Small Business Owners are the backbone of the economy!
They step out every single day taking risks to revolutionize their industries and provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of individuals. And for that, Small Business Owners deserve to thrive personally and professionally: to have a business that takes care of both them and the people working inside it, so that everyone can enjoy and love their lives.
But there are a few habits that I’ve noticed tend to get in the way, in my life and in the lives of my fellow business owners. So I’m breaking them down, so you can avoid getting sucked into the whirlpool of unproductivity and depression that these issues bring with them!
#1: Stop Trying to Live Up to Success Stories
I know entrepreneurs do this because I lived this for such a long time!
For the longest time I was constantly beating myself up mentally for not living up to the success stories I’d heard. In particular, I was comparing myself to Michael Dubin who built a billion dollar business in three years. Crazy! Right? But because I was comparing myself to him for so long, I was constantly frustrated and never felt good enough.
I used to think I was alone, but I’ve learned that I’m not the only entrepreneur who does this.
As entrepreneurs, we hear these amazing success stories about people who went from zero to billionaires in weeks. And they’re inspiring, but then we wonder why we’re not having the same success. Sometimes we even compare ourselves to the people just up the street, who never seem to struggle paying bills while we’re sitting here wondering how to make payroll this month.
Here’s the Problem with Comparison…
When we spend all our energy comparing ourselves to others, and beating ourselves up for not being at their level, guess where we’re not spending energy? Yup, on our businesses. All of that energy is spent on self-degradation, and not on building a successful business. There are so many issues with that! But here are my main two...
1: Peak Performance
When you’re constantly funneling energy into beating yourself up, you can’t perform at your peak. Which means that the business which is relying on you can’t grow in the way it has potential to. Self-degradation in business owners destroys business growth.
2: Brain Space
Self-degradation takes up a LOT of brain space! Trust me, I know. I lived it. And the issue with that? Suddenly we have that much less brain space for business growth strategies. And when you’re a small business, you’re either growing or dying. So small business owners really don’t have the space or luxury to be allocating brain space to something that sucks energy out of the business.
Business owners are brilliant! And we need to stop sucking our energy from what we’re brilliant at (growing the business) and funneling it into comparison.
#2: Stop Trying to do it all Yourself
Once again, I’m speaking from experience.
I built my first, second, and third websites. I was doing my own bookkeeping. I was doing my own graphic design, marketing, sales, etc. If it was a part of the business, I was doing it! And granted, that is how it is for most starting entrepreneurs. But that can’t be how it stays if you want to grow. Especially if you want to get to a place where you love doing what you’re doing.
The Issue With Doing it all Yourself is...
Everyone is good at different things. These are our energy advantages: activities that we do well and love doing. And we are performing at our peak efficiency when we are working inside our energy advantage. So if you’re doing everything, you’re spreading yourself beyond your energy advantage and are working on everything from the things you love to the things you hate.
So start delegating and outsourcing!
I’m great at marketing strategy! However, I’m not good at graphic design. Not that I don’t have an eye for it. I can tell you if something looks good or not, but I’m not effective or efficient with it. I don’t do it quickly, and I get far too sucked into the minutia. But there are other people on my team who are great at it!
So instead of continuing to try to do it myself, I found those people who find their energy advantage inside of graphic design. And beyond that, I was able to hand the projects over to them entirely by helping them own their outcomes.
I hardly touch the graphics that go out on our social media anymore, because it’s not my energy advantage and it is someone else’s. And it’s amazing!
Moving those projects that aren’t my energy advantage off my plate allowed me to start focusing my energy on the things that are my energy advantage. Things like marketing strategies and project management.
Business owners need to be able to pass things off and delegate, so that we aren’t trying to do every single thing in the business. Only when we do that, can we truly begin growing our businesses.
I know, it’s scary. It’s hard. But trust me, it’s the most valuable thing you can do for yourself!
And your team might just surprise you by being amazing at what they’re doing...
#3: Stop Trying to Account for Everything
A habit I’ve noticed within myself and among my fellow entrepreneurs is the desire to anticipate everything.
In other words, we sit down and say “We’re going down this road, what are the possible hiccups and problems we might encounter?”
Which is great! Troubleshooting and planning in advance is an important skill.
But as entrepreneurs, we tend to try to plan every single thing perfectly. And I mean, down to the last strand of hair in a recording. We try to build the perfect vehicle to account for every little potential pothole in the road.
The Problem with Perfectionism (Yes, that’s what this is!)...
More often than not, we don’t encounter half of the problems we anticipate and it takes us four times as long to get started moving. In addition, we encounter problems we didn’t anticipate.
The end result? We either end up super proud of how slowly we moved (because we avoided any potential potholes), or we end up disparaging our progress because we hit a pothole we didn’t anticipate.
Think about it this way: Done is better than perfect. We’ve all heard the quote, and here’s why…
Jeff Hoffman, the Global/Serial Entrepreneur, was a speaker at Grow2021. He’s a billionaire and the designer of hundreds of products like the self-checkout Kiosks at airports. Here’s what he said about success:
"The people who are more successful than you aren’t smarter than you. They just got it done."
If you want to be successful, you need to give yourself permission to stop being a perfectionist. Stop trying to account for every single variable, possibility, and obstacle out there. Instead, start taking action.
Done is more powerful than perfect.
Because while perfectionists are on Iteration 4 of the vehicle, the people executing their ideas are four or five miles of momentum down the road that perfectionists are preparing to step onto. Remember: you can correct as you go, but you can’t make accurate corrections if you never get going.
So stop trying to account for every variable! Just start doing!
Could I have made a list of actions for you to stop taking?
I could have said “Stop being your own bookkeeper” or “Stop being your own graphic designer.” But the truth is that we all have different energy advantages in life and business. For some people it’s reasonable to do their own books. For some people it’s reasonable to do their own graphic design. But it’s not reasonable to do every single thing. And it’s not reasonable to hold yourself to impossible standards, or to compare yourself to someone else.
We are all different, at different stages in life and different places in our businesses. But start treating your business like what it is: a business that is growing. Stop holding yourself back with comparison and perfectionism, and let your business grow into the beauty it can be!
When you step back in these areas, you’ll discover a business that brings people together in a family and takes care of those working in and on it.
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!