03.07.20166 min read

Planning for Small Businesses: The Not-to-Do List

At the beginning of every year, millions of Americans commit to new resolutions and goals for the new year, but recent statistics show that 36 percent of people who set resolutions break their commitments by the end of January. This annual backslide problem probably has to do with bad habits lingering from the previous year. Most people are trying to get ahead in life with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake; they’re working hard, but often feel like they’re spinning their wheels and not making substantial progress towards their goals.

Well, it’s time to take your foot off the brake and apply ALL of your effort to your business goals. Introducing, the Not-to-Do List.

1. Don’t over-promise

Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are extremely passionate about their product, service or idea. That pure passion and enthusiasm is often a key component to their success. On the other hand, when you’re really excited about something, it’s easy to over-promise or make slight exaggerations that can come back to bite you in the long run. Set expectations with customers, clients, prospects, and even your own team that you are confident that you can exceed. If you know your product will be on a new customer’s doorstep in three business days, promise delivery in five to seven days. When it shows up in three days, they will be happily surprised.

2. Don’t be obsessed with perfection

I’m a recovering perfectionist myself, so I speak from experience. Startup companies make the “perfection mistake” a lot: They spend years and enormous amounts of capital perfecting their product before they even begin to take it to market for customer feedback. Just watch an episode of Shark Tank to see the insanity for yourself! Nothing is ever perfect, and with rapidly advancing technology, you don't always have the luxury of time on your side; so don’t let pursuit of perfection get in the way of progress.

3. Don’t multitask

Contrary to popular belief, our ability to multitask isn’t as great as we might think. Multiple studies have actually shown that the amount of time, energy and brainpower consumed while multitasking can decrease productivity as much as 40 percent! While participating in what we consider “multitasking,” our brains are actually rapidly switching between the multiple tasks we are performing.  The actual “switch time” for each task is only a few milliseconds, but a few milliseconds compounded over time can equal hours of wasted productivity every week. Increase your productivity by creating time-blocks and space to focus on one task at a time.  Health & performance expert, Anthony Balduzzi, introduced me to The Pomodoro Technique, a method used to keep you on track throughout your day. Check out a short video that explains The Pomodoro Technique here. Use this free online Pomodoro timer, here. Proceed with caution: massive productivity ensues!

4. Stop doubting yourself

My mentor, Les Brown, says, “The wealthiest place on earth is the graveyard. Most people take their ideas, take their greatness to the graveyard with them.” I believe the only reason why people don’t succeed is because they don’t believe they can; they don’t believe they’re worthy. Successful people simply believe that, no matter what challenge they face, they have the ability to figure it out. Success is 90 percent psychology and 10 percent physical work. Most people see success as the exact opposite. I believe self-doubt and negative self-talk are the only real limitations keeping us from living our dreams. The best thing you can do is to set up a system in your day-to-day life to fill your mind with positive & empowering thoughts. I help people achieve this through a Facebook community called Right Mindset Daily.

5. Stop trying to do it all

As a small business owner, you’re probably used to wearing many different hats within your business for some time now, and because of this, you might be used to doing things a very particular way. It’s easy to adopt the motto, “If you want something done right, do it yourself” when you’ve been having success doing just that. However, if you want to grow your business and have a bigger long-term impact in the world, you’re going to need some help and you’ll need to learn to delegate. Just because you CAN do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. Focus on the areas of your business that you enjoy most and perform the strongest. Value your own time by delegating your weaknesses and any other tasks that you can hire someone to do—even if it's just a part-time assistant to help with the mundane tasks.

6. Stop being anti-social

In today’s economy, information has become a commodity. It’s no longer about what you know, but who you know. The size of your net-worth is directly proportional to the quality of your net-work. Networking and looking for ways to connect other people is a great way to build your own network in the process. Charity fundraisers and events are a great place to network and meet quality people in your local area. Yes, you may have to pay $100-$150 per plate or an entrance fee, but the money goes to a worthy cause (typically as a donation) and you get the opportunity to rub elbows with other successful, like-minded people. This year make networking a priority; be sure your company has a local presence at relevant business events.

Planning for small businesses gets dramatically simplified when you pay close attention to your marketing and business habits. I truly believe that if you take your foot off the brake and master the six things on this list, you’ll be able to move forward at full speed where anything is possible.

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