A Confession & Three Big Obstacles to Small Business Growth

This “Obstacles to Small Business Growth” blog entry is from my Online Business Management website, written in January 2013.  It seemed to hit a nerve with many of you – and I’m still struggling to practice what I preach – so I thought it would be a good reminder for all of us…

I have a confession. I have SO enjoyed the partnerships I have with my clients, and have been SO focused on how those partnerships can create success for my clients, that I have fallen into the “big three” traps (as I call them) that prevent solopreneurs and owners of microbusinesses from building their businesses. These traps are actually obstacles to small business growth and prevent you from making the progress you want and deserve.

 

I’ve been working IN my business, instead of ON my business.

Have you noticed? Can’t even remember the last time I posted a blog entry. And it’s only been recently that I’ve made updates to my website. I’m just now working on the recruitment of more A-list colleagues whose skills and expertise really complement my own.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s been for a noble cause: I love the work I do with clients. But for sake of my own business longevity, my sanity, and – for Pete’s sake – leading by example, I’ve got to turn this around.

RESOLVED: I will honor the block of time I set aside each Monday to work on my own business, instead of client business.

 

I’ve failed to take time off.

If you’re already a client, you know that I often work in the evenings or over the weekends (or even in the evening over the weekend). It’s usually not because I “have to”, but rather out of a passion for what I do. Yet, I am beginning to really feel the energy and creativity drain that I know this can bring about. I know that if I’m good to myself, I reap the rewards by accomplishing more in less time, but… (you know the rest – you live where I live).

RESOLVED: I will schedule regular time off to recharge the batteries. No more work after 6p. No more work on weekends.

 

I’ve forgotten why I’m here.

If you’re like me, your business was born out of a dream of being master of your own destiny – a destiny that no doubt included the ability to schedule work around the rest of your life, (instead of scheduling your life around your work). Lately, I’ve caught myself saying (more often than I’d like admit) “Oh, I’m sorry – I can’t. I have to work.” Wha????

RESOLVED: Make sure that I have policies, procedures, and people in place that make it easier for me to step away from the business when I want and need to. Then. Actually. Do. It.

 

As an Online Business Manager, I’m often coaching my clients about working smarter, instead of harder. So you can imagine the internal tug-of-war that happens when I don’t walk the walk… Fortunately for all of us, these obstacles to small business growth are all completely “treatable,” and often the remedy is as simple as finding ways to stay focused on the big picture.

So, like you, I’m re-focusing myself for 2013. I’m re-establishing priorities. Setting goals and objectives. Drafting budgets. Staying focused on the big picture.

I’m also scheduling time off. Having coffee with friends. Going out to dinner with my hubby. Frequenting the gym. Reading for fun (OK, likely still business-related, but it’s a start). Watching a movie. Volunteering. And staying focused on the bigger picture….

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