Friday, November 9, 2012

8 Habits that sabotage your business and 1 way to exit it

As an entrepreneur, I’ll bet you’re incredibly busy and find that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to complete everything on your to-do list.

Have you noticed some of your most deeply ingrained, daily habits – driving your car, putting on your watch, taking a shower? You wouldn’t dream of not doing them, because they are part of your routine and they just seem to happen automatically. It’s likely that in your business you’ve developed habits such as reading emails, checking your website and grabbing coffee. You do them without conscious “thought” and yet they seem to fill up hours in your day…

But what about all the actions you need to take in order to build a more profitable and efficient business? Like following up with your best customers, asking for referrals, strategic planning and goal setting to grow your business? When do you do these activities? Do they often get relegated to “tomorrow” or “sometime soon”?

How to Move Forward in Business

If you’ve ever spent your day stuck in back-to-back meetings, answering routine questions from your team, responding to emails, helping other people, doing paperwork or tidying your office – you already know that these are “busy” activities, and they will keep you trapped where you already are – just simply maintaining, not growing your business. By filling your days with these tasks, you are in effect avoiding the very activities that you know will really move your business forward and produce tangible results.

Your “busy work” or habits create the magnificent illusion that you are hard at work, simply because your day is full of tasks. Let’s be honest, you would actually rather do anything than face the activities you know would radically accelerate your business success now! In fact, you often get to the end of the day and say to yourself “It’s OK, I was really busy, I’ll just get to that marketing plan tomorrow.” Or “I just couldn’t find the time today to make that seminar on leadership or customer loyalty.”

If you are waiting for the right or best time to do these critical activities in your business, it will simply never come! There will always be other “busy work” to fill all of your available time. You need to find a way to make your business building activities an ingrained habit too, if you want to grow your bottom line and live the lifestyle of your dreams.

Do you relate to or identify with any of these common sabotage habits?

1. Perfectionism

This tactic is insidious. It often immobilizes us from making a decision, starting a project or activity and signing off on a piece of important work. Most tasks don’t have to be 100% perfect, they just need to be good enough. The other way that this can show up is when you deceive yourself into believing that no-one else can do the job (even simple routine tasks) to your exacting standard, so you must do it ALL yourself. Follow the 80/20 rule, delegate what you do not have to do yourself and give yourself permission to be human!

2. Refusing to Let Go of The Past

Have you ever heard yourself say “last time I tried that, it didn’t work”? Or have you ever simply avoided doing something that you know you should or need to do but were afraid to do because “last time it didn’t work out the way you wanted it to”? Even though it’s a good idea to stop doing what clearly doesn’t work, it’s important to remember that the past does not necessarily equal the future. If you catch yourself finding reasons from the past to justify why you are not moving ahead toward your compelling future, stop NOW and take a good hard look at whether these are just cleverly disguised forms of self-sabotage.

3. Lack of Accountability

Who is holding you accountable to the decisions you make and the actions you take in your own company? Isn’t that why you went into business for yourself in the first place – so that you could be the boss and do things your way? Find someone outside your business – a coach, mentor or trusted advisor that can act as a sounding board and hold you accountable to staying on track.

4. Lack of vision, planning and specificity