As an entrepreneur you are both the biggest visionary and the biggest saboteur in your business. You see the big picture, and yet seem to subtly sabotage your advancement. Little things you keep repeating and don’t fully realize the impact it has on your bottom line.
In my years as a business owner I confess – I’ve done them all. However, once I started working with my first business coach nearly 10 years ago – I gave up my excuse of “not knowing” what I was doing and saw an immediate impact and positive result in my business bottom line.
This involves waiting. Waiting for the right time to get into the market, waiting for an opportunity, waiting to call the prospect (you don’t want to be pushy…right?).
Do you remember jump roping when you were a kid on the playground, where two kiddos would have two ropes going and you’d like up to take turns jumping in the middle navigating both ropes? Some of the kids knew the timing and others just kept waiting, getting into the rhythm of it, bobbing their head but not jumping in – not taking action.
When they finally did jump in, what usually happened? They got caught in the ropes and everything stopped. They second guessed themselves SO much that when they did jump in, it was halfheartedly with some serious fear and anxiety they’d be caught in the ropes.
I believe if the kiddo just got in the game they’d have a better chance of being successful.
The same is true for you as a business owner. You wait for the magic sign to let you know that the time is right. Stop waiting.
From experience I tell you that making a bad decision almost always turns out better than making no decision. Once you are “in”, you can figure things out. Think of all the successful entrepreneurs and business owners whose story includes, “I didn’t know how it was going to work out, but I took a leap and figured it out as I went.”
When stuck at making a decision ask yourself what is the worse that will happen if you do NOT take action and what is the worse that will happen if you do take action. If the risk is reasonable, go for it, as my pop would say – I promise you’ll figure it out as you go.
Do you do a little bit of advertising? A little bit of networking? A little bit of referral work? Sometimes do a newsletter?
Most entrepreneurs aren’t sure what to do for business development so they do little bits of lots of things with a very small result. They feel frazzled and busy, and can’t quantify what’s working or why it’s not.
You should have 3 tools you use religiously for business development and use them consistently on an ongoing basis. Additionally, reconcile your activity each week. (I’m a big fan of the spreadsheet for keeping yourself on track).
Maybe your 3 tools are:
Attending XX Number of Networking Events/Week
Giving Your Own Seminar/Webinar or Community Talk XX Number of Times/Month
Fostering Relationships with Champions
What matters to you in your business you must measure. The activity, the result. If you are spending 80% of your time doing things that only contribute to 20% of your revenue, stop it. The only way you know what is getting you results is keeping track of your activities and results.
Shockingly some entrepreneurs come to a point where they say, “My business is big enough. I can stop building it now.”
This….is a VERY bad idea.
When my coaching roster is full, and I don’t have room to take on any new clients, I still continue to promote what I do; and you should to.
When you continue to promote your products and services – even when you are busy, it lets you capitalize on your profit model every month.
If you fire a client, a replacement is ready to take their place. If a client graduates, or the project is completed, you have a new client ready to on board and begin working with right away, no blip on your profitability screen. No scrambling to try and "make up" for the client you just lost.
This month, two long term clients graduated and within days I had two new clients committed and ready to begin in March. These clients didn't "magically" appear - they were directly related to ongoing strategic business development that I do every single day.
You may not be putting as much time into biz dev as you once did, but you must have a plan that you are working each week in order to sustain results and profitable outcomes.
Good enough is never good enough.
How many of these are you doing in your business? Something else I’ve missed? What’s the business development blunder you keep making?
I’d love to know and offer some solutions. Ask me a question on Facebook or tag me on twitter and I’ll see what insight I can provide!
Debbie Page Whitlock is a business coach and leading authority on cash flow for women entrepreneurs, and writes on all things related to creating sustainable, scalable and potentially salable businesses and other useful bits of business wisdom she’s acquired on her 20 year entrepreneurial odyssey.