By Charles & Linda Musselwhite, Musselwhite Consulting
The economy has shown solid signs of rebounding in recent years, and with that strengthening, many entrepreneurs have seized the day and gone into business for themselves. Whether it’s a SOHO (small office/home office entrepreneur) or SMB (small-to-medium business), small business owners have been taking advantage of opportunities that have been presented to them, or they’ve taken the reigns and created their own opportunities.
Yet, there are bad business habits that plague many small business owners. For example, according to Brother’s 2015 Small Business Survey, when it comes to bad business habits, 35 percent of small business owners admit to taking on too many roles and responsibilities. Mistakes like these can really wreak havoc on the bottom line of any business.
Below are the top five small business-killing habits that we’ve encountered (and even perpetrated) in our business.
Charles & Linda Musselwhite
(Photo courtesy of Musselwhite Consulting)
Waiting for the right moment
A lot of biz owners want to wait for just the right, perfect moment. You can always go back and revise and update, but every day you wait to bring your product or service to the market is a day lost. In short, perfection is a success-killer. Business owners need to put that aside or else it can be the one thing that holds them back. We had that happen in our business. Eventually, we had a business coach tell us to get out of the way, and trust that the hard work will take care of itself. For many, it takes a mindset shift.
Not delegating, and not leveraging the talent around you
When we first got started with our business, our thought process was “sell it and build it.” We quickly realized that more was needed, and we had to bite the bullet and start to invest in the talent around us. That is a scary thought for many because you have to relinquish control to others around you. However, we quickly learned, and our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. Learning to delegate allowed us to focus on talking to other business owners, showing them the potential in their business and getting them to take action. We are now able to focus on the long-term strategy and vision, while allowing someone else to take care of the day-to-day tasks. Business owners must execute on this, or they’ll end up creating another job for themselves, and not a business that will thrive and bring financial rewards, as well as the freedom to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want, where they want!
Not knowing how or when to say no
In our business circle, the saying goes that you “say yes and then figure out how.” But when you say yes to everything, and something better comes along, you might not be able to take advantage of it if you’re at capacity. Initially, we were charging a small fee that we were comfortable with to get our “foot in the door.” We knew we could charge much more, and realized that we were hurting our bottom line by settling for these smaller fees. You’ve got to get good at recognizing what you should say no to, and what you should say yes to.
Not implementing a review system
Every Monday, we spend the morning looking at what took place the last week for our clients, our partners and ourselves. Then, we look ahead for the next 30 days and gauge where we’re at with planning. We’ll also spend the last Friday of the month out of the office to brainstorm where we’re at, where we’re going, and where we want to be. Sometimes, we even bring in advisors to look things over, and give us another viewpoint. Whether you’re a SOHO or SMB, being overwhelmed is common. It can be paralyzing. A lot of entrepreneurs and SMBs don’t review, and we believe that needs to change. Reviewing and brainstorming were one of the best investments we’ve made in our business.
Micromanaging, and being a bottleneck for your business
We have a client that does about $10 million a year in revenue, but he wants to have his hand in absolutely everything. It’s important to create systems and processes that allow you to focus on fewer, better activities and cut out the lower-value distractions. When you do, you’ll be freed up to focus on higher value activities which in turn could allow you to bring on more team members who can be immediately indoctrinated into a system-driven culture of accountability and contribution.
In the end, “done” is better than “perfect,” and — as Marcus Lemonis writes in “The Profit” — being able to focus on “people, products, and process” is key. If you can master these mindsets, and minimize your bad habits, you can be successful running your business.
Charles and Linda Musselwhite are a husband and wife marketing consulting team based in Southern California. Married for more than 20 years, they honor the same values in their business as they do in their marriage: trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty and integrity.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.