I get to speak with A LOT of small business owners. Sometimes they’re serious business owners who want to focus on the tools and tactics necessary to transform their business into what they’ve always known it could be.
Those are the calls I love to have. These ladies and gents are focused, motivated, and willing to make smart investments to achieve their goals. But for every one of the superstars, I find a couple of small business owners who are standing in their own way. I’ve seen a similar mix of small business owners in here.
Here are the 3 most common mistakes I come across, with some stories of examples. Note: the names have been changed to protect the guilty. If you’ve followed any of my posts then you know, I would never shame someone for making a mistake.
I’m sure you aren’t making these mistakes! But if you are, then learn from these examples and choose a different approach.
**Thinking they know everything.
We all know the type. Heck, as a younger entrepreneur I even made this mistake sometimes. Hubris is the attitude that kills open thought and closes the door to impactful and transformative changes. You can only know what you’ve experienced so far. So if you want different outcomes, then you need to open your mind to what you *don’t know*.
It sounds simple enough, but I had a client once that was going through a transition. We were there in the middle of a consulting engagement while a new owner purchased and began running the business. We’ll call this new owner Mike. The thing about Mike is he told everyone how much he knew all the time.
Mike knew that radio ads still worked better than anything he just had to increase the ad spend.
Mike knew that most of his team was stupid and he told them that every chance he got.
Mike knew how to do everyone's’ jobs better than they did.
Mike knew a lot, but what Mike didn’t know was that he was systematically undoing the progress that the team had made over the past few years. He didn’t know that in a matter of months they would all jump ship and go somewhere else.
Your mind is like a parachute - it only works when it is open.
Seek out the best advice and input if you want to thrive.
**Thinking that things will just work out.
This is an incredibly common trap to fall into. Too many business owners abdicate responsibility to intentionally change as the times are changing around them. Even highly successful and profitable business owners.
We see this trend in big businesses and small ones alike. Success hides problems.
When money is flowing, it is easy to get complacent and think that things will just work themselves out.
But money is a trailing indicator, and once revenues drop, there are almost always deeper, more long-term problems at the cause.
The solution is to stay on top of the necessary changes when your business is doing great and when you want it to do better.
One small business owner that fell into this trap was Terry. She was killing it at her retail store for years. They even grew to an expanded location to double their space.
But Terry’s market started to change. Her products appealed to an aging generation and when she finally saw the necessity to change she had very little profit to reinvest in her business.
**Thinking that they are big enough.
If you watch most tv dramas or paid attention to the financial crash of 2008, then you are used to the preachy message: Greed is bad.
Well, greed is bad. But wanting to grow your business to its full potential isn’t greedy. In fact, it is a small business owner’s moral obligation to continue to grow. The more you grow, the more employees you can hire. The more you grow, the more customers you can serve. If you want to steal from your customers or cheat your employees, then shame on you! Otherwise, you *MUST GROW.*
"Why?” You might be asking. “Doesn’t more money mean more problems?” Some say.
No. No. No. No. No.
This is a trap. It is the biggest trap.
More money solves more problems. If you don’t want to be in the problem-solving business, then you shouldn’t be a small business owner in the first place. Otherwise, grow and make more money.
I have a friend; we’ll call him Danny.
Danny had a great business and was making a very nice living for himself. He had a small team of 15 people or so and treated them wonderfully. Danny even drove an $85k Lexus. He took care of his family too. So he stayed put.
But the world is always changing around us. And when the economic shifts of the past decade happened, customers weren’t really buying from companies like his anymore. His larger competitors were fine. Even companies twice his size had enough resources to pivot. But not Danny. Now he’s divorced and working in a job he hates while trying to build back up some savings for retirement.
The moral of our story is don’t be like Mike, Terry, or Danny.
Stay open, get intentional about making changes, and keep growing!
You deserve it. Your market deserves it. Your employees need it.
So just do it!