Big, Bad and AVOIDABLE: 5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make that Waste Time & Cost Money
We all make mistakes. If there was a way that you could avoid making a mistake – especially a costly one – I know you’d love to learn all about it.
So I’ve decided to pull a Clint Eastwood and “make your day”!
I’m going to give you the skinny on how to avoid a huge mistake…and a potentially costly one.
Many entrepreneurs put limits on their own incomes.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Seriously, who does that? I don’t know a single person in business for herself that does that! Why on earth would anyone want to make less money? That makes no sense!”
And you’re 100% right. Nobody does this intentionally.
But we all make mistakes, and one of the biggest mistakes we make is neglecting a few simple things that will allow us to make MORE money instead of LESS.
There are five things women entrepreneurs do that make it difficult for them to make more money in less time. I’m going to tell you what they are, so that you can look critically at your business and see if you’re doing them. If you are, you can stop – right away – and start making more money.
- You Lack Concrete Goals
Remember when you were in elementary school, and the catch phrase was “Reading is Fundamental”? It still is, but there’s another fundamental you need to embrace. This one pertains to the world of business.
GOALS are fundamental.
Without clear, measurable goals for your business, you won’t be able to maximize your income. You need to answer some important questions before you attempt to set your goals, so that you know they’re really guiding your business to where you want it to be. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much money do you want to make in a year?
- How many customers do you need to meet that number?
- What is your ultimate lifestyle like? How do you want to live?
- What does your exit strategy look like?
- Who is on your dream team?
If you know how much money you want, and how hard you’ll have to work to make it, you’ll have a blueprint that will help you build a foundation for your business.
Add to that the number of hours you want to work, the work/life balance you’d like to achieve, and whether you want to be merely comfortable or over the top rich.
Then think about how you’ll leave your business when it’s time. Will you sell it? Pass it on to a family member? Train and promote some great employees to manage it for you when you retire at the beach and sip margaritas? Whatever option works for you is the option you need to work toward.
Lastly, you need to think about the people you’ll need on board to get your business to this point. You’ll need to identify their skills, learn where to find them, and master the art of training them.
Once this is done and your goals are set, you can move on to the next mistake you may be making…
- You Don’t Have a Time Management Strategy
I also call this “Shiny Object Syndrome”. You’re all over the place, looking for the “next big thing”. Your focus is scattered instead of tight. You’re easily distracted by something that looks better than what you’ve got. You don’t buckle down and work hard toward a key objective.
You’ll know this is the case if you find that every single day is different for you, and you get to the end of every different day with the same thought in your head… “I didn’t get a thing done today.”
To address this mistake:
Establish time blocking.
If having everything in your life on a fixed schedule, makes you cringe…stay with me. That isn’t what we’re talking about here. You need to build some flexibility into your schedule, but you also need to establish some firm guidelines and stick to them.
Choose a schedule creator (I love Google Calendar…Google Calendar is my boss!) and set a block of time aside for certain tasks. Make this consistent. On Mondays, block out three hours for lead generation. On Tuesdays, block out three hours for accounting. On Wednesdays, block out three hours for sales calls. This is the kind of pattern I’m talking about – making sure that there’s a specific place in your schedule for the essential tasks that need to be done and that make you money.
When you do this effectively, you’ll see that your bank account mirrors what’s on your calendar. What you focus on expands…so focus on the right things that drive revenue in your time blocks.
- You Don’t Have Set Systems or Processes
To fix this mistake, you’ll need to establish step-by-step processes.
- Develop operational standards for your business – Create manuals or guidelines that establish how your business will be run. Set the bar high and always surpass your standards.
- Establish a clear sales funnel – Know where to find your customers and learn what marketing strategies work best to reach them.
- Identify and use tools that help you manage your sales process – Streamline your sales pitch and improve your closing skills.
- Lay out a profit model – So you know how many sales you’ll have to close to meet your income goals.
Most of all:
BE CLEAR ABOUT HOW YOU WANT TO DO THINGS AND HOW YOU WILL MAKE YOUR MONEY.
- You Don’t Value Your Time
Know exactly how much an hour of your time is worth. To do this, take the amount of money you want to make in a year, and divide it by the number of hours you’re willing to work in a year. This will tell you if an hour of your time is worth $15, $50, $350 or $500+.
If a task you’re doing doesn’t meet that minimum, whatever it is, it’s time to pass this task along to someone else so you can devote your time to tasks that will make you that amount of money when you’re doing them.
For example, if you find that an hour of your time is worth $100, it’s unlikely that tasks such as answering routine phone calls and sending out email newsletters are generating that amount of income. This is when you should decide to get some help from an administrative assistant who can do those things for you – at a much lower cost per hour.
It’s all about valuing your time.
And a word of caution to all the Type A’s and control freaks out there…
I know it’s really hard for you to accept this fact, but there’s a good chance someone else can do something better than you can. And they can definitely do it for less.
- You’re Not Thinking Like a CEO – You’re Acting Like A COE
A CEO is a Chief Executive Officer. She functions at the highest level of the organization, delegating, facilitating and managing. A COE is a Chief of Everything – a flustered, frazzled, overworked and overwhelmed person who feels that she is solely responsible for anything and everything that needs to be done in the business. From taking out the trash to driving sales numbers.
You can see that the life of a CEO is where you want to be. A CEO is a leader who inspires confidence in others and sets an example. A COE is torn in so many different directions that she appears over-tasked at best and entirely ineffective at her worst.
Think of your business as a closet.
Is it neat, tidy and organized? Is there a place for everything, and is everything in its place? Does the door close securely and protect everything inside?
Or perhaps it’s messy, disordered and over-full, so the door doesn’t shut and mess spills out everywhere for everyone to see. You can’t find things or take care of your priorities because there’s so much else in the way.
By adopting a delegating strategy and sticking to certain tasks, you’ll be able to handle everything in your wheelhouse while others take care of the overflow. You know those shows on TV about hoarders? When you watch, you can see that they’re paralyzed by the enormity of what they have to do to get out from under the piles of stuff complicating their lives. If you learn from their example, you will cut down on what you need to do, so you can do the remaining tasks more effectively.
So, how many of these mistakes are you making?
If you need to discuss your thought process with me, I’m here for you. Get in touch and I’ll help you work through the tough parts so you can start building a bigger, better bank account.
Until next time…