Small business owners are the engines of the economy, constantly chugging and slugging away to help their businesses – and them – succeed. Business ownership can be described as akin to being on a roller coaster; the highs are exhilarating, the lows are gut-wrenching and you never know where the next curve in the track may take you. While you are hanging on for dear life, you may just be picking up some bad habits along with screaming like a banshee.
Here are some habits that seem to work but are surefire ways to cut the ride short.
- Being the “Plate Spinner”
Balancing spinning plates on thin rods may seem entertaining to the carnival goers, but the person doing the spinning can get exhausted. Trying to do everything yourself is the hallmark of a small business owner who will soon experience burn-out. Rather than enhancing productivity (as many of us may boast), multi-tasking and wearing all of the hats in our businesses is actually counterproductive. The common evidence that we are taking on too much is increased stress, decreased focus and reduced productivity.
How do you stop spinning those plates without them coming down forcefully on your head? Delegation is the key. One first step is to determine what you can delegate and then finding the right person or persons to whom to delegate. Ask your network for referrals and make sure the person can not only handle the tasks you are willing and able to delegate, but that they also fit with you and your business, culturally and stylistically. Then hand over those plates!
Shameless Plug: Consider hiring Cybertary to handle those tasks that keep you awake at night.
- Being the “But We’ve Always Done it This Way”
Living in the past is not going to propel your business forward. Being open to exploring new methods, tools, channels and concepts can keep your business on track and going in the right direction. Wallowing in the status quo can be detrimental to your business.
How do you break out to break through? Consider joining a mastermind group or working with a business coach/counselor. Seek out others with whom to brainstorm, dissect what you have done and how you may be able to tweak your methods, tools, channels and concept to move forward.
- Being the “Sure We Can Do That” Guy or Gal
Nothing can get a fledgling business into trouble more than over-promising and under-delivering. When you are building your business, you want to say yes to every request that comes your way. How else, you say to yourself to assuage the temerity you feel in your gut, can I build my business unless I take the plunge to take on any and all work? But what happens when your team, your infrastructure, or your own bandwidth can’t handle the request? You guessed it; you get a black eye for not being able to handle the work. It would be far better for you and your business to admit that the work is beyond your capabilities – at this time. By being honest with yourself, recognizing your limitations and being upfront and honest with the prospect, you leave the door open to revisit their needs when you are in a better position to deliver.
- Being the “Burn the Candle from Both Ends” Owner
One aspect that few owners consider when they start a business is the importance of self-care. You may be so caught up in bringing this business forward that you will forsake everything for its sake – sleep, nourishment, exercise, family, your own health and well-being. Work/life balance goes by the wayside as you try to squeeze every minute out of the 24 hour day for the business. And yes, no matter how rich or poor, young or old you are, there are only 24 hours in a day for each of us. By not taking care of yourself, you are doing your business a disservice as well.
You need to take some ‘me time’ to better serve yourself, your business and your clients. By taking breaks, whether they are a long weekend, an early quit on Fridays, or a traditional vacation, you will be in a better position to focus on the business when you return to the grind.
Owning a business can be incredibly rewarding. Just make sure to keep an eye out for these habits that may derail the fun along with the business.