A reader emailed me earlier with an observation. She explained that even though it’s only February, it’s already starting to look a lot like 2019 for her business. And 2019 was pretty similar to 2018.
She’s frustrated with her progress. And she’s not alone. I always hear similar things around this time of year.
On one level, the answer to her problem is simple. No. It’s extremely simple. Because we know exactly why this happens and exactly what to do.
On another level, it’s a very hard problem to crack. Allow me to explain why PLUS some ideas to overcome it!
Cause and effect
Like everything in life, business follows the law of cause and effect.
In short: The law of cause and effect states that for every effect there is a definite cause. Likewise for every cause, there is a definite effect.
So, if a business owner wants better results (effects), they need to take better actions (causes). Obviously, if we carry on doing things the same old way, we’ll get the same old results. Old ways won’t open new doors.
Knowing why business owners get stuck in a rut is one thing. But actually resolving the situation requires a mindset shift.
And that’s not easy. Not easy at all!
This is especially the case when:
- The business owner has developed a level of acceptance with their situation. They start to self-identify as having reached their potential; consciously or unconsciously. This is pretty common.
- The business owner has a degree of comfort, which makes it hard to motivate themselves to leave their comfort zone and improve things. Sure, they’re not where they want to be, but they’re kind of okay. This is easily the biggest cause of unfulfilled potential.
What should a business owner do, if they identify with one of those mindsets?
They should wait!
Yes. Wait. Allow me to explain.
Wait for the wake up call
Entrepreneurs will motivate themselves to do what’s required, as soon as they realise they’re coasting or in their comfort zone. However, real entrepreneurs are just a tiny fraction of small business owners.
What tends to happen, is that something unexpected occurs. Something that creates the motivation for the small business owner to act. A wake up call.
Common examples I see include.
- They lose a major client or source of income.
- They have a birthday with a zero at the end and realise they’re wasting time.
- An agile competitor arrives and starts to target their best clients.
- They were in a marriage / long-term relationship that’s recently ended.
- They discover they’re not going to be able to retire with the quality of life or security they hoped for, or retire as soon as they thought.
- A family member or old friend reminds them that they used to have much bigger dreams.
- They just get tired of making-do and want something more from work (and life).
The key to our success is not whether we get wake up calls or not. We all get them. And we get them fairly regularly.
Our success depends on our decision: to either hit the snooze button… or wake up.
Note – I explain the entrepreneurial mindset in a little more detail here.