How Much Do You Really Want A Successful Business?

… and what are you doing to make it happen?

I’ve come across more than usual of these Think Big audios, interviews and seminars recently and, though there has been the usual crop of navel gazing, verging on the woo-woo, of Why are you here? What are the X number of things that define Your Big Life, what Breakthrough do you want Right Now? and so on, there were also some really good observations on ways we might be holding back and un- or subconsciously sabotaging our business growth efforts.

And the good thing about that is, once we’re aware of what they are and dispassionately identify whether they apply to us, we can do something about them… If you’re anything like me, you might want to ask someone you trust to ‘give it to you straight’ if you’re not sure about any of your answers 😉

The Gap

This is the space between you are and where you want the business to be. Since we know that no business can stand still, it has to progress or go backwards until it eventually meets its demise, let’s say there’s at least some room for improvement and bring on any hints, tips and practices that would help! Let’s remember that, even in good times there are many reasons why you may lose custom through no fault of your own. In bad times they’re likely to be magnified:

  • A project you’ve geared up resources to work on progresses so far then gets indefinitely halted
  • A contract that you’ve had for several years suddenly isn’t renewed
  • Customer company/individual moves away
  • Customer company merges or is taken over
  • Customer company/individual moves to a competitor with a superior/cheaper/more suitable product, service or solution
  • Customer company/individual needs change and there is no longer a requirement for your product or service
  • Customer company closes down or customer individual dies

We’re going to look at a range of external reasons and internal reasons that are allegedly responsible for lack of growth and some possible behaviours that are contributing to the status quo. Get ready for some self honesty and accountability.

External Justification

  • The economy’s the pits
  • People aren’t buying…
  • There’s too many offering the same thing, too much competition
  • I/ we can’t hold my/ our prices, people are going for the cheapest…
  • People don’t do what they say they will
  • I/ we can’t compete on the same playing field as the rest – they’re bigger/ more established/ have more money/ backing

Internal Justification

  • I can’t do everything that needs to be done – there just aren’t enough hours in the day
  • I’m not a salesman/ woman
  • I’m/ we’re okay once I’m/ we’re in front of somebody – it’s getting in front of enough potential profitable customers that’s the problem
  • I don’t know how to….
  • It’s not my responsibility
  • How can I think and act Big with all this – whole countries in trouble, let alone companies folding and people being made redundant – going all around?
  • What if I do… and mess up? People will think I’m stupid

Well, that’s just a few of each – I’m sure you could add to the lists, but we’re getting the picture. So now let’s add into the mix some unhelpful behaviours that might be supporting stagnation at best and rapid demise at worst… :-(

Unhelpful Behaviours

Key ones are to:

  • Be caught in hesitation, inertia and a kind of passive sabotage of procrastination OR
  • Hide amongst displacement activities – all of which achieve busyness but not positive outcomes OR
  • Undertake tons of panicky activities underscored by neediness that repels potential business

Then there can be ‘supporting’ tendencies:

  • Sense of continuous overwhelm
  • Need to micro manage everything and everyone
  • Let self and others down
  • Blame others

Anything else we want to get out on the table while we’re at it? In my opinion there really isn’t any mileage in hiding all this from ourselves and pretending everything’s just grand. Because that way all the garbage is still there and ignoring isn’t going to fix anything anytime soon.

Facing it on the other hand enables us to ask and get answers to some very empowering questions.

Empowering Questions

  1. Why do you do what you do to earn/ make a living?
  2. Have you created a job for yourself where you’re the boss or a business to grow and either hand down to your offspring or sell?
  3. How does your business serve and contribute to the life you want to lead?
  4. How is that different from its ideal contribution?
  5. Just how important is it to you that you/ your business reach your full potential?
  6. Who directly benefits from what you/ your business does?
  7. What impact does that make on their lives/ business?
  8. What impact does you/ your business doing what you do have on the wider scene?

The above are, I’d say, essential questions that any business person should be clear on the answers to Question 6 if s/he’s serious about succeeding. But having said that, when times get tough it’s easy to lose sight of why you ever bothered to get into this! :(-

But once you’ve gone back to basics and re-clarified your focus where necessary – hint: involve your best clients/ customers to help you if you’re struggling with the question 😉 – then we can look at

  • Your ideal target audience
  • The best offers you can and should be making to them
  • The way you present those offers

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

PS I’ve included above some practical activities from courses I’ve created specifically for small businesses – in this instance they’re from the Gold course for sole traders and owners of micro businesses.
PPS If you like what you see here the 15 minute FREE Skype or phone consultation still holds to see if we’re good to work together. Why not have a chat? :-)

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10 Responses to “How Much Do You Really Want A Successful Business?”

  1. BEATRIZ says:


  2. Interesting post Linda, sometimes people are more afraid of succeeding than they are of failing…and indulge in delaying, deferring and self-sabotage behaviours that keep them stuck.

  3. Wow, um, I think you hit the nail on the head here Linda, especially with “Hide amongst displacement activities – all of which achieve busyness but not positive outcomes.” I also identify with a sense of being continuously overwhelmed. The frustrating (and ironic) thing is that busyness prevents us from getting anything done. Thank you for your tips – it’s also a relief to know others are struggling with the same issues.

  4. […] – don’t let inertia and indecision sink you – (once you’ve answered your Empowering Questions to your satisfaction) just get on and take action! Because, answering your Empowering Questions […]

  5. Yolanda says:

    Good stuff Linda, there are very likely internal reasons why business growth is failing. Even in a rough economy there are businesses that flourish. Many times it is simply a lack of perspective or expectations. This is a great “get back on track” piece.

  6. Hi Jackie, Lisa, Mary, Sarah

    Thanks for your input and feedback :-)

    None of us is immune are we (is that bad English… ?)? And none an island. I honestly believe we benefit from promoting constructive brainstorming, cross mentoring, accountability partners when we go out to make our mark away from employment.

    It IS lonely; it IS easy and sometimes oh-so-preferable to go for displacement activities or just wait that little bit longer, till we have that little bit more to go on…

    I’d venture that Old Boys’ Clubs and Freemasons do FAR MORE than just provide ego massages and mutual slaps on the back: Isn’t it about time we ladies learned from proven established processes, and adapted and bettered them for our own and 2011 needs?

    Just some additional thoughts to ponder on… 😉

  7. Sarah Arrow says:

    Interesting post Linda, my personal experience with my blog coaching clients is that very few people know who they would like to do business with, or who there ideal clients are. A post like this helps put them on the right tack.

  8. This article is well worth printing and pondering. I know that one of my typical unhelpful behaviours is continually seeking more information before acting. “Maybe I need to learn more about x, y, or z before I write an e-book or offer a webinar.” Classic way for me to put off the task indefinitely.

  9. Lisa says:

    Very thought provoking questions, Linda – I recognize some of those unhelpful behaviors and those are things that I focus on NOT doing every day. Thanks for pointing them out so clearly. It’s a challenge, but as business owners we’re always changing and growing with our businesses – so we need to be clear on what we’re doing in order to succeed.

  10. Jackie Dunn says:

    Hello Linda. With all the information you shared, I feel that I can apply it to all parts of my life. Relationships, finances, emotional stuff etc. The formula is good and it has really got me thinking which is good ….. except that I often don’t feel that I want to face what seems to be enormous tasks. After all, as a sole trader, I sometimes delay the important questions and honest introspection.

    Now then, you really have got me started ….. thanks a bunch! Seriously though, your points are valid for my growth.

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."