible target. You need to identify your goals and action plan to make things happen, avoid distractions and move in the right direction.
- Too much planning. Don’t get me wrong. Planning is important, but if all you do with your time is planning, who will get the work done? You MUST move to action and get things on your to do list done to see the results!
- Not doing market research. Not understanding your target market can be deadly. You need to know your market needs, desires, problems they are facing, solutions they are looking for, where to find them and how to support them to build a strong business. What problem is your business solving? What end result do you provide? Where do you need to be for your target market to find you or buy from you? The better you understand your market, the easier the sales process will be.
- Becoming an idea generating machine. New ideas are great, because they help you innovate. But if new projects is all you do all day long, how are the projects going to get finished? Over the years I’ve learned to have an idea notebook for all my ideas to prevent getting derailed by them. This enables me to not forget my ideas, but to stay focused on what needs to be done.
- Not understanding the scope of work. We’ve all been there. What starts as a great idea with hopes to tackle it within one week, turns into 2 months of overwhelm and frustration. This goes back to the first bullet point – it’s critical that you take time to plan and map out your projects. You need to understand the tasks that will be required to create the desired end result and estimate the appropriate timelines to each. At first, it might be overwhelming and frustrating, but with each new project you tackle, your tasks and timeliness will get more realistic, helping you understand whether you have time available to make it happen.
- Lack of resources. Growing your business requires effort, resources and financing. Yes, there are shortcuts out there, free software, free advice and discounted solutions. At the end of the day, you want to get clear on the end result – are you just testing the market to see if this idea will work or are you building a solid business for the years to come? Your investment will look different in different scenarios.
When it comes to planning, it should become an important component of your business. Planning helps you focus on the right projects and tasks, have clarity around the necessary investments and prevent potential problems. Planning goes hand in hand with evaluation. It’s important that you evaluate the actual results, process and situations, learn from them and adjust your future plans accordingly. If you need help with the planning process, our Planning For Success might be the best step for you right now.
Mistake 3: Implementation madness
Over the years of working with small businesses I’ve seen entrepreneurs get completely stuck in implementation madness. Instead of blazing the trail, they jump from one idea to another, one coach to another and one strategy to another, wasting their precious time on things that are preventing them from making real difference.
Here are just couple ideas to help you implement with speed and precision:
- Know your strengths and stay in your strength zone. I’m a strong believer that together we are stronger. If something isn’t your strength, find somebody else who is good at it and pay them to get it done for you. It will save your time, energy and help you move forward faster and with less errors.
- Trust your gut. It’s time to learn to trust your instincts. You started a business because you “knew” that it is a step in the right direction. Trust yourself with other business related decisions. Don’t drag your decision making for weeks if all you need is this moment!
- Get something done! I like to start my day with a small project. Something that will help me create a quick win, build momentum and move forward faster. Whenever you feel like you are stuck, don’t quit. Look at something easy that can be finished quickly. It might not make a huge difference in your business, but it will make a big difference in your will to keep going.
- Done is better than perfect. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that 80% of something is better than 99% of nothing. The reason I was able to get further faster was because I don’t obsess with 100% of work being done. When you get something ready, put it out there for people to enjoy or for your team to tackle further. Finish that first draft, set up that registration page, publish that email campaign, get out there and start collecting your data to help you learn, improve, and move to the next level. You can always improve stuff later. Each version of your program, each book your write can be better. Just start somewhere!!!
When it comes to implementation, you need to understand that nothing happens until you take action. You need to market for your audience to know about your product or service. You need to have something to sell for people to buy. You need to be proactive to build predictable results. Waiting for people to discover you is not a strategy, it’s foolishness. What can you do today to improve your results? What do you need to do to boost your profits, speak on that stage or have a best-selling book on Amazon? Act today to see the results tomorrow!
Let me know on social media what you will do today to have different results in your business in the future.
If you enjoyed this article, click here to dive deeper and discover top 7 reasons why small businesses fail.