For some reason, owning a business often feels like therapy. Every single way of thinking that is not beneficial shows up in the way you run your business.
Are you a people-pleaser?
That will definitely show up. Day 1. Forget business strategy. If someone needs something done, no matter how far outside of your normal scope of business, you will try to deliver. You’ll lose money trying to please the unpleasable. You’ll drive employees crazy by asking them to work extra to accommodate ridiculous requests. You’ll give up your vacation because someone MUST talk to you and no one else.
Don’t get me wrong. I like happy clients, but it’s taken me almost a decade in business to realize there is a difference between “being helpful” within our business strategy and being a “people pleaser”.
How do you feel about money?
Oh, this one is huge. How do you set your pricing? I was talking to a friend who owns a business recently, and she relayed how when she started her business, she charged what SHE could afford. We laughed because we’ve both been there, but that’s an excellent way to go broke, especially if you’re a new business in the B2B space – because you likely don’t have any money and now you’re courting customers who don’t, either. Usually, how we handle pricing and asking for the sale and even asking people to pay their invoices goes back to how we were raised to think about money!
And speaking of sales…
One of my primary jobs for MantyWeb is sales. Sales, of course, involves follow up. I’ve often had to follow up for months before a client is willing to commit. They ALWAYS say, “thank you for sticking with me and for continuing to follow up”.
But here’s my little secret: I carry around a fear of “bothering” people. Follow up is painful for me. It gets easier over time, but I have to be scrupulously aware of my discomfort in order to not let it affect actual best practices for sales. Your “pet fear” may not be “bothering” people. Maybe it’s “wasting people’s time”, or “being polite” (not saying you can’t be polite and be in sales), or not valuing yourself and what you bring to the table. Whatever it is, if you carry around a secret fear about how you relate to other people, and you’re in sales, it will likely show up.
How hard is hard enough?
My Dad was a great human being who was always helping others. He was also a failure at being self-employed. He worked SO HARD. But you cannot outwork bad business practices.
What did I learn from my Dad about business? If it comes easy, you must be doing it wrong. That’s not a great business lesson, by the way. When we started our business, this was my business philosophy: “Owning a business means never having enough time or money.” And then I set out to prove it.
If you believe that every single nickle must be earned through blood, sweat and tears, a business will be a burden for you. And those around you. And if you feel that way about business, you probably feel that you need to “earn your oxygen” in other areas of your life.
What can you do about it?
I’m a firm believer that, as a business owner, you must surround yourself with like minded people – namely, other business owners who are growth-minded and committed to building a business, not just a job. And then you have to open your mouth and share your struggles. You will be amazed how many others are struggling with the exact same things. So, find a networking group with you. Start meeting a few business owners for breakfast. Find an online group, if nothing else. Or find a therapist. The choice is yours.