Like all business owners — who’ve been in business for ANY length of time — I’ve experienced huge wins… and some devastating losses too. While I could (and often do) rattle off a diverse list of those people and events that have contributed to my successes, I have but one person to blame for every last one of my defeats. This person still works for my company today, and — you guessed it — that person is me. And, if you are CEO of your company, chances are that person is you, too.
So, I want to share with you two of the TOP mistakes made by small business owners. These mistakes cost us time, energy, opportunity and money. I know, because they’ve cost me dearly.
1) We put too much stock in what we “feel like ” doing. Yes, we’re the boss. Yes, we make the hours, rules, prices, etc. We can pick (and fire) our clients, choose what we wear to the office, decide on our commute, and more. And I think we should revel in and celebrate these perks. However, we must also have a strategic plan to grow our business, and we must execute that plan REGARDLESS of how we feel. What I ask my clients to tell me is what they can COMMIT to… what they’ll do regardless.
Think of business like your weekly “long run.” When you’re sitting on the couch, comfy and warm, it never FEELS like a good time to go running. However, once you get moving… you’re glad you did. Business is the same way. Be strategic. Be consistent. Have a list of non-negotiables that you’re committed to — regardless.
Oh — and throw that emotional thermometer away. It’s of no use to you anymore. =)
2) We listen to too much of the wrong advice and we IGNORE the one guru we should embrace, follow, and listen to without exception. The wrong advice is typically that of academics and theorists, the biased B.S. clogging up the airwaves on national news stations, and the opinions of your peers. None of this matters. Most of it is wrong. A lot of it can cause your business harm, should you take action on it. So, be safe and ignore it.
Instead, pay attention to — and take detailed notes on — anything the top business guru shares with you… because this guru is ALWAYS pointing you in the right direction. The guru’s name? RESULTS. Yep. Results. We need to put more stock in the results we’re seeing than any other indicator in business. Look at all you’re doing. What results are being created in your business?
Learn to track your results. Measure them. And then, learn to take direction from RESULTS. Success leaves a trail, but only every time. Wondering if something is working or not, look at your numbers. Look at your sales, your bottom line, your incoming inquiries, your closing ratio, whatever is most important to you. Look at the results. What do THEY say?
Your numbers are your business mirror. Trust them. They’ll never lie to you, never steer you wrong. =)
As a side — probably preliminary — issue: What ARE you tracking and measuring in your business? The key to your success lies here.