Does your business own you or is it the other way around? Some business owners we know are working harder than ever, logging more hours, but seemingly never catching up. Others are trying hard to control their businesses, but instead are being controlled by it. Still others seem scattered, frantically running from fire to fire. What’s the problem? Business ownership should be fun and it should be profitable. We see some dangerous trends with businesses and while many will point to the economic climate or other issues, the truth is, this hasn’t just cropped up. It’s time to stop and make a couple adjustments to some deadly business trends.
- Trend One: Running on Empty. “Getting up and working earlier all the time means I’ll get all my work done and I’ll get all caught up.” This is pure folly. Our bodies and brains need rest and need to have time away from work, so constantly starting at the crack of dawn and working past dusk does not cut it. Statistically, people will perform poorest when they don’t get adequate rest, plus solutions for nagging problems can’t surface if the brain is exhausted. It’s hard to be on your game when you’re sleep-deprived and stressed to the gills. Here is a great article on ways to help your brain. Bottomline: Get away and get some sleep! Make a commitment to keep yourself refreshed so you bring your very best to your business.
- Trend Two: Fear of Delegation. If you are a “gotta do it myself all the time” kind of person, take a step back and be honest with yourself: Are there some minor admin chores of your day eroding billable time that you could be devoting to bringing in business? An easy way to move past this roadblock: delegate small tasks and be very clear on the expectations you have. If you’re a small shop, hire someone for only a few hours at a time and let them prove themselves. Over time, their worth will be shown by allowing you to work more efficiently, making your hire an asset, rather than a liability. Rule of thumb: get rid of whatever you can do, but really shouldn’t be wasting your time on.
- Trend Three: No Plan for Marketing. When’s the best time to be marketing? All the time. When a business is busy and flush with customers, it’s easy to think things are okay. This short-sighted comfort can kill your business. Why? Because you need to keep the pipeline filled at all times, let the business begins to dry up. Customers can come and go, so if you’re marketing consistently, you won’t really experience the downturn some businesses face when there their marketing goes flat. A solution: make a concerted, written-down plan for marketing for just the next quarter. Commit to it and let nothing stand in the way of doing it. By taking it in quarterly chunks, you can make adjustments when some marketing isn’t getting the results you need.
Are you seeing other trends impacting small business or are the ones above hitting close to home? Share your comments below.