Recipe for Disaster

This time of year no doubt fills your news feeds and inboxes with various types of posts instructing you on all manner of goal setting. Why you must goal set, how to do it, the goals you must have, the only way to be successful with them, etc., etc. In fact, wasn’t it just yesterday that I wrote a blog post on three foundational areas you should consider as you reach high with your goals this year??

 

Enough is enough already, am I right?

 

Don’t get me wrong, whether you choose to do it at the new year or during a personal retreat in the middle of May, I am a firm believer in taking time out to evaluate where you are, where you want to go and the tangible steps it takes to get from one to the other. We can dream or desire big things both personally and in business, but if we don’t sit down and look at the facts, use data, failures and plans to drive us forward, dreams and desires will remain just that.

 

Today however, I wanted to take a minute to spin the tables. Recently a good friend took some time to share his own personal recipe for failure this year. He made a list of all the things he should do to ensure he would fail in his work and home life. It goes without saying that he has no intention of executing the list BUT as I read down the list many of the items were things that you and I and no doubt my friend have probably already stumbled in a few times this year.

 

I found it very illuminating to look at life through the lens of the things I DIDN’T want to accomplish as a change. This perspective afforded me a vantage point to evaluate how bad habits could keep me from the goods ones I work so hard to set at the start of each year. It was quite refreshing and almost more motivational to me than the list of things I DID want to accomplish.

 

With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful for us to think through this next year of business through this lens. Let’s look as five things that would ensure you fail this year in your business.

 

1) Make a drastic decision or operational change because you had one bad month.

 

Bad months happen. I get that having to last minute scramble to figure out how to cover payroll is a nauseating feeling. But take a step back. Look at your numbers and your trends. Talk to business mentors. Look at your numbers and trends again. Make smart decisions and lead with confidence based on facts, not reactions.

 

2) Doubt your ability and experience to lead on a daily basis.  

 

It takes an insane and honorable amount of courage to step out and start your own business. Maybe you turned your hobby into a profession and you feel like you are guessing your way through the business end. Maybe you come from a family of entrepreneurs and you are afraid you won’t measure up. Don’t let fear lead you. Your smarts and courage got you where you are. Keep reading, keep asking questions, keep bringing your guts and courage to the table. And read this blog on Imposter Syndrome.

 

3) Focus so intensely on growth and make your team feel like their only worth is in getting you there.  

 

Your business is only ever going to be as excellent as your team. Customers are only ever going to be impressed if your team is impressive. Your team is where it is at. Love them, encourage them, equip and enable them. You can not get where you are going and stay there without a team that loves to work for you and believes in where you are taking them. Value this resource and the return will be worth it!

 

4) Don’t value your time enough to delegate and outsource tasks that others could do.  

 

You can’t wear all the hats. Burning yourself out; not training or trusting others to be capable of operations so that you can focus on your customer and innovation; leaving no wiggle room in your schedule to manage problems — for a business owner, these are all recipes for disaster. There is a necessary hustle to the small business life BUT you are a key ingredient to making your business what it is. Don’t be so busy, you don’t have time to step back and see the real needs. Here is some great advice from Adam Slack on how business owners should spend their time.

 

5) Invest all your money in marketing without knowing your numbers.  

 

Marketing is great. Tell your story. Help more people know they need what you have. I am all for this! BUT if you are struggling, don’t let this be your first move to gain momentum in your business. Remember number one on this list? We are right back there. Knowing your numbers will help you see the holes, pinpoint superfluous expenses, and identify weaknesses. Tighten down your business plan, gain confidence in a budget and then market with purpose! Tell your story with clarity instead of panic.

 

This is just a start. We could do this all day. Use this list to prick you out of some thought patterns and habits that may inadvertently be holding you back from achieving the goals that you have set for your business. Expand the list and personalize it to your own business processes. Think through little habits like how you engage with your email and tech and big habits like how your balance your work and personal life.

 

Bottom line — goals are great but if not coupled with the ability to look at the bad habits that may be holding your business back, you will wear yourself out and expend unnecessary energy trying to reach them.

 

 

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