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Anita Campbell

CEO of Small Business Trends

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3 Excuses That are Holding Back Your Business

December 02, 2014

You were all excited when you started your business – full of optimism for what lay ahead. It felt like you had the world in the palm of your hand. But perhaps along the way you were buffeted by “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Shakespeare.

You were all excited when you started your business – full of optimism for what lay ahead. It felt like you had the world in the palm of your hand. But perhaps along the way you were buffeted by “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Shakespeare.

Yes, you want your business to grow. Face it – what’s holding you back is a four-letter word. Fear. Fear has made you become ultra conservative.

Growing a business, just like starting a business, involves risk. If your business has plateaued or is growing slower than you’d like, it may be because you’re hesitating due to fear. When you started your business, you had to take calculated risks. The same is true to grow your business.

Here are three fears or excuses not to let get in the way of growing your business:

  1. “There’s more to lose now, so it’s too risky to change anything.”
  2. Now that your business has been around for a while, you’ve got customers. You’ve added employees. Perhaps you have more family commitments now than when you started out.

    In short, people and other businesses are relying on you and your business. Naturally you don’t want to let anyone down. So you don’t want to risk what you have by changing anything.

    But here’s the thing: failing to take action can be a risk by itself.

    The marketplace around you isn’t standing still. Your competitors may be taking the bold risks and reaping big rewards. By comparison they may be gaining customers, growing brand recognition, and capturing more share of the market – while your business is not. New competitors with innovative approaches may be entering the market. If others are advancing, and your business is not adapting, you may still be losing. You just don’t know it yet.

    The key is to look outside the four walls of your business. Here’s where a traditional SWOT analysis that identifies threats and opportunities may be helpful to shake yourself out of that risk-averse mentality and face up to the need to take action. You have to come to the realization that doing nothing may be riskier than changing things.

  3. “What if I overextend the business?”
  4. The longer you’ve been in business, the more you know how important cash is. You’ve managed to stay in business this long, and perhaps even thrive, by carefully managing your cash.

    Growth capital has to come from somewhere. If sales aren’t bringing in enough to invest for growth, you may need a loan or some other kind of funding to get to the next level. Here again, fear may hold you back.

    This is understandable. Here’s where a good business plan and detailed forecasting shows its worth. Running detailed numbers helps you mitigate financial risk – and overcome this fear. You prove to yourself that the money is likely to lead to profitable growth.

    To mitigate the financial risks:

    • Create a business plan and forecast for how you would use the extra funding. Don’t just treat the plan as a document to satisfy a lender. It’s a valuable working tool.
    • Tie funding directly to revenue-generating activities as much as possible in your forecast. The more detailed the better. And then stick to your plan for using the funds. Trust your business acumen.

  5. “This isn’t the right time.”
  6. Too often, this is one of those fictions (okay, lies) we business owners tell ourselves. It’s a form of procrastination – because underneath it all, we are afraid. You have to ask yourself: if not now, then when?

    Is it really a bad time to hire more sales staff, upgrade to faster equipment, or develop that new product? Do you have any reason to think next year will be any LESS risky?

    Be honest with yourself. You know what they say about insanity: it’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Perhaps you know for certain that a big contract is coming in next year. Yes, that may be a good reason to wait. But for most of us, not much will change next year, unless and until we do something this year.

    Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, have faith in yourself and your team, and make the plunge.

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Shannon Bradley

April 18, 2015

Loan? Some times that next level will be losing your shirt. Don't do any-thing that will cause you to do that.

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