Posts tagged with: mindset
Clearly, 95% of all business owners (large corporations, small businesses, even family businesses) are still in denial of why their businesses are not growing explosively, achieving the goals they laid out in their business plans. Otherwise, they would have fixed these handicaps long ago.
I want to suggest that all the problems, excuses and barriers to achieving big hairy audacious goals boil down to three underlying defects in their thinking.
When you take ownership of these key defects in your mindset and take action to banish them from your business, only then can you break through to grow your business faster (and easier) than you ever thought possible. These defects are a minefield for all size businesses.
These are the same gaps in mindset, skill set and knowledge that ultra-wealthy owners experience in their businesses. The difference is that to join the 5 percent-ers, they were willing to take action to purge these defects in their business in order to achieve their wealth and abundance.
Three Crippling Reasons
There are dozens of reasons why owners don’t achieve the goals they set for their business. I only want to discuss the overarching problems that prevent the majority of owners from building the business they wanted to lead, businesses that would provide financial independence and the lifestyle of their dreams.
Dozens of other reasons can be collected under the umbrella of these three primary reasons.
- No strategic focus
- Risk averse
Some of you will immediately say, “but that’s not me, I don’t have that problem.”
Let’s explore each one in more detail to see if any of these are relevant to why you are not on course to achieve the goals and growth needed to make a planned, financially independent exit from your business. Each one is a flag (some obvious, some subtle) that you are murdering your business.
Owners frequently self-sabotage any lofty dreams and goals they had when they started the business. It’s certainly not intentional and sometimes not even conscious. They hurt themselves and the business in a myriad of big and small ways. If it was only one little thing, their strengths would carry them through to lofty heights. Instead, it’s a range of self-defeating beliefs and habits, one on top of another, that bring them down. A few of them are: attitudes, assumptions, ego, capacity, strengths, resources and timing.
In addition, what allows owners to perpetuate this self-sabotage is that every one of these beliefs is a blind spot. They don’t see it. Or if they do see it, they are good at denying that it’s a problem. For example:
They think it takes great luck to achieve big goals. This is a nice safe excuse to avoid looking in the mirror. Owners who believe this self-talk aren’t serious about doing what it takes to achieve the profitability that will provide their financial independence and true wealth.
They try to go it alone. In my book, this is the most crippling sabotage problem and the easiest to fix. Owners who try to do everything themselves, wear every hat in the business and control everything, limit the business potential simply by their own capacity and the hours in the day. They persist in taking the hardest road possible in the mistaken belief that that’s the role of the entrepreneur.
They are rigidly settled in current routines. Have they ever heard of the definition of insanity?
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” — High-tech variation
You can’t grow a business to get the returns you seek by perpetuating a business model or systems that you learned 10 or 20 years ago or in a different industry. Being close-minded cripples any business. Business vitality and inspiration starts with the owner. The owner’s indifferent attitude and assumptions about what can be done, how to get things done, and their lassitude about what it will take to achieve goals and success can wipe out all opportunities for growth and revenues.
They don’t know how to plan for and implement a plan for goal achievement. Owners who leap into business without a plan have no direction, no preparation, no forecast, and no expectations. They launch like a ship without a rudder. They can’t steer. And if they could steer, they don’t know where to point their ship because they don’t have a goal to aim for. Arrogance and ego can help them bluff for a while. But soon, without planning and systems implementation to achieve clear goals, the business can turn to dust or disappear. The market will move on.
They burn out, go broke or give up before building a foundation to support the business of their dreams. Most owners launch their business with all the passion, commitment, and drive they possess. After the honeymoon, they get consumed in all the work – often more work than they ever thought possible – but don’t see the rewards.
Because of sheer love of the business and dedication, this can go on a long while. Without laying a business foundation under every element of the business, the business is coming up short of their expectations and they get disheartened. When they are too tired, too strapped for cash, have a really bad day or their health fails, they want to quit instantly. They haven’t set the business up as a business. These owners are still integrally involved in everyday operations – they’re a prisoner of the business. They haven’t built up cash or equity in the business. They haven’t cleaned up or documented systems in the business. As a result, they’ve put themselves in the worst possible position to sell their business on the least appealing terms.
They lack confidence in their ability to succeed. They are unsure that all their efforts will pay off. Self-doubt is a poison that seeps into every decision, every action and every dream. When owenrs perpetuate a lack of confidence it permeates the entire organization, setting up a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure.
Regardless of how self-sabotage presents itself in your business; it boils down to a lack of absolute clarity and commitment to your goals. You’re just going through the motions.
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
— Nolan Bushnell: Founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s
To achieve your ultimate goals, to join the 5% of businesses that achieve their goals in business and beyond, you must focus on building a real business and be aware of a few of the barriers that can set you up for failure.
There are two often contradicting approaches to building business.
The most common approach, the Idea/Opportunity approach, takes no training, no lead-time and requires minimal cost. If you are an opportunity seeker (a term coined by Rich Schefren), you may leap in and try to take advantage of an idea ahead of the curve, hoping to catch the wave as it hits the market. Often this approach is about the product or service itself, not the need it may/may not fill in the marketplace. I’ve seen this with many software companies and restaurants. Just look at all the iPhone apps these days. Or look at how short-lived most restaurants are (measured in months not years).
This is a hit-or-miss approach because the market window can be very short or even fizzle before you get to market. And while you’re focused on creating your offering for that niche, another better opportunity can come along. If you’re always looking for the brass ring, you’ll always be tempted by the next “new shiny object” and not finish what you start. This is the trap most entrepreneurs succumb to, leading them down a path that ends in failure.
There’s another approach to starting and building your business. It’s a more disciplined and strategic approach that addresses a problem and provides a solution. If you are a strategist like me, you start with your end goal and your vision of what you are building toward.
Across the board, the most successful entrepreneurs take the time to be thoughtful upfront and prepare options, offerings, alternative approaches, competitive research, market opportunity and team requirements to achieve their goals, short-term, long-term and exit goals. They do their homework; they research and plan first.
They take the time to continually and consistently ask the question:
“What are the best opportunities to achieve my vision of
where I want to take my business and what it will become?”
They know they must continually “sharpen the saw,” as Stephen Covey tells us, and raise the bar all the time.
So the primary obstacles to achieving your business success are not in your experience, education, expertise, funding or financing.
Your primary obstacles to the business success you desire and the outcome you want to achieve are the mindset and skill set you bring to the game.
Which raises the question …
QUESTION: If the strategy for ensuring a successful exit strategy is that simple and clear, why do only 5% of all businesses get it done?
ANSWER: The other 95% know what to do. They know they should do it. However, they don’t follow through. They lack the mindset and skill set of a CEO who truly wants to build a wealth-producing business.
Which one are you?
Mindset is the most critical of the three pillars, the hardest to develop and it’s the pillar you must reset and anchor first.
Your mindset about your exit includes successes, challenges, mistakes, expertise, motivation, confidence, joy, satisfaction about all you have achieved in the business since the beginning when it was a glint in your eye, through the intervening years to the present; as well as the mindset you bring to the exit process over the then next 2-5 years.
Your mindset when you started the business was based on assumptions, enthusiasm, belief, courage and passion. You were invincible and persistent in your devotion and commitment to do whatever it took to make the business thrive. You never let doubts interfere with your goals, ambitions and conviction that you could achieve your most audacious goals. In a young company, your mindset focus is always forward.
Your mindset over the years has settled a bit. You’ve learned a lot of lessons through survival and growth. You have different assumptions now about business, the market, your clients, even your team, based on years of experience. Your attitude could be as happy and confident as when you first opened your doors but your mindset is based on a wide breadth of experience now, not just enthusiasm. Or, time and experience could have taught you to narrow your focus to what you can control and address today; to focus on the orders coming in and what marketing it will take to increase those orders.
Your mindset as you grow the business expands to include wisdom and insight from past experience to contribute to goals and decisions today. That’s where most business owners are flourishing today. The only thought they have of the future is achieving the stretch goals they set for the business for the next 12 months – not 3 years or 5 years, never mind a future any further ahead.
Your mindset going in to exit planning is the most critical determinant of your successful outcome. There are a number of mindset factors that you must recognize and consider. Your mindset will determine your ability to set and achieve your hopes and dreams. You have to be able to recognize and adhere to the process to achieve them. Most CEOs have dreams and goals of the outcome they want from their business. Many fewer CEOs reverse engineer their goals into a timeline, process, and a sequence to get to that exit.
Challenges will occur that could derail your exit plan, guaranteed. Fighting or resisting those challenges is an unproductive waste of time and energy. Instead, install and master a mindset to address, overcome, resolve, and circumvent each challenge as it arises.
Attitudes/mindset are often ignored or minimized when exploring what we need to learn to achieve our goals and get to an exit.
Most CEOs trained to emphasize the strengths of left-brain thinking, resist addressing or developing the right-brain skill of mindset readiness. Mindset readiness requires the most time to develop and is not easily measured or demonstrated. But your mental and emotional attitudes are the most important of all learning components because your attitude/your mindset is the gatekeeper that determines how well you acquire, master and apply any other skill set and knowledge.
Entrepreneurs stubbornly adhere to tired outdated thinking which in turn sets up their business to continually struggle, not achieve its full potential and settle for selling their business for only a fraction of its worth. That downfall is totally preventable.
In the area of mindset, attitudes and beliefs, do you experience any of these? Make note of the ones that apply to you.
- Have no exit goals
- Can’t set exit goals
- Don’t know how to set exit goals
- No consensus on exit goals
- Can’t delegate/afraid to delegate
- Prisoner of the entrepreneur’s trap – Trying to wear all the hats
- Scared to grow – because of past experience, old belief systems, systems or staff that slow or prevent your growth
- Scared to share control, responsibility, ownership or profits
- Scared to lose control
- Easily distracted – by environment, people, events, equipment
- Minimal goals/easy goals/short-term goals that don’t stretch individuals or the organization – to play it safe
- No personal accountability of the leadership team/ of you
- Still running the business as an opportunist
- Resist building a strong business foundation for growth or increased value
- Ignore or deny the need for exit planning
- Ignore or deny the need for contingency planning
- Ignore or deny the need for continuity planning
- Ignore or deny the need for succession planning
- Ignore or deny the need to plan for your transition
- Ignore or deny the need to plan for your reinvention
You’ve heard the phrase:
Your attitude determines your altitude.
Your mindset is the key to everything you will achieve to exit your business when you want to. When you decide each of these elements is important enough to the business and to your future beyond the business, only then will you take action and:
- Develop the skill sets
- Acquire the necessary knowledge (direct learning or surround yourself with experts)
- Develop plans, strategies, and tactics to achieve everything you want for your business and from your business when you exit.
- Apply the discipline and leadership to accelerate growth and maximize value on your timeline.
“It’s a mindset – you’re only limited in scope by your own imagination and your ability to see through problems, challenges and roadblocks to the opportunities.”
When you decide to exit your business, walk away from the business you built that you’ve owned from inception, you need three pillars to your foundation to make a successful exit.
They are your:
- Skill Set
At Bates College I caught the value of the college motto “Amore Ac Studio” [with ardor and devotion] which I internalized as a love of learning. The most successful business owners, who indeed maximize the value of their business, are perpetual students. They are voracious readers, students, and learners.
You choose what you can learn and what you can be taught. Specific to exit planning success, every business owner must become a student of:
- Skill Set
to successfully sell, scale or install a successor in their business.
What you do with what you learn is key. That takes self-reflection, a “willingness to learn more about their own fundamental nature, purpose and essence”.
How about you?