Thursday, 12 June 2008

7 Ways Business Owners Sabotage Their Success

As a business owner or entrepreneur, I’ll bet you’re really busy all the time and there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

Some of your everyday activities are habits, like brushing your teeth; taking a shower; or filling the car with petrol. You wouldn’t dream of not doing them. In your business you have habits as well, such as opening the post; reading emails and checking your diary. You do them without thinking.

But what about the activities you need to do to bring in more business? Like marketing for new clients; following up with existing contacts; planning and goal setting to grow your business? When do you do them?

If you’ve ever spent your day responding to emails, helping other people, working on making your marketing brochure or website absolutely ‘perfect’; doing paperwork or tidying your office – you already know that these are comfort activities, and they will keep you stuck just maintaining your business. By filling your days with these tasks, you are effectively avoiding doing the sometimes less comfortable activities that will really move your business forward.

Your ‘busy’ work will create the illusion that you’re working hard, simply because you feel busy and fill up the day. You will do anything rather than face the activities that would dramatically accelerate your business success. You get to the end of the day and say to yourself “It’s OK, I was really busy today, I’ll do that tomorrow.” Or “I just couldn’t find the time today to make those follow-up calls.”

You know, if you’re waiting to find time, it will never happen! There will always be other busy work to fill your available time. Your business building activities need to become a habit too if your business is to thrive and profits are to increase.

Do you identify with any of the following?

The Top 7 Ways Business Owners Sabotage Their Success
  1. It’s got to be perfect – this tactic affects so many of us. It often stops us from starting a project or activity and gets in the way of goal achievement. Most tasks don’t have to be perfect, they just need to be good enough. Give yourself permission to be human!
  2. Nobody else can do it – this is when you believe that only you can do a job because no-one else can match your standards or do it the way you want it done. You need to devote your time to the important business building that truly can only be done by you. Let go of routine tasks by delegating or outsourcing.
  3. “Last time I tried that, it didn’t work” – so you don’t do it again. I’ll agree that it’s a good idea to stop doing what doesn’t work but only after checking if it might have been your approach that didn’t work, not the activity itself.
  4. Not being accountable – when you conveniently ‘forget’ to do something you know you need to do but would rather not. If it’s an important activity, write it down so you remember it. Even better, ask someone (like a coach!) to hold you accountable for doing it. Remember, no excuses!
  5. Failing to plan – and allowing all the ‘busy’ work to fill your day. Anything that is important to your business success needs to be planned into your diary so that it gets done before the less important stuff. Write it down.
  6. Not setting a deadline – means you can put things off if you don’t feel like doing them. This is often why ‘to-do’ lists don’t work. Every time you write down a task you need to do, give it a realistic deadline and be accountable for meeting it (see #4).
  7. Easily distracted – by interruptions like the ‘phone, incoming emails, other people, or new ideas. Using this tactic will mean you have lots of unfinished jobs on your ‘to-do’ list and feel you are overwhelmed. Stay focused on the important task you are currently working on and only allow yourself to be diverted by real emergencies.
No more excuses! The time for self-sabotage is over.

© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2008

Louise Barnes-Johnston is “The Business Accelerator”. She provides business coaching and mentoring for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. Get a copy of her FREE report “10 Ways to Boost Your Business” at

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