There’s an old abandoned house on a street that I drive frequently. It was probably built in the ’50′s or ’60′s and it was probably a gem in it’s day. Sadly, it’s been ignored over the last decade and I though I saw people there before, I haven’t seen any sign of habitation in the last year and a half.
And yet, I’m always drawn to it. There’s an open window on the top floor. It was open all winter long. It’s STILL open. I wonder what’s in there. Birds? Bugs? Squatters?
SOMEONE has to “own” that property – even if it’s a bank. Does anyone care that the house is completely vulnerable to the elements, to “visitors”, to anything?
Last week as I drove by I saw the public notice that the home is going up for auction. Though the property is probably worth something, I imagine that the home might have little value left.
What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? (Leave it to this girl who can apply ANYTHING to a life or business principle.)
Where are you vulnerable in your business? Where are you vulnerable in your life? What open windows do you have that are wreaking havoc on your prosperity?
A lot of us have known vulnerabilities. Perhaps it’s a staff member or contractor with poor performance. Maybe we’re operating without a business plan or marketing plan. Maybe sales are low this quarter. Maybe you’re wondering what the the legislative changes are going to do to your health insurance coverage. Maybe you haven’t posted your labor law posters. (Gasp!)
Others of us have vulnerabilities lurking below the surface. We may even be sabotaging our success, and we don’t even know it. It’s often the things we DON’T see that are causing the biggest problems. In my opportunities to consult and chat with entrepreneurs across the country, I have found four major vulnerabilities to small business success:
- Poor Time Management – Just because you dream of sitting by the pool, sipping your favorite beverage while you bask in the sun, doesn’t mean you won’t have to put in a lot of sweat BEFORE that dream becomes a reality. If you have a hobby business, have hobby hours. If you’re trying to grow a thriving company, put in a full days work. Wasting hours away on Facebook and calling it “work” won’t put money on the table. My mortgage doesn’t get paid in “likes” or “shares”. It’s paid in dollars earned by hard work and in PLANNED time I spend on revenue generating activities. If you KNOW this is a current vulnerability of yours I created a free video series called “Working SMARTER, not HARDER” you can access. Time is either your greatest asset or it is your greatest liability. Use it well.
- Bleeding (sometimes blindly) Financially – I share this in open disclosure because there have been times in my business where I didn’t “understand” the numbers so I ignored them. That business is no longer in operation. Luckily, I’ve had other successes because I DID understand the numbers and I made that a priority. Though I’ll readily admit that financials are not my strong suit, I DO know that getting help from an awesome tax advisor and a financial planner were worth their weight in gold. So was hiring someone to help me with invoicing (which I hate doing…I’d rather be working on the marketing and relationship stuff).
- Lack of Confidence (masked or accompanied by crippling procrastination) – I share this last, but perhaps this is where I’M the most vulnerable. I get a great idea then sit on it. I’m jazzed about a new coaching program or event and I do nothing. At times, I’m so scared of failure that it’s easier to do nothing. Perhaps this is an over share, but as a recovering procrastinator, I want to be real with you. Sometimes things don’t get done because I’m scared I’ll do it wrong. That’s why coaches, mentors and accountability partners are something I can’t do without. Even though I’m a coach, I still invest in what I call “Trailblazer” training. I want coaches that help me GET THERE (wherever THERE is in business) FASTER, so that I can help my clients do the same. Though lack of confidence sounds harsh, sometimes our efforts to grow our business and our paychecks comes from lack of accountability.
- Drip Marketing Activities instead of GUSH Marketing SYSTEMS – Do you want a pipeline that drips or that gushes? Make marketing a scheduled priority! I’ve already talked about this, this week, but if you missed my thoughts on this subject, check out “Marketing: A Search for Systems & Schedules that Work” & “How To Create A Simple & Effective Social Media Strategy”
I know there are more business and life vulnerabilities than just the four listed above. These are the ones I see most frequently. Can you resonate with one or more? If not, ask yourself the question:
In what areas of my life or business am I susceptible?
Then for ALL OF US, we need to be asking ourselves the question:
What is that vulnerability costing my business? In most cases, there will be financial costs. However, don’t forget intangible costs as well: maybe a lack of connection to our business or mission. Maybe a decrease in connection with a spouse, child, family member or friend. Maybe it’s a sacrifice in quality of life. (A LOT of these trace back to poor time management. If you don’t know where to start, start there!)
Just take a minute to think through your business and see what areas you should be focusing on in the next month, 3 months and 6 months. It’s never a bad time to set a goal and close windows and doors that are opening you up to financial loss and more.
While were on the subject…Do you need help here? Personally, I have a 3 slots that opened up for my 6 or 12 week “Revive My Startup” coaching program starting the week of June 24th. Or if you just need one-time support to “Jump Start My Startup” in a one time strategy session, I do only 6 of those a month. You can learn about both here. I’ll do a complimentary 30 minute consult for you to see if there’s any chemistry between us and if my knowledge base can assist you. We also have Fairy Godmothers in every expertise waiting in the wings to fulfill your needs and help you overcome your own vulnerabilities in life and business. We’re here for you!
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. If you’re having trouble in ANY area going it alone, get help. We’re here to help you Make a Wish and Make it Happen!
Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on May 30, 2013