Running your own business is tough, and it’s even harder today with a pandemic and economic uncertainty adding to the challenges we normally face. And then there’s an even bigger issue that can completely sabotage a business. That is the owner – or in other words, YOU. Without realizing you’re doing it, you can create a lot of problems for yourself, putting up roadblocks on your path to success. Here are 3 things you might be doing to sabotage your own business, and how to avoid them.
1. Ignoring Signs
The day-to-day design business can be so hectic that we tend to keep our noses to the grindstone, not looking up for anything. But if we do that, we could miss some important signs. And there are a LOT of them out there right now. Yes, you might be super-busy at the moment, but there are some ominous economic issues on the horizon. And they are definitely going to impact your business.
So what to do? Be sure you pay serious attention to your cash flow, and squirrel away as much as you can for a rainy day. As we learned this year, those rainy days can come without warning. There are other, less scary, signs to pay attention to, as well. Like how people are changing what they want in their homes, and where they want to spend their money (be sure to catch my blog post on this topic next week!). Consumer behavior has shifted BIG time, and you need to be ready for that. Even small things can hit your business – like the stresses of dealing with clients who are seriously on edge right now. Even your nicest client could have a meltdown with you, but it’s due to everything else that we’re all dealing with right now. So pay attention – those signs could help you avoid major pitfalls!
2. Comparing Your Company to Others
This is one of the worst things you can do to yourself – and to your business! No one approaches success in the same way. In fact, what you might think of as success may not be the same measurement that someone else is using. Comparing yourself to others is a no-win situation. And you’re the one who is going to lose every time.
Why? First of all, you are comparing yourself to what you THINK is successful – you don’t actually know if it’s the truth or not. Every company can look like it’s raking in the dough if you’re just looking at social media and what the owner says is going on inside the company. But unless you actually get a look at their books, how do you really know what the reality is?? I can promise you that there are a LOT of designers who are super skilled at the smoke-and-mirrors game, making themselves look like a million bucks, when the truth is much more serious. So sit down and look at what YOU actually want to achieve.
Do you want to look fab on Instagram, or do you want to make money? I know what my answer would be. And if you want to make good money with just one employee, then do that! You don’t have to have a big office and dozens of employees to be a big success. Judge yourself by your own terms, not by someone else’s.
3. Avoiding the Numbers
I know that YOU know you need to review and understand the numbers side of your business, but are you ACTUALLY doing it?! It’s easier to avoid it, especially in times like these. But that is not going to help you at all. There has never been a more important time to have a solid grip on your income, expenses, billing practices, and profit margins. Avoiding things won’t change anything for the better. Once you know what’s on the books, you can work to change it or add to the bottom line. For me, once I had a really good handle on my finances, I found it was far less stressful and I felt that I had more control over the future of my business. Meet regularly with your bookkeeper and be sure you understand every single aspect of your company’s financial picture.
I know things are tough right now, but we still can control a lot about how our businesses move forward. We can’t just put our heads in the sand and hope things will change. To help you, please download my FREE guide for How to Manage Analysis Paralysis! It will help you analyze what challenges you face and how to meet them head-on.