Three Mistakes Small Business Owners Make…and How to Avoid Them

Don’t you wish sometimes someone would just tell you EXACTLY how to do it…

When you start your own business, there is no book that says this is exactly how you have to do it. There is no magic formula or a magic pill that you can take.  There is also this idea floating around out there that is like a “right of passage” that you have to work harder and put in long days, 80-hour weeks, and then you’ll be successful. Or, that you have to do everything yourself in your business to be successful. You can’t give the work to anybody else, because nobody’s going to do it as good as you will.  And you make mistakes…lots of mistakes…

But it’s totally ok, I’ve got you covered.  Mistakes are only how we frame them and they give us a chance to learn from them and do things different and better.  I’ve seen time after time small business owners thinking that they just have to work harder to succeed.  They do the same thing they’ve been doing, expecting a different result, and that just doesn’t happen.  In fact the opposite happens.  The business actually suffers.

I totally get it and I’ve been there myself.  When I started my retail business other business owners would tell me “You need to be the first one here and the last one to leave, even if that means 14 hour days/7 days a week.  You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t do that”.  I’m not sure who started that theory but if you’re someone who believes it, it’s time to try something new.

Over the years I’ve seen business owners make three key mistakes (including yours truly) that prevents them from moving forward and achieving their dreams.  So do any of these sound familiar?

Mistake #1 is basing what you want to do on your current circumstances. If you want to go anywhere and you want to do anything with your business, you need to have a vision beyond where you are right now. Having that vision and being able to make it tangible in your mind, and visualize it every day, is what’s going to drive you forward. You can’t base where you want to go in life on where you are right now because we are constantly changing and growing.  You have to decide what it is you want for your business, what vision you have, and then move forward towards it. Plan for things that you want to do. I don’t know anybody who stays the same year after year.  People are constantly growing, trying and learning new things.

Mistake #2 is working harder and feeling like you are the only one who can do things in your business. What ends up happening with this mistake? You become the bottleneck. You focus on the wrong things. When the business is struggling, and you don’t have revenue coming in, you don’t have a paycheck coming in, you think YOU need to just keep your head down and keep working, no one else can do it as good as you. You’re looking at the person down the street and what they’re doing, instead of focusing on what is at the core of your business and how you can do things differently. So many business owners think if they work harder and harder and harder, that they’ll get the results they want to get. And that just doesn’t happen. Along the way, as they’re working hard, they’re getting tired and unfortunately they start to burn out. Your mind is not intended to continue to function non-stop, and neither is your body. Eventually what ends up happening is you get health issues, you get run down, you burn out.  Learning how to build a good team and surround yourself with good people (physically in your business or virtually) is so important to growth.

Mistake #3 is not knowing your numbers, not fully understanding key performance indicators in your business. Is it the earnings you have per customer, is it the traffic coming on to your website, or insights on your Facebook page? Or perhaps it’s just simple financial statements, income coming in and expenses going out. A lot of business owners have no idea what their numbers are.  Knowing your numbers and really having a handle on where your business is can be crucial, because that helps you make decisions for the present and the future.  Yes, I am all about your business having meaning beyond making money. But At the end of the day, the more money that you can make, the more you can help people, the more of an impact you can make. The more you can also do things to take care of yourself and your family.

Three Lessons I’ve Learn to Help Avoid These Mistakes

Like I said, I’ve made these mistakes numerous times and along the way I’ve learned how to avoid them and get the help I needed to move forward and focus on what is really important.  You think it starts with a new business strategy or a new plan but really it starts with you…it starts with changing how you think.  If you can relate, here are 3 things you can start doing right now.

Number one is, believe in your ability that you can figure anything out. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get frustrated. Go back to that centered belief in you.

Second, find a coach, a mentor, and ask for help. A lot of business owners think asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s definitely not. It’s actually a sign of strength and believe me when I say this, the Entrepreneurial journey is not intended to be done solo.  Working with someone who has been there and done that, who has experienced things and overcome them, will help you move forward even faster.  Surrounding yourself with good, like-minded people help to keep us going when things get tough and we want to give up.

The last thing is, don’t try to do everything at once.  Break things in to small, actionable steps. Whatever you are trying to do, break it into small pieces so that you can stay consistent. Don’t try to do everything in one fell swoop. Whether its understanding your numbers, working with your accountant, or maybe working in a better way with your team. Whatever it is, break it down into small, actionable items.

Remember, you weren’t intended to do this alone because after all it’s not about you.  It’s about what you are doing to leave your mark on this world.

With Much Respect and Appreciation-

Theresa, xo

PS – If you feel like you’re making one (or more) of these mistakes, I’ve got something for you.  I’m starting a NEW beta program, a “6 Week Small Business Intensive” to walk a lucky, small group of founding members through developing a growth strategy to take their business to the next level.  There are a limited amount of spaces so if you want to get on the “early bird wait list” you can get sign up here to get VIP notification when it opens.