Have you ever wondered why some business owners refuse to invest in your services, even though they really need them? Here’s what I have discovered, having worked with thousands of small business owners.
I was prompted to write this post, after speaking with 3 people recently, (purely by coincidence), who were each failing in their attempt to make a living as “life coaches.” It’s little wonder. Their services looked identical, just like (literally) hundreds of thousands of other life coaches, and there was nothing at all to motivate someone to hire THEM as opposed to anyone else in their industry. None of them had any marketing experience and all 3 confirmed that they were earning practically nothing from their failing businesses.
Even so, all 3 were committed to developing their businesses without expert help, during the worst economy in living memory, knowing they were going broke.
All 3 gave me the same answer: Lack of money.
That’s the wrong answer, by the way!
Think about it for a moment: Almost every successful business starts off with little or nothing in the bank. Their challenge is not a financial one, if it was, only well funded businesses would succeed and that’s very much not the case. In fact, some of the world’s most successful businesses, including Facebook, started off with little or nothing. Facebook famously started off with just $1,000.
To give you a picture of that mindset in action, you need only look at the answer one of the life coaches gave me, when I asked him why he refused to invest in getting a local marketing guy in to help his business, when he so desperately needed marketing help.
I simply asked him: “You said that local marketing providers were too expensive for you to work with, how much did they quote you?
His answer: “Oh, I have no idea. I haven’t spoken with any marketing people, they charge too much!”
That’s right, he had no clue what the cost was. He just decided that whatever it was, it was going to be too expensive! His barrier wasn’t financial, it was a mental block around investing in his business. That may sound odd to you, but it’s an extremely common response from people who have decided that whatever the cost of expert help, it’s always going to be too much.
So, what is it that causes someone to try and compete in an overcrowded marketplace, during the most competitive economy in living memory, with no expert help?
I have worked with well over a thousand businesses over the past 15 years and have found that many small business owners simply lack the commercial edge required, to make it in business. They are often passionate about the service they provide and in many cases, offer a great service too, but they are so focused on what they fear (loss) that they are blind to opportunities for growth.
As a result of failing to invest in their businesses correctly, through fear of loss, they paradoxically make it impossible to succeed.
In short: Where a businessperson or entrepreneur will see opportunity, they see only the potential for loss. With that kind of mindset, it’s impossible to succeed at anything, including business.
The mindset of success
Just as the people I mentioned earlier made a conscious decision not to invest in their businesses, others I speak to, with little or no money, still managed to get the expert help their businesses needed. These remarkable individuals have a very different mindset. They make decisions based on what’s right for their business, rather than what’s easy. They weigh up opportunities based on the potential for gain and loss and if the potential for gain is far greater, they do it. Their failing counterparts will look for 100% guarantees, so elect to do nothing and thus miss everything.
I have met, spoken with and occasionally worked with, business owners who have had to make some tough decisions, in order to get the money required to get their business the technology, machinery, equipment or professional advice it needed in order to succeed.
They knew what was needed and they did what was required.
Our ability to look at the bigger picture and make the right decisions is ultimately what will determine how far we can go. Each time we starve our business of the things it needs, we make it harder to survive, let alone thrive.
Thankfully, when we make decisions based on what’s right, rather than what’s easy, we move forward. If we want to know how well our current mindset is serving us, we need only look at our results. If we want better results, we need to take better actions and that comes when we make better decisions.
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