Why Being Clever Can Backfire in a Small Business

Small business people tend to be a proud bunch. If you have built a business from scratch, you take pride in what you have created. Your decisions have brought you the income you have and the type of business you run. If you are happy with where your business is at financially, and happy with the business model you use, the lifestyle the business gives you, the time freedom you enjoy, the lifestyle it provides, and the speed of growth you have experienced, then good on you for achieving thi level of satisfaction.

If you are not one of these people, you are one of many business owners not satisfied with  your business or the lifestyle it brings. How long has this been a problem?  Us business owners tend to put up with pain for way too long. What have you tried to change? Small business owners tend to have blinds spots they are unaware of. You may be unaware of the impact your behaviour has on customers and staff. You may not understand the importance of aesthetics in selling your products and services. You may not understand what your customers need. We get in our own way when trying to improve our own businesses.

You need to understand the problem in order to solve it properly. Below is my summary of the problem:

Your fragile ego is your own worst enemy.

A fragile ego is one that jumps from feeling superior to feeling inferior regularly, and never finding the middle for long enough - the middle of these two extremes is where innerstyrengh lies, where you find inner peace and strong self worth. Most of us are not happy with ourselves so we struggle with feeling inferior and superior and when stuck there you don't develop or learn.

For example, when you think you’re right, you tend not to seek advice from experts, or feedback from your stakeholders. For years I thought I knew how to run a business with only a psychology degree – I look back at my old self and think –' dude, what were you thinking?' I made running a business harder for myself than it needed to be.I offered too much to my clients for not nearly enough in fees. And in spreading myself too thin I was not enjoying work and not spending enough on support. I was utterly disempowered by the business I was supposed to be running. But it was really running me. I then got a business degree. I learnt about finance, strategic planning, marketing, and so on. But it didn’t stop there, my ego that is.

Now with the business degree I kept trying to do everything myself. Here is a brief list of the absurd things I attempted: Writing my own copy for advertising, creating my own brochures, Creating my own website (design and content, spending hours and hours learning wordpress), Doing my own accounting, strategic planning, Answering the phone, doing all my own invoicing, making appointments, cleaning the office….Trying to bail out water from a boat with a teaspoon would have been easier than running my business that way. Is any of this familiar to you? Its neurotic and painful, and in doing this you can still make money but at a price too large to be worth it.

Here is a few things I have learnt:

1.     You may not be able to see things the experts can. Fresh eyes are valuable.

2.     You may not have thought about your business the way some experts can.

3.     You may not have the problem solving tools the experts have.

4.      You pay them because their advice is likely to be better than from your friends and family

5.     If the expert can do it in a fraction of the time for less than what you can earn in that time, it’s a no-brainer – get them to do it!

6.      Asking for help is in no way a reflection of your lack of competence as a business owner.

7.      Listen to others who may know more than you about a particular subject. You are not supposed to know everything, and even if you tried it doesn’t all come from the books you read or videos you watch. Its impossible to be an expert at everything. Even if you tried, there is not enough time.

So if you want to be a successful business owner, tame your proud and stubborn ego, and learn to open your mind to learn and adapt to change. And if you need some help doing this, my coaching psychology could be of help to you. Take a look at my personal and professional development courses for more, or you may want to consider one on one coaching with me. Feel free to call or email me with your enquiry. And let me know what you think of this blog by leaving a comment. I hope this blog has triggered some insight in you and helps you to improve. I wish you well.

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