The Top 3 Reasons Why Small Businesses Underperform

As a result of having helped hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, I’ve learned the Top Three Reasons Why Small Businesses Underperform.

The Business Owner thinks:

  1. They’re caring for their business, but they’re actually micromanaging;
  2. They’re being strategic, but they’re simply taking every opportunity that comes their way; and
  3. They’ve started a business that will change the world, but they’re too busy running their business, and the world ends up waiting another year.

A successful business starts with awareness. As a Business Owner, you have to be significantly aware of your actions and the results and consequences they bring.

Learning to say “No!”

You’re the backbone to your business, so you need to know and own what you stand for. Customers will respect you … if you respect yourself. I’m not encouraging you to provide bad customer service but to be uncompromising when your values are crossed. And to learn to say NO when an opportunity isn’t serving your greater purpose.

You’ve heard of world-class athletes wearing the same underwear for every game or never washing their game socks because it brings good luck. Well, there’s something to be said about developing a ritual that gives you your best edge.

Your performance is a direct result of your daily behaviors, your habits and the environment you surround yourself with. So make sure you know what keeps you at your best and incorporate these things daily. If you’re unsure as to what helps you deliver your best, experiment, expand your comfort zone and see what works for you!

Most of us have no problem lingering in our successes, but how willing are you to stay when things turn the corner? Being with failure is just as important as celebrating  success. Failure is a prime learning opportunity, a path to exploring your past decisions and contemplating how you’ll do things differently in the future. This is also a great time to ask yourself, “What am I consistently putting up with?” Because the things you tolerate are the things you worry about. So give yourself peace of mind and embrace the moments when the sun don’t shine!

“That’s not how it works in my industry!” is merely an excuse not to pursue innovation. I’ve witnessed how most of our competitors choose to run their businesses with similar standards for similar reasons. Blindly following these standards is setting our own limitations from the get-go.

You’re not in business to blend in, are you?

Oh, and by the way, for every limitation you think you have, we can find you a successful exception. So before automatically following the herd, make this a must, “How can you do it better or bring something new to the industry?” You can become the exception and go from impossible to done with the right intention and motivation.

High performance starts with knowing what you are best in the world at. Find that one thing that you excel at, and that jazzes you, and stick to it. A business that is laser-focused is way more successful than a business that is scattered.

So, identify your strengths and eliminate, automate, or delegate the rest. Seize only opportunities that fit your focus because everything else is only a distraction.

Remember to keep things simple: “What is the biggest problem you solve?” and “How are you making life better?” Don’t think just about what you have to offer your customers, think about what you’re helping your customers achieve.

There’s an old saying, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and he can feed himself for the rest of his life.”

Don’t forget about your team

This is also true for team performance. Helping to shift an employee’s view creates better performance than managing their actions because it creates an awareness of their intention.

Engaging someone’s awareness and shifting the “why” behind an action is a more permanent change than merely correcting the action. And it takes a lot more work to create continuous success. Plan a weekly check-in with each member of your team and experience how a little time and conversation can make things better for everyone.

Stay on top of your money

Money is in a constant state of flux. It gets earned and spent, it is received and given, and its value goes up and down. With so much movement, do you know how much money you actually produce?

Like gutters can get clogged and need tending, staying on top of your money channels (income generators) to sustain a healthy Cash Flow is important. And that means tracking your key performance numbers on a monthly basis. That’s your financial goal, the opportunities in your pipeline and how much you’re actually making — for each money channel. Because if you don’t measure, you can’t manage, and if you can’t manage, you risk a serious clogging!

The most important thing to know about success is to know when you get there. Take the time to really figure out what success is for you. Collecting images that represent your ideal future and creating a vision board helps as a daily reminder. Be clear as to where you are going, because clarity creates the momentum you need to get there more quickly.

Having said that, also remain flexible to how you will get there, because the journey then becomes a lot more effortless. Just like a flight going from Montreal to Vancouver may zig and zag a little along the way, but never loses sight of its destination.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Let’s face it, as a Small Business Owner, even thinking of prioritizing the pile of stuff sitting on your plate can be as huge as contemplating which came first, the chicken or the egg. Well, we’re here to tell you that busy does not mean profitable. Busy means exactly that — busy.

And the antidote to unprofitable busi-ness is, first, don’t buy into the chaos and speed of the world. Second, life is full of opportunities, so what do you need to stop doing to make room? And third, plan big, and execute small. To plan big, start by writing down everything you would like to realistically accomplish in the next year. Then, break the year into quarters, targeting in your first quarter the items that will create the quickest, most positive change in your business.

Once done, start executing small by taking bite-sized, intentional, consistent and sustainable actions to reach your goals. The important thing to remember when prioritizing your actions is, “Will this action or opportunity bring me closer to my objective, or will it just keep me busy?”

I’ll be the first to tell you that your instincts are your best asset. Ask the right questions, even the ones you think you shouldn’t, because you’ll never regret standing up for yourself and your beliefs. You know what you know about what you do, and we believe that instinct is built upon this knowledge, making it quite the powerful tool. So trust it, because it simply means you trust yourself to make the right call.

And there you have it. Walk your talk. Do what you say you will do by becoming a well-oiled delivery machine. Exceed expectations by promising less, and delivering more. That’s it, that’s all.

This is a sponsored post by Isabelle Mercier Turcotte. The views expressed in this article are their own. To learn more about Isabelle, visit our Specialist Panel.

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