Five ways you are sabotaging your own business

By filling your day with ‘busyness’ instead of business, you sabotage your chance of success. How many of these sabotaging signals do you see in your business?

MYOB

Every business owner will tell you that they are busy – that there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish every task or tie up all the loose ends.

Truth be told, countless hours are wasted on simple, everyday activities that demand your time and steal focus from your otherwise productive day – updating your website, opening mail, reorganising your desk, and dealing with staff issues. You move from one task to the next and then wonder, “Where has all my time gone?”

So, where does that leave all the proactive tasks you need to do today in order to construct a more profitable and efficient business? Following up with customers, asking for referrals, strategic planning, reviewing your key performance indicators and setting goals should not consistently be put off until tomorrow.

By filling your day with ‘busyness’ instead of business, you sabotage your chance of success. While ‘busyness’ generates the illusion of working hard, you are doing a horrible disservice to yourself and your business. Making excuses and avoiding productive and profitable work is tantamount to business suicide.

There is no “best time” to take proactive steps to build your business – there is only now, and there are only a finite number of productive hours in your day!

Do any of these ‘Sabotaging Signals’ ring a bell?

1. Perfectionism

This can wreak havoc on your business, paralysing you from making decisions, starting projects or approving important documents. Striving for perfection and believing that no one else is capable of doing what you can is a fallacy. Smart and successful business owners follow the 80/20 rule, where 80 per cent of your time and energy should focus on the 20 per cent of work that is really important. They delegate tasks and understand the value of learning from mistakes.

2. Lack of Accountability

Who holds you accountable for your business decisions, actions, and strategies? Though you may enjoy being ‘the boss’, the title alone isn’t enough to ensure you consistently move forward. It’s critical to seek out a mentor or trusted advisor that can listen, instruct, and hold you accountable.

3. Absence of Planning and Details

If you don’t know your end goal, how will you know when you’ve reached it? Constructing a 90-day, 1-year, and 3-year business plan should take highest precedence on your to-do list. Be sure to define your goals clearly and succinctly – be specific (who, what, where, when, and why) and determine realistic completion deadlines. Put your goals in writing to boost specificity, accountability, and achievement.

4. Fear of Financials

Success is number-driven, and your numbers never lie. Understanding what your financials are trying to tell you about the health of your business can save you time, money, and frustration. When you know the key drivers and indexes that affect your business (such as your breakeven point, productivity ratios, inventory turns and gross profit margins), and track them daily, you know exactly what to focus on in order to boost your bottom line and cash flow.

5. Lack of Measurement

Want to literally save thousands of dollars? Master the concept of testing and measuring every aspect of your business. In the absence of measurement, you have no way of knowing whether your investment in assets, marketing, technology and people are really worth it.

Though a quick fix would be ideal, the most common forms of self-sabotage are habitual and ingrained in our brains – only time and consistent effort can change or diminish them. In the 1960′s, Dr Maxwell Maltz, a highly regarded plastic surgeon, discovered that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in their amputated limbs. That is how we know that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit or form a new, empowering one.

Dr Maltz’s research clearly indicates that our brain doesn’t accept new data or information needed for behavior or habit modification unless the stimulus is continually repeated for a minimum of 21 consecutive days. Change, whether positive or negative, requires time and consistency.

By identifying which forms of self-sabotage are inhibiting your success and results today, you can formulate a written plan, track your daily progress, and take meaningful steps toward achieving the results you deserve. Today is the best day to say goodbye to sabotage and hello to success!

This article was first published in MYOB's blog, The Pulse, to view it in its original form click here.