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The Biggest Recurring Mistake Small Business Owners Make

· Small Business,Mistakes,Small Business Owner,Work On Your Busines,Small Business Flops

Most small business owners do not make time to work ON their business more than once or twice a year.

Before you get up in arms over this statement, listen for a minute!

Small business owners get so caught up working in the business that they never make the time to sit down and actually work on building and designing the business.

As a small business owner, I face the same issue.

What ends up happening is that three years into running a business, the owner is suddenly realizing they don’t have time.

“My business is controlling me. I'm working for my business, not the other way around. I got into business to work for myself and be my own boss. Yet somehow, I'm not, I have less time, less money, and I feel like I’m more in the hole than I used to be.”

Sound familiar?

If it does, don’t feel alone!

The more work we’ve done with small businesses across the US, the more I’ve realized that it’s the primary reason 80%+ of all small businesses don’t make it past three years.

Business owner’s build a habit of putting out fires. Taking care of problems first.

The small amounts of time that the business owner set aside to work on the business, and on planning and direction, get commandeered. They fail to take time to track data, must less review it to determine where customers are coming from, how long they are sticking around, what needs to be done to get them to stick around, and long-term sustainability of the business model.

They might attend a couple of industry conferences each year, but for most of them, it’s a waste of time because less than 5% of what they learn actually gets implemented back at the shop!

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not pointing fingers.

I’m saying all this because I understand.

All of a sudden, all these eternally optimistic entrepreneurs (seriously, every entrepreneur I met has to have some optimistic bone in their body! Who else would put themselves through this?) realize they don’t have time.

It’s not what they wanted when they started, and they start to struggle.

We’ve all faced the struggle of working on work for a client (immediate cashflow) and working on the design or future of the business (rarely produces immediate cashflow).

The reality is, across nearly 2500+ businesses in the past 7 years, the common denominator is that the ones that shut down are the ones who didn’t make time to work ON the business consistently.

Do yourself a huge favor, do your future and your business a huge favor.

If you haven't spent enough time working on your business this week or last week or the week prior, then sit down and figure out what you need to do to change that because I guarantee it's not going to change on its own.

You will never suddenly start finding time to work on the business.

Whatever story is going through your head, is wrong. When you’ve got a habit of avoiding working on the business, it doesn’t change overnight!

Too often we’re telling ourselves that once we get that new hire, or wrap up this project, or get that big contract that will bring in the cashflow, it will free up time. But it doesn’t work that way.

One of my favorite sayings is:

“When you get to where you're going, you'll only be more of who you already are.”

In other words, if you get to where you’re going by killing yourself over a project, you’ll just kill yourself more over the next and you’ll continue to never have time for what you want. Hiring somebody new, or getting a new client, or winning the lottery doesn’t suddenly turn you into someone who has time to work on their business.

In light of that, I want to encourage my readers.

We all struggle with this challenge of creating time to work on the business. I can see over the past few years where I've gone long stretches without spending enough time working on the business, and guess what happened? The business stalled out. It didn't grow to the level that it could have grown - should have grown. And that was on me.

Take a minute. Stop and think about how much time you spent working on your business over the last week, or even month. You can change and grow your business, you can change the way the world does business, but you have to start it. You have to make the time. But I guarantee, if you do, you’ll see those changes that you’re wanting to see.

Don’t make it to three years and realize you’re not where you want to be. Start today, and make the future you want.

An awesome way to help you work on your business is making sure you’re setting goals properly. Check out this awesome goal-setting freebie to help you start working on your business:


Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. 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

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