A Fishy Business Plan


 

Fishy Business Plan

I recently came across this poster:

Pretty funny (although not for the fish).

While it's amusing, there is an important lesson to it.

That lesson takes shape when you consider that starting and growing your business is your "journey of a thousand miles."

And when you haven't clearly planned out where you want to be at the end of the thousand miles, and precisely how you're going to get there, it could end very, very badly.

As Yogi Berra once said, "if you don't know where you're going, you might not get there."

This is very true for your business. In developing your business plan, you need to think through your vision for your company. Where would you like to see it in one year, three years, and five years?

What will your company look like at these times? How many employees will it have? What will you be doing on a day-to-day basis? What other companies will you be working with? And so on.

Once you have that clear vision, think through what it will take to get there. What specific milestones and accomplishments will you need to achieve? What are realistic dates for achieving them? What resources (money, people, etc.) will you need to achieve them?

The last thing you want is to go the thousand miles only to have your company fail (or be eaten by the bear in the poster).

So, spend the time now formulating your vision and your action plan for achieving it. And document it in your business plan. Sure, your business plan will change over time; it is not set in stone. But you must create it (and continually modify it) if you expect your journey to end with the success you desire.

Think about the successes you've achieved in your life already. For each of them, did you previously envision success? Did you have a formal or informal game plan that led to your success?

There is tons of proof showing that the more formal your game plan (for businesses, that means your business plan), the more success you will achieve!

 

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The Importance of Changing Your Company Offerings


 

 

Nearly 20 years ago, my wife came home from a routine doctor’s appointment and told me she was pregnant. Among other things, this prompted me to think about the kind of employment I wanted. To maximize time with my family, I certainly didn’t want to travel a lot. And I didn’t want to make the family sacrifices I figured were needed to climb the corporate ladder. Starting my own business seemed like the perfect choice.

 

While that moment doesn’t seem like it was too long ago, my son (with whom my wife was pregnant) is now looking at colleges, and I am running a business that’s 18 years old. While my business hasn’t changed as drastically as my son has over this time, it has clearly evolved. And it is this evolution which has kept it relevant and successful for so long.

 

When I first launched my company, it was called Best Business Plan and I purchased the domain name BestBizPlan.com. Being the savvy graphic designer (not really), I choose a unique font and changed the “s” to a dollar sign, so our logo read Be$tBizPlan. Fortunately I brought on my co-founder Jay Turo soon after, and with his guidance, changed our name to something a little more sophisticated -- Growthink.

 

Like BestBizPlan.com, Growthink’s focus was to develop business plans for startups. This is still a core service we offer today. But over the years, we have added new services, products, customer segments and lead magnets as discussed below.

 

Adding Services

 

Particularly when we started, the number one reason entrepreneurs and business owners came to us was for funding. They needed a business plan to present to banks and investors. Naturally, upon completion of client business plans, they would ask if we could help raise funding.

 

Initially, we didn’t offer this service since we didn’t have the expertise and experience nor the required licensing to do so. But, within a couple years, we developed services to help clients raise funding. We also developed M&A expertise to help our clients sell their companies or acquire others.

 

And when we found ourselves spending a lot of time, energy and money purchasing lists of prospective investors, we launched an investor research service to provide such lists to ourselves and clients.

 

Likewise we launched a market research service to conduct market research needed to properly advise our clients and to directly serve the needs of external clients.

 

So, how does this affect your business?

 

Are there any products or services your customers need or are asking for that you don’t provide?

 

Are there any products or services you purchase, but could possible perform yourselves?

 

Identifying and adding such products or services could help reinvent your company and add to your bottom line.

 

Attracting New Customers

 

Our initial focus was developing business plans for startups. This was an exciting business in that we met lots of cool entrepreneurs and heard tons of interesting ideas. On the flip side, there were some frustrations. Startup entrepreneurs don’t have a lot to spend on services. And, most of them never make it, so repeat business is low.

 

For these reasons, we started to expand our client base by attracting new customers. We reached out to mid-sized and even Fortune 500 companies since every business needs a business plan. And every business can use market research and consulting to identify and pursue new growth opportunities.

 

Adding Products

 

While adding new services and new customers proved successful, we didn’t stop there. We realized that we still weren’t serving as many entrepreneurs and companies that we could. For instance, there were many entrepreneurs who wanted us to write their business plans but couldn’t afford it.

 

So, we created a products division to offer for-profit business plan templates, non-profit business plan templates, and business plan software. And we created online training products teaching companies how to raise capital, improve their marketing, and hire better among others.

 

Adding New Lead Magnets

 

Throughout the years, we’ve also evolved our “lead magnets.” A “lead magnet” is an offer that provides enough value for a prospective client to give you their contact information. We have created and offered lead magnets ranging from free business plan guides to funding reports to webinars on company innovation to ebooks on improving company valuation.

 

Each new lead magnet has given us the opportunity to gain interest among clients who otherwise might not have found us.

 

Is it Time for Your Business to Evolve?

 

Evolving our services, products, customer segments and lead magnets over the years has kept our company relevant and allowed us to expand.

 

It hasn’t always been easy. And not every new offering has worked as planned. But, in trying numerous ideas and keeping the winners, we have been left with a more diversified and stable business. Perhaps equally importantly, our new offerings have provided excitement and personal growth. This is in stark contrast to many business owners who burn out after doing the same thing day after day, year after year.

 

So take a moment today to think about your next iteration. What can your company start offering to add value to customers? What expertise do you have internally that you haven’t yet shared with the world? Figuring these out could be just the positive change you and your company need.

 



 

Persisting Through a Capital Raise


 

 

Raising funding for your company is challenging. This is particularly true if your company is new and doesn’t have assets or an operating history. In fact, the vast majority of new companies fail to raise capital, and as a result, never fully launch.

The first step to funding is to prepare your business plan. Please feel free to use our for-profit business plan template or nonprofit business plan template to help with this effort.

Armed with your business plan, you’re ready to raise funding. Below, I detail the experience and lessons learned from a new company for which I helped raise several million dollars, to help your business successful raise money if and when needed.

Go After the Right Sources of Funding

The first key to raising funding is to pursue the right sources of funding at the right time. There are numerous forms of funding from which you can potentially choose: bank loans, credit cards, angel investors, venture capitalist, crowdfunding, etc.

Each funding source has different criteria. For example, to receive a bank loan you generally need a 3-year operating history. And to raise venture capital, you typically need to have already proved your concept and have the ability to scale rapidly.

No matter how interesting your company, or how amazing its growth potential, if you pursue a funding source for which you don’t meet the criteria, you will fail.

For my client, which was seeking venture capital, we initially failed to raise venture capital since we didn’t have proof of concept. So, we raised money from angel investors, used it to prove the concept, and then pursued and successfully raised funding from venture capitalists.

It’s Nearly Always a Numbers Game

Even when you have a great product at a great price, success in sales is a numbers game. That is, you still need to present your product to many potential buyers before one purchases.

The same is true with raising funding. No matter how great your company is, most investors will reject you. Even the mighty Google was rejected by multiple venture capital firms when it first approached them.

You must be willing to present your company to many prospects, be it multiple banks, angel investors, venture capital firms and so on. The majority of presentations will result in rejection. You just need one yes to be successful.

In my client’s case, we reached out to 118 venture capitalists. Forty-seven of them requested more information via email. We gave in-person or virtual presentations to fourteen of them. And one ultimately funded the company.

It Takes Time

In my client’s case, the entire funding process took just nearly 2 years. It took approximately 6 months to create a business plan and raising money from angel investors. This money was then used over an 8 month period to build technology to prove the client’s concept. Then, it took an additional 9 months to raise venture capital.

You Must Have a Clear Value Proposition

When we first started presenting to investors, my client explained itself as a MEMS company. You know what a MEMS company is, right? Of course you don’t, and neither did investors.

Likewise, explaining what MEMS stands for, micro-electro-mechanical-systems, didn’t help.

It was only when we focused on the benefits and applications of the MEMS technology (such as its use in improving the range of telecommunications equipment) and how the company had an advantage in the space, did investors get excited and write us a check.

Yes, You Can Ultimately Raise Money For Your Business

While not easy, most entrepreneurs and business owners can raising funding. You need to have thick skin as you’ll face a lot of rejection. You need to be patient as it will take time. You need to focus on the types of funding sources that are fit for your business. And you need to make sure you can clearly articulate the value of your company.

The good news is that if you can assemble each of these pieces, funding will be yours.  


 

6 Key Benefits of Building Systems


 

Key Benefits of SystemsI recently attended a presentation by a business systems specialist.

That's someone who builds systems and processes for businesses so they run smoothly.

The system of the day was "how to handle inbound phone calls."

So I'm thinking 2 things...

1) please kill me -- could this be more boring


 

The 6 Untold Reasons Why Businesses Fail


 

I originally wrote this article years ago (which is why there are many old comments at the bottom). But I just updated it (even though 99% of what I wrote years ago is still 100% valid today).

Reasons-Why-Businesses-Fail There have been many articles written on the subject of why businesses fail, and most of them point to the same reasons, such as:

-Inadequate funding
-Bad location
-Lack of a well thought-out business plan
-Poor execution
-Bad management
-Expanding too quickly
-Insufficient marketing or promotion
-Inability to adapt to a changing marketplace
-Failure to keep overhead costs low
-Underestimating competitors

These reasons are widespread and no doubt cause many businesses to fail. However, the reason for a company’s failure is not always something so obvious.

 Below are 6 lesser-known reasons why a business might fail.

Why do these reasons remain untold?

Simple. Most of the time, the business owner doesn’t realize that these reasons are what caused their failure, and consultants generally don’t ask the kinds of questions that would identify them.

1) Focusing on Short-Term Profits Rather than Building Long-Term Value

It’s important to be profitable, but NOT when short-term profits come at the expense of the long-term value of the business and the lifetime value of the customer.

Here’s a real-life example: In the late 1990s, there was a franchise of a national smoothie shop located in West Los Angeles, CA. At this store, smoothies sold for about $4. They cost only around $1 to make, resulting in a solid profit. However, certain ingredients, like mangoes and berries, cost more than the other ingredients, such as juice and frozen yogurt. Since juice and frozen yogurt were cheap, the franchisee put more of these ingredients in their smoothies and less of the expensive ingredients. By doing this, their profit margin per smoothie grew by approximately 20 cents, which seemed great… on paper. Unfortunately for the store, customers weren’t satisfied with the taste of the lower cost smoothies, people stopped going there, and the store eventually went out of business.

As you can see here, it’s important to consider the lifetime value of a customer. Repeat business is way more valuable than short-term profits. Saving 20 cents on a smoothie today will cost you big in the long run.

(Another great example of this concept is Google giving preference to relevant ads in order to improve the user experience, even though there are less relevant advertisers willing to pay a higher price per click.)

2) Ego Business vs. Business Opportunity

The foundation of a good business is a good business opportunity. As an entrepreneur, you want to fill a need in the marketplace. Unfortunately, many businesses are started solely to fulfill an entrepreneur’s ego (or, to put it less harshly, to satisfy one of the entrepreneur’s interests).

This can often be seen in the restaurant & bar industry, where too many entrepreneurs open shop because it’s a “cool” thing to do. Such businesses rarely succeed.

3) Life distractions

The best ideas don’t always come between 9 and 5. A person might have a great idea while driving, or in the shower, or while working out. It’s moments like these when an entrepreneur leaves behind the day-to-day tasks of running a business and gains a better perspective of the big picture.

Sadly, there are a lot of things that can disrupt a person’s home life. Illness, death of a family member, divorce, relationship trouble, and problems with a child are just a few of the many issues that can affect a person’s mindset. When things like this occur, moments of clarity are replaced by stress and anxiety.

Many entrepreneurial ventures depend heavily on new ideas and creative thinking, and when an entrepreneur’s head isn’t clear, business can suffer.

4) Bad feedback & white lies

People like spending time with friends and family.

Unfortunately, when it comes to business, friends and family members don’t always give the best advice. This is especially true at the birth of a business. Nobody wants to be a buzz-kill. No one wants to tell an entrepreneur their idea is bad, or their location stinks, or anything else negative. Most people are conditioned to be supportive of their friends and family regardless of the situation.

Plus, nobody wants to be wrong. Imagine your friend has an idea that you think is terrible. You share your objections, but the friend goes ahead with the idea anyways, and it succeeds. Now you’ll always be the naysayer that never believed in them. Nobody wants to be that person.

That’s why you’ll rarely get honest, objective business advice from friends or family members. And yet, oftentimes friends and family are the first people entrepreneurs turn to for advice.

5) Maybe the owner is just a jerk

There are a lot of great people in the business world, but there are also some jerks. And these jerks sometimes start their own companies.

A jerk, in this case, is someone who a lot of people can’t get along with. Maybe it’s because they’re a super-perfectionist, or they yell a lot, or they demand that everything be done in a certain way, or they constantly complain. Or maybe they’re annoying in some other way.

The key is that nobody -- not employees, customers, partners, suppliers, clients, etc. -- wants to give 100% for a jerk. Clients and customers will be turned off, and employees will start cutting corners. Most people believe that life is too short, and don’t want to spend their time working with someone they can’t get along with.

6) The entrepreneur never took the full leap

In most new business attempts, the entrepreneur never leaves their day job, or they create a back-up plan, or they have a job lined up in case the new business fails. In these cases, failure IS an option, as the entrepreneur has a safety net to fall back on. In cases where failure is NOT an option, and the entrepreneur depends on the new business to provide food, shelter and clothing, the business has a greater chance of succeeding.

There’s a great example of this concept in this NY Times article. Xiang Yu was a third century (B.C.) General in the Chinese army. He led his troops into enemy territory by crossing the Yangtze River. Then, in order to inspire his troops, Xiang Yu took some unorthodox measures. He burned all of his troop’s ships and destroyed all of their cooking materials. This left the troops with only two options: Move forward and conquer the enemy, or perish. The maneuver did not make Xiang Yu very popular with his soldiers; nevertheless, the troops advanced and ultimately emerged victorious.

Xiang Yu’s methods might be a little drastic in this day and age, but the moral of the story is what’s important. Author Anita Roddick has said that entrepreneurship is a matter of survival, and the truth is, if you’re not totally committed to your business, your chances for success will be greatly diminished.

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Client Referrals: Why You Need Them and How to Get Them


 

Client ReferralsA recent survey of business owners showed that 41.4% of businesses count on referrals for over 80% of their sales.    

I actually don't believe this statistic; I think it's way too high.    

But the statistic is very exciting. Because it means that these 41.4% of entrepreneurs are doing it right; because getting referrals is absolutely critical to your business' success.    

Let me explain.

To begin, referrals generally don't cost you any money. So rather than spending $X to acquire the new client, you spend $0. This dramatically boosts your profitability.

Second, getting referrals boosts your average profit per client. For example, let's say your average profit per client is $50. Now, let's also assume that 20% of your clients refer you one additional client.

What that means is that for every 10 new clients you get, you actually receive 12 new clients (including the 2 referrals). Since each client gives you a profit of $50, you've generated $600 in profit from the 10 initial clients. So, your profit per new client goes from $50 ($500 divided by 10) to $60 ($600 divided by 10).

Yes, it's exciting that your profit has gone up 20%. But what's even more exciting is that you can use this increased profit to dominate your competitors. For instance, if your competitors are still only earning $50 profit per client, they can only spend up to $50 per client in marketing expenses. But since you're earning $60 profit per client, you can actually spend more than $50 in marketing to acquire a new client.

This allows you to advertise in more places and in places that your competitors can't afford. This will drive tons of new clients to you instead of your competition.

In summary, getting referrals can allow you to significantly boost revenues and profits, and allow you to dominate competitors. It's a surefire way to make your business plan more profitable!

Now, if referrals offer such a great benefit, why do 58.6% of entrepreneurs fail to effectively use them?  The answer is that they haven't set up an effective referral system.

So here are the keys to an effective referral system.

Step 1: Make the Client Want to Give You a Referral

Clearly, your clients must be happy in order for them to give you a referral. So, make sure you satisfy their needs and fulfill the promises you made them when they purchased your product or service.

Step 2: Ask for the Referral

With a job well done, some clients will give you referrals on their own. But you'll dramatically increase the number of referrals you receive if you simply ask for them.

Of critical importance is to ask 1) at the right time, and 2) multiple times. With regards to the former, if a client needs to use your product/service in order to be satisfied, then you clearly can't ask for the referral immediately. Rather, you'll have to wait until they've used your product/service and can vouch for its success.

With regards to the latter, it is critical that you ask clients multiple times for referrals. You need to do this for several reasons. The first is that clients are often busy and if you ask at the wrong moment, they simply might not have time to give the referral.

Secondly, it's possible that today one of your clients does not have a new client they can refer to you. But maybe in a month they meet someone that would be a perfect fit for you company. But unless you ask for the referral again then, they'll probably forget to give it to you.

In asking clients for referrals, don't just ask them who they think might be a good fit for your product/service. Rather, it's more effective if you guide their thinking. For instance, you should ask, "I know you're a member of the XYZ organization; do you know anyone else in the XYZ organization that could benefit from our product/service?" This allows your client to focus their thinking in order to find more potential names for you.

Step 3: Effectively Contact the Referral

Clearly, once you receive the referral, you need to contact them and try to close the sale.

A key tip here is to ask the referral source to let the referral know you'll be contacting them. As such, rather than contacting the referral cold, you'll receive a warm introduction that will make the referral more likely to speak with you and buy your products/services.

Step 4: Putting it All Together

The key to a successful referral program is to formalize and systematize it. It shouldn't be something that one of your employees does once in a while. But rather, it should be a sequence of events that always happens.

For example, your system might include the following: Ten days after a sale is made your client gets an email requesting referrals. Fifteen days after a sale they receive a postcard. And then 28 days after the sale, your salesperson calls them to request referrals.

In addition to systematizing your referral program, you need to maintain statistics so you can see what's working and what's not working. For example, you should track each of your referral attempts and see which ones lead to new clients and which do not. And then you should tweak them (e.g., change your email to offer an incentive for the client to give you a referral), and track which tweaks work and which don't (and clearly keep using the ones that did work).

A quality referral program will increase your revenues and profits, and can give you real competitive advantage. So build your referral program today!

Suggested Resource: Growthink's Ultimate Marketing Plan Template allows you to quickly and expertly create your marketing plan; and exponentially increase your customers and revenues by developing your referral program and orchestrating the 5 key marketing levers. Click here to learn more.


 

The Two Questions Most Entrepreneurs Forget to Ask


 

Once they launch their companies, most entrepreneurs fall into a very dangerous trap. What happens is that they get very myopic; they get so close to their businesses that they fail to see the bigger picture.

So, they run their businesses on a day-to-day basis, constantly fighting fires and striving to squeak out a little more profit each year than they did the year before.

Conversely, the most successful entrepreneurs ask two key questions that others don't.

The first question they ask is "What is the end game?" Then they ask sub- questions such as: Is my goal to run this company until I die? Do I want to eventually sell my company? Or do I want pass it down to family members?

It turns out that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who build their companies with the eventual goal of selling them. Why? Because this is where the big bucks are. In fact, research shows that 80% of pentamillionaires (those with a net worth of $5 million or more) are entrepreneurs who started and sold their companies.

Think about it this way: the work required to start and grow a company from $0 to perhaps $10 million is MUCH more valuable than the work required to grow a company from $10 million to $100 million.

With regards to the latter, there's no shortage of corporate executives who have the skill sets to grow existing brands and companies. But there are few people out there (the ultra successful entrepreneurs) who have the ability to build a company from scratch to the point that a larger corporation wants to buy it.

The second key question that the most successful entrepreneurs ask is "How do I build VALUE that multiple acquirers would want?"

Building value is different than simply running a business. When you simply run a business, typically your goals are to keep the lights on and earn a profit. When seeking to build value, you set different goals.

For example, Shutterfly acquired Tiny Prints for $333 MILLION a few years ago. In making this acquisition, what did Shutterfly value? Well, it valued Tiny Prints' revenues, customer base, marketing skills, intellectual property and operational processes among other things.

Importantly, Shutterfly did NOT value Tiny Prints' profitability. In fact, Tiny Prints' EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was a miniscule 2-3% of its revenues at the time.

So, in addition to thinking about your end game, create a list of the factors that multiple potential acquirers would want to see in your company. Maybe it's significant revenues. Maybe it's a high profit margin. Maybe it's unique products or intellectual property. Etc.

And importantly, once you have this list, make sure you integrate it into your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual action plans. And rather than looking back each quarter and simply thinking about how much revenues and/or profits you generated, consider how much VALUE you built and how much you progressed toward reaching your end goal.

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What’s the ultimate path to wealth as an entrepreneur?

Build your company and then sell it for millions to the highest bidder.

In this video, I explain precisely how to build a sellable company.

It starts out with the 3 most dangerous trends facing entrepreneurs and business owners today (so you can avoid them).

Don't build your business the wrong way.

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Why SBA Loans Make Sense For Banks & Business Owners


 

A great source of funding to start or grow your business is SBA loans.

SBA loans are issued by private banks. However, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees a percentage of each loan. What this means is the following: if you, the entrepreneur or business owner, default on the loan (i.e., can't pay it back), the issuing bank only loses a small percentage of the money it lent you. The United States government essentially pays for the rest.

Because of this guarantee program, banks don't bear as much risk and are much more prone to issue SBA loans. This makes it easier for entrepreneurs like you to get these loans. Conversely, without the program, banks wouldn't make as many loans, and fewer businesses would get funding.

When small businesses grow, everybody wins. The entrepreneur can start or grow their business. In doing so, they create jobs. And their employees then have money to buy things. And the economy grows.

Small business funding challenges during the recession

But, as you may have noticed, business owners are still having trouble getting access to capital, namely 1) Small dollar loans, and 2) Loans in the niche industries affected by recession, such as real estate, finance, etc.

If you think about it, most small businesses don't need $1 million or even $500,000, and wouldn't even know what to do with it all. In many cases, even $100,000 can go a long, long way towards boosting revenues (or even doubling them) if invested in more lead generation campaigns, building a sales team, etc.

The odds are you can suffice with a smaller loan amount. In the past this has been more difficult because banks are geared towards extending larger loans since they can earn more interest for the same amount of due diligence per loan.

What the SBA is doing for small businesses

The SBA recently launched two loan-guarantee revisions that simplify and streamline paperwork even more for banks and borrowers.

One of them, the Small Loan Advantage program, is off to a strong start. It allows banks to make loans at more affordable rates, and brings more opportunities to borrow smaller loan amounts, like $50,000 to $100,000 or even less....which is great if that's all you need!

Applying for a small SBA loan from banks

To take advantage of this for yourself, find out which local bank makes the most SBA loans. You can often find this information on the bank's website. Or you can visit the branch or call them. Ask them how many SBA loans they make and how often they fund loans in the dollar range of what you need.

Find the local bank that is most active in the SBA loan program and apply for a loan. If the bank says you're not ready for the loan, don't hesitate to ask them why. Ideally, you can then fix the issue, and come back shortly thereafter and get the loan.

The SBA wants you to succeed as an entrepreneur and business owner. As mentioned, when you do, you will create jobs and stimulate the economy. So consider SBA loans as a funding source; they might be perfect for your business.

Suggested Resource: Want funding for your business? Then check out our Truth About Funding program to learn how you can access the 41 sources of funding available to entrepreneurs like you. Click here to learn more.


 

10 MORE Obstacles That Are Limiting Your Success


 

The other day I wrote an article entitled "10 Obstacles That Are Limiting Your Growth." In it, I revealed 10 common things that block entrepreneurs and business owners from achieving the success they deserve.

Those 10 obstacles included:

1. Lack of Skill
2. Bad or Negative Attitude


 

10 Obstacles That Are Limiting Your Growth


 

There are many mental and personal blockages that can hinder you from achieving your full potential in business. Blockages in business can be compared to fatty deposits around your arteries that impede blood pumped from the heart from reaching its destination.

For you to succeed in your business, you must identify and eliminate such blockages promptly.

Here are 10 common blockages that can impede your success. As you read through the list, mark any of them that might be affecting you and/or your business:

1. Lack of Skill
- As information increases, many business owners soon find out that there is much to learn. Whether it's getting up to date on new tax laws, learning about social media, or practicing negotiation techniques, take the time to keep your skills sharp.

2. Bad or Negative Attitude
- While it may be easy to learn new skills, attitude is what makes or breaks a company. Whether you think you can or think you can't - you're right! Check your attitude frequently.

3. Lack of Focus
- I always tell people that if they do one thing, they can do an A+ job; but that the second they do something else, they can only do a B+ job on each. And the bottom line is that to succeed in business, you must do an A job or better. So, make sure you focus on specific projects so you can excel at them.

4. Procrastination
- Procrastination is high among the top five time wasters. Creating deadlines is an effective way of preventing procrastination. Though it may feel restrictive or even stressful, having a deadline can activate your brain and infuse new thoughts and ideas.

5. Monotony
- It pays to try out something new once in a while. There is always a new instructional video with a different method from the text book methods learned in school. Doing something differently offers you the necessary relief from the routine and repetition that is common in many businesses.

6. Control Issues
- Sometimes the tiny voice in your head may urge you not to give up control, so you end up micromanaging everything. It is important to have faith in the people you hire. Hiring qualified people for your business helps you to focus on specific tasks and minimizes your chances of overworking yourself.

7. Overworking Yourself
- Sometimes you may overwork yourself even without realizing it. When you get overworked, you become less productive. Take it easy, go on vacation if possible. Your decision-making abilities become compromised when you are tired. Stick to a schedule and get some rest.

8. Seeking Approval
- In business, you may sometimes unconsciously or even consciously wait for someone to encourage you or give you permission to take a step. Acknowledge your own abilities and make decisions on what is best for business, not based on pride of emotional approval.

9. Lack of Creativity
- Keeping a journal can remedy a lack of creativity. Sometimes a new idea will pop up at a random time or place. Jotting down ideas and inspirations helps to unblock your mind. Apart from noting down random ideas for future reference, journals provide a useful way to track personal progress.

10. Thinking Small - With the current technological capabilities, it is easy to access success stories. Surround yourself with people who think big. Read books, blogs and watch motivational videos, etc. In business, if you aim low, you strike low. Aim high. 

How many of these blockages did you circle? There is no right or wrong answer. Whether you picked one or twenty, you have work to do. Study the blockages you marked and start with the one you feel is impacting you the most.

Work on removing this blockage for 30 days. Then pick the next one that is having an impact on your business and start working on that one. As you stretch beyond your comfort zone and tear down barriers, your business will grow.

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Building Your Dream Team

Too many entrepreneurs fail because they try to do everything themselves in their business, instead of delegating to team members.

In our Building Your Dream Team training program you'll learn exactly how to build an amazing team that allows your company to thrive.

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