Telling the truth about SME life today

Six reasons why you’re sabotaging your business (maybe)

1. Fear of losing control

“No-one else seems to be able to do the work to the same standard as me.” Sound familiar” Does this type of thinking prevent you from delegating effectively” Unless you can learn to trust other people to do the work for you, the size of your business will be limited by your personal capacity to deliver.

2. Clinging onto the work

I see this often with technical specialists – e.g. accountants, lawyers, etc. They love the technical side of their work so much that they’re reluctant to give it up or hand it over to someone else. There is always an excuse which keeps them clinging onto their work. If you want your business to grow, you have to be prepared to step up and lead your business, rather than BEING the business. Until I did some personal reflection, I realised that I was unable to justify why I shouldn’t take on every new client for my business.

3. Lack of focus

We’ve all seen it happen. A business gets swamped with ideas, projects and initiatives, and in the end nothing gets done. Or it may be that the business loses its direction over what it’s all about. It’s interesting that when I’m coaching business owners, normally the first thing we do is re-establish the business focus and strategy.

4. Scattergun approach

Often, I see business owners trying too hard – particularly on their marketing efforts. They throw a bit of mud around in all directions and hope that some of it will stick. Steady business growth takes focus and clarity – as well as joined up marketing, sales, operations and financial thinking.

5. Thinking you’re irreplaceable

When I identified the reasons why my clients were choosing to work with me, I identified elements of my expertise which influenced their buying decisions:

  • Social media knowledge and marketing savvy
  • Success in growing my own business around the demands of a family
  • Female who wanted to have quality time with her family, but build up a successful business
  • Qualified coach with many testimonials to prove this
  • Happy to move into a mentor role if needed

It was at this point that I drew a blank. I didn’t know anyone else who had this mix of skills and would be happy to take on associate work, and so fell into the trap of believing I was irreplaceable.

This can easily happen if you niche yourself and build up expert status within this niche. My subconscious had started to believe all my marketing hype and spin. But really, this was a mental block only in my head. As soon as I started to properly look within my network,  I was able to find two fantastic associates to act as business coaches for me, who, for various reasons, would be very happy to do some associate work for me.

6. Lack of confidence

Confidence is often the difference between a business success and a business failure. Many businesses are crippled by their business owners’ lack of confidence to take the right decisions, or kick the right doors down at the right time.

Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.

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