Growing a business means you have to face some cold hard truths. After five years in business, I can look back and clearly see which little white lies were holding me back.
I love it when people tell me how honest they are and that they never tell lies. I’m calling BS on that one.
We ALL tell lies. They may not be big fat ones but every time someone asks you how you are and you answer ‘fine’ and you really are not, that’s a lie. When you tell someone it was great to see them and it really was not, that’s a lie.
These may not seem like earth shattering, ground breaking lies, but they prove my point: we all lie.
And the biggest lies are the ones we tell to ourselves. Especially when it comes to our health and our businesses. I know, because for the first few years in my business, I told some real porkies to myself.
Let me share my top three – all of which stopped my business growing until I confronted them:
1. I’m just making sure my website (content, brochure, business card) is perfect
Ah … I hate to tell you but there is no such thing as perfect. You’re just procrastinating and avoiding acting. This all boils down to fear – of success, of criticism and of being noticed. I did this for ages. People would ask “When will your site be up?” “Soon,” I’d say. “Just doing some last-minute tweaks.” It got to the point where I started to believe my own lies.
One of the smartest men in the world, Stephen Hawking, says “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist… Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” So, I bit the bullet and pressed go.
If you keep putting things off until they are perfect, they will never happen. Just do it. And then fix any boo boos as you go (most people will not notice anyway).
2. I can’t afford to invest or spend money on marketing or getting help in my business
I made this mistake for sooooooo long until I bit the bullet and hired an amazing PR manager. Granted, I took a cut from the bottom line for a few months, but her skills and expertise helped free me up to spend more time marketing the business. This means we can service more clients, which means a higher turnover for my business.
I have heard many small business people say they cannot afford to spend money on marketing. Really? This comes from a place of scarcity, not from a place of abundance. When you change your thinking about the benefits of investing in marketing or getting help, your business takes on a whole new life.
It is scary seeing that money go to a PR person or marketing person or tool to make life easier for you. The trade-off is more time to work on what you’re really good at. I like to think it as an investment in business growth.
3. I’m not good at sales, marketing or finding stories in my business
When I said this, I was telling myself fibs so I did not have to step outside my cushy little comfort zone. That place that is warm and dry, and there are no new scary skills to learn. But this comfort zone was not good for business growth. I realised I was not in the business of selling products or services. I’m in the business of marketing. That is my primary role.
A lady whose family owns a sheep farm told me they are not in the business of growing sheep but growing grass. This stumped me for a little while until I got it. Do you get it?
I sell and tell every day.
• When I’m convincing my children to eat their breakfast.
• When I’m talking to a prospective client about the services I offer.
• When I’m making a new friend.
I tell stories when I’m telling someone about the problems I solve for my clients.
Selling is about building relationships with people so they know, like and trust you. If you are genuine, treat people with respect and are honest, you should not have any problems closing a sale.
When it comes to telling stories, Seth Godin says “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
So, I stopped lying to myself
You should too. Fess up to the things that are holding you back from small business growth. It is liberating to own your flaws because it frees you up to take responsibility. When you take responsibility, you can make changes, because you face the truth. Go on. I dare you.
What lies you’ve told yourself have held your business back?