A lot of us cross off completed tasks from a written To-Do List. At the end of the day, the list can look pretty messy. Once everything has been crossed off the list, we toss it in the trash.
While I have co-founded, built and sold two multi-million dollar technology service firms, I admit they were never truly profitable. Every increase in revenue seemed to be matched with an even greater increase in expenses. Every day I checked (and still do) my bank balances. As the balances would climb and fall, so would my confidence and my spending. I lavishly incurred new, unnecessary expenses when my bank account was fat. I panicked when it was thin.
Success! It’s a word that gets thrown around quite a bit. Google the words “Business Success” and you get 1.23 BILLION results. (No, I’m not joking.) And yet, the definition for success is not only different for each person and each business, but more and more we are hearing a call for a general re-thinking and re-definition of what it means to be successful.
I recently had the privilege of speaking at a Tedx event in Hoboken NJ. My workshop was called “think small to make a big difference in the world.” As a business owner, I know what it’s like to have a big idea or a big dream, and I also know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed or at a loss about how to get there. Most people believe that big goals and big problems require big, complicated plans in order to solve them.
Ask an entrepreneur about the biggest challenges in his business, and you will inevitably hear that his potential customers don’t see or understand the value of his product or service. The entrepreneur’s prospects are not buying, or they are asking for a lower price. One thing strikes me about this issue – entrepreneurs often “blame” the customer. The lament – why don’t these people understand how valuable my offering is? Why don’t they see that my offering is so much better than my competitor’s, (who just happens to be undercutting my prices)?
If you’re like most small business owners, you watch your bottom-line closely. Payroll is typically one of the largest expenses in a small business. It’s also the source of a significant hidden cost—employee disengagement. During the Pumpkin Plan 1-Day Kickstart, I walked our participants through calculating the cost of employee disengagement in their small businesses.
If you want to grow your company and continue to reach new goals, chances are you will also need to make some changes along the way to how you do things. And change is hard, even when it’s a positive change. In a previous post about how to reignite growth in your business, I highlighted three main obstacles to change: Overwhelm, Lack of Buy-in/Motivation, and Force of Habit. My first post on this topic addressed “Overwhelm.” This post is about “Buy-in,” and how to create the motivation necessary for real change and progress.
Day in, day out, I see business owners trapped in the survival trap. It’s painful to watch and I try to throw out a lifeline whenever possible. What’s challenging is that when we’re in the survival trap, our attention is so focused on surviving, we miss—and sometimes even intentionally pass up—opportunities to get ourselves out of this trap.
If your company’s growth has stalled, and what got you to this point isn’t getting you any further, it’s a pretty good bet that you need to make some changes in your business. You may know what changes you need to make, you might have even hired a consulting company to tell you what changes to make, but for some reason, you’re still not making them.
I often find myself discussing the importance of saying “no” with busy, stressed out business owners. In fact, just the other day, one of my Provendus peers was coaching me through a tough decision and he reminded me of the value of saying “no.” Ouch!