Being in small business is not an easy feat… it’s often about juggling lots of balls all at once. However, sometimes without even realising it, we are unconsciously ‘dropping balls’ and leaving our clients with a less than average experience.
But how do you know? How do you recognise the signs that you are self-sabotaging your own business?
Here are some tell-tale symptoms of business self-sabotage:
Over Committed / Unable to say ‘NO’
Okay, so in small business / micro business, we are often at great risk of taking on too much – way too much actually.
It’s hard to say ‘no’, and I really get it.
However, by over committing yourself, you are at risk of serious business sabotage. I’d wager a bet that if you’re guilty of doing this, you will most probably already have a knot in your stomach whilst reading this.
Stop for a moment and take a really honest look at your current business workload. If the total work required is really not possible in the timeframes given, you have a couple of options:
You could consider delegating and/or outsourcing the areas of your business that don’t necessarily require your personal input . Remember, your business (no matter how large or small) includes administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, customer service, marketing, PR, sales. As a business grows, it’s often just too much for one person – and there are people out there (Virtual Assistants) who can potentially do the task in half the time that you do it, leaving you free to focus on what is important and / or what you love doing – i.e. the things that bring in the dollars
Or, you can simply re-negotiate with your client (depending on what your relationship is like with your client)
One thing is for sure though; if you don’t take action quick smart, the end result to your business could be loss of valued clientele. So whatever you do, DON’T IGNORE it. Communication Crisis
Picture this: you have shopped around on the internet for a product or service, and you have found what you want and are 90% ready to buy. You pick up the phone, or contact the service provider by email, but you are unable to either speak to them over the phone, or get a response to your email/message.
As a consumer or client, this is one of THE most frustrating things I personally find that I have to deal with… and it happens regularly.
If you are finding yourself constantly in overwhelm with your communications, either because of an out of control and overflowing email inbox and/or not enough time to respond to your phone messages, then don’t ignore it – do something about it! I can assure you that your communication crisis will eventually lose you business if you don’t act now.
Again, you can consider outsourcing your email management or phone support, or you can investigate programs and systems that help you deal with your communication crisis. Some basic email inbox management tips are:
Block time daily to read your emails (I’d suggest early morning, middle of the day, and then afternoon), and then DEAL with the emails that are there – then archive or file them!
Apply rules to emails coming into your inbox
Organise your inbox using folders and flags
Unsubscribe from promotional emails
Jack of All Trades / Master of None
When we start out in business, we often try and do it all… I don’t want to discourage you, because it’s important that you are flexible what you are able to provide your client base. However, by being a ‘Jack of All Trades’, you risk providing a service that is just mediocre. If you want to wow your clients, then really focus in on your niche – your area of specialty… that thing you most love to do, or that you are most talented at.
In other words, become an EXPERT!
If there’s still things that you have to offer but aren’t overly talented in providing them, then think seriously about outsourcing or delegating so that you can improve the level and quality of output.