3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make in Business and How to Avoid Them – Part 2

Here it is.  Mistakes we make in business:  THE SEQUEL!  

Today I’ll be talking about the second mistake.  Stay tuned for part 3 to learn about one more critical pitfall to avoid in your business (and revisit part 1 here).

Mistake #2:  Lack of Strategy

First of all, what is strategy?  Let’s start with these great definitions from Business Dictionary.com.

  1. A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.
  2. The art and science of planning and marshaling resources for their most efficient and effective use.

In simple terms, a strategy is a plan that helps you achieve your goals.  Having clear business goals is an important part of being strategic.  Many small business owners don’t have clear goals, never mind a clear plan.  (And you can’t have the latter without the former!)

Strategy is about being intentional about how you are approaching your business, organizing your time, and using your resources.  It’s about understanding what actions will create the results you want, and prioritizing them.  It’s about making sure your time and resources are spent in a way that aligns with your business purpose – being mindful to connect what you DO with the specific results you want to achieve.  

Solopreneurs in particular have a greater need for efficiency than any other kind of business.  If you are a single person running a business, you face significant limitations – time, energy, resources.  So it’s more important than ever to be strategic about how you use your time and resources.

Being strategic helps you stay grounded and focused in moments when you are tempted to chase shiny objects and binge on new ideas that could take you off course.  (You’re not alone.  Most entrepreneurs suffer from some degree of Shiny Object Syndrome.)  Being strategic helps prevent you from undercharging for your products and services, or overlooking hidden costs that will keep you from making a profit.  Being strategic can help you be more efficient, and make sure that the actions you take are in alignment with what you’re trying to achieve.

The risks of not being strategic are many and serious.  Poor sales.  Ineffective marketing.  Low (or no) profitability.  Wasted time and resources.  Yikes!  Below are ten signs you may need to be more strategic in your business.

Ten Signs You Might Need To Be More Strategic:

  1. You are not getting the results you want
  2. You are not making the money you want
  3. You are busy, but not productive (spinning your wheels)
  4. You spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel (vs. having systems)
  5. You spend more time getting clients than serving clients
  6. You are not connecting with your target market
  7. Your business is run primarily by trial and error
  8. You don’t know your numbers: how much monthly income you want to generate
  9. You don’t know what actions to take to generate your income goals
  10. Your marketing plan = throwing things at the wall to see what sticks

145HDon’t fret.  I’m also going to share my top recommendations for being more strategic in your business.

Create a Business Plan.  You don’t know what you don’t know about your business until you go through the process of creating a business plan.  It doesn’t have to be long and complex.  Even a short, simple plan can help you get grounded and move forward with a better understanding of how to achieve your business goals.  You’ll also learn important things about your target market (critical!), your competitors (eye opening!), and your costs.  Hint:  you must understand your costs in order to make a profit.  (Learn how to create a simple business plan in my workshop, Q2 Checkpoint:  Review and Recalibrate Your Business Goals.)

Create a Marketing Plan.  Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.  Successful marketing takes time and consistent action.  A simple plan can help you identify what marketing approach will work best for your business, and make sure you’re taking the consistent actions that will yield results.  If you are trying to do too many things, you won’t do them well, so keep it simple. And if you don’t give your marketing strategy enough time, the effort you DO put in could be wasted.  Take the time to create a plan and stick to it instead of waiting to see what sticks to the wall next.

Create Systems & Processes.  You can experience greater organization and efficiency by creating simple systems in your business.  Look for tasks or processes that you repeat often and look for ways to make those tasks easier and faster.  It can be simple.  If you’re a coach and you use the same intake process with clients, create a simple form that you can use with every client.  If your goal is to get results with your new marketing plan, you might schedule blocks of time in your calendar to set aside time to take the actions in your plan.  More advanced systems could include using a CRM to manage your contacts and email marketing, or using a software system to deliver your online courses and products.

Connect the Dots.  This is a big one, and in my experience, the most overlooked.  Connecting the dots is making sure the different parts of your business are in alignment with each other.  If you have a clear target market, but you don’t clearly mention them on your website, that is a major disconnect that will render your website ineffective as a marketing tool.   If you want to promote your latest program with a talk or workshop, but your talk isn’t strategically tied to your program, you won’t enroll clients with your talk because it’s out of alignment.  If the primary purpose of your website is to build your mailing list but you don’t have a clear and compelling call to action for people to sign up, that, again, is a major disconnect standing between you and your goal.  Take a look at your business.  Are there some areas where you need to connect the dots?  

If thinking strategically is new to you (and if it is, you are not alone!), take some time to let it marinate. Below are a few questions to help you self assess and think about next steps.

  • Do you have a business plan?  
  • Are you running a steady marketing marathon, or are you running in circles without results?  
  • Where can you put systems in place to save time and create order?  
  • Are you connecting the dots between the actions you take and the results you want to create?  
  • In what ways can you be more strategic in your business?

Still have questions?  Book a SuperPower Strategy Session here to get individual help and advice with your business, and learn about additional resources to help you share your superpowers with the world.