Five Business Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

You want to be successful in your business but feel you aren’t moving fast enough or are stuck at your current revenue level. Maybe the problem isn’t the business or lack of opportunity. You may be unconsciously sabotaging your success with one of these small business mistakes: Fear of change, Lack of focus, Going it alone, Not playing to strengths, Thinking small.

Fear of change. That big contract or client looks attractive but is going to take you out of your comfort zone. You won’t have the safety and security of having a track record with that size client. You may have an unconscious fear that you are not totally prepared to handle the new responsibilities or have the skills to succeed in the job. Conquer this by letting go of your current identity and creating a vision of yourself as successful with this client. Reflect on the successes that you’ve had and how much you’ve learned with your current clients. Recognize that you have the skills to meet the new challenges.

Lack of focus. You don’t have a business plan or marketing plan and accept each client as they come to you. This gives you an excuse to complain about the quality of client that you’re getting and becomes a reason for not making your revenue goals. To conquer this mistake, take ownership of your business plan and marketing plan. Write your business goals down and create a marketing map which identifies who your ideal clients are and what you need to do each month to achieve your revenue and business goals. Each new client should support your long term business and revenue goals.

Going it alone. This fear masquerades as false confidence. You think you know everything that is required to achieve your goals so you don’t ask for help or you are embarrassed to ask for help. The danger of not asking for assistance is the loss of objectivity as well as missed opportunities. Leveraging the wisdom of others help you accelerate your learning. You don’t re-invent the wheel. To conquer this one, build a support team inside and outside of your company, to include trusted mentors, coaches and business advisors who will give you constructive feedback, information and recommendations.

Not playing to your strengths. We each have aspects of our business that we love and are experts in and other areas that we don’t like or have average skills. It’s a mistake to offer clients solutions based on less than average skills where we have no desire and perhaps no ability to become an expert. Rather, focus on those areas that you are really good at and become known for them. Be the person that everyone thinks about and asks for to handle that particular job. It may seem counterintuitive but the more you specialize in a narrow set of solutions, the more sought out you will be and the more you can charge for them.

Thinking small. This one is a variation on the Fear of change. The author and lecturer, Marianne Williamson says “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

To conquer this fear, look at the leaders in your industry. Watch what they do and how they do it. You’ll probably discover a few things that you do better than them. Perhaps it’s your ability to provide more personalized attention or perhaps there are aspects of a solution that they overlook but that you include in what you offer. Take what you learn and highlight that when you are targeting that ‘big fish’.

To conquer the fears of success, acknowledge both the positive and the negative consequences of playing a bigger game. Think about how your business will be transformed if you are successful. Get guidance and support from mentors and coaches. Most importantly, identify a business goal, actively work towards it and measure your success.