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Four lies small business owners must stop telling themselves to grow their business

Author: Mike Jones

Let's be honest, running a business is a never-ending list of problems.

Once you've solved a problem, there is will always be more waiting for your attention and the attention of your team.

The reason you get into business is to take on and tackle problems.Businessman and former politician Paul Marsden accurately put it:

"Business is all about solving people's problems - at a profit."

There is, however, one problem that is particularly hard to overcome.

This problem can be hard to spot.

This problem can significantly limit the growth of a business whilst sapping energy and enjoyment from the business at the same time.

This problem is the owner.

Business owners become a problem in their own businesses when they tell themselves and believe certain lies.

These lies turn the business owner into a bottleneck in the business.

They also make the business highly stressful to the owner because the business is bottlenecking at them, which puts immense pressure on them.

By recognising these common lies and seeing them for what they are, we can begin to free ourselves from them and find more joy in our businesses.

So what are these top 5 lies?

1 - My clients only want to work with me

You've built your business and a great team. But regardless of having a team, you still feel you are destined to do client-facing work for life because you tell yourself your clients want you.

Although you used to love (and still might) doing client-facing work, you can't do it forever.

As the business owner, your job is to lead and develop the team and business.

It's tough to do this when you are spending a lot of time delivering to clients.

Your clients may love and respect you, but here's the truth that our egos don't like to hear. They're not paying because they like you; they're paying for results.

And those results can be delivered by other people that you've trained.

You're going to be able to deliver better results for more people when you focus your time on developing your processes, team and business.

By telling yourself that your clients only want to work with you, you're:

  • Limiting the growth of your business,

  • Limiting the number of people you're business can help

  • Damaging the engagement of your team

  • You're enjoyment in business

  • Limiting your time for personal life and fun

2 - Noone can do it as well as me

It sounds very egotistical, but most business owners will tell themselves this statement multiple times. There is an element of truth to this statement. We are each unique, and we have a very particular way of doing things.

When we have built a successful business on our way of doing things, it can feel like an impossible task to find or train other people who will do things the way we do, the way we know works.

I've learned this lie also comes from deeper, often hidden thoughts of inadequacy or low self-esteem. Due to this, we develop a perfectionist mindset and fear of failure or letting others down.

The truth is we don't need to be perfect, and it's not only OK to make mistakes. It's actually how we learn.

Once you start to allow yourself to feel like this, you'll feel more at peace with letting other members of your team do work/delivery that you have previously always done.

You don't need people that are 100% as good as you at what you do. You need to train people to be 60-80% as good as you in your way of doing things, then let them learn by doing.

By telling yourself that no one can do it as good as you, you're:

  • Limiting the growth of your business

  • Limiting the number of people your business can help

  • Damaging the engagement of your team

  • Damaging how much you enjoy your business

  • Limiting your time for personal life and fun

3 -It's quicker to do things myself

Some repetitive issues or tasks pop up in your business again and again. You've got a team, and you know deep down that these aren't tasks you should be doing at this stage of your business.

Your intuition makes you feel a little bit guilty about doing them because, again, deep down, you know this is not a good use of your time.

But you still do them because you tell yourself this prevalent lie.

Now again, there may be a semblance of truth in what you are telling yourself.

It might actually be a bit quicker to do that task on your own right now instead of training up someone else.

But what about overtime?

Let's say this task takes you 20 minutes but would take you 120 minutes to create the materials to train someone else to do it (probably less with tools like Loom and Trello).

Thinking short term, we would always choose the 'do it myself option'.

But if you do this task twice a week and you work 48 weeks per year, this task adds up to 1920 minutes. That's 32 hours.

What could you achieve in your business with 30 hours (minus the two it took you to create the materials and train someone)?

You may have gotten your business to where it is by grafting and being able to do everything, but staying stuck in that approach will stop your business from getting to where it should be.

By telling yourself, it's quicker to do things yourself, you're:

  • Limiting the growth of your business (30 hours of owner business development lost)

  • Damaging the engagement of your team

  • Damaging how much you enjoy your business

4 - If I go on holiday, my business will implode

You've grown your business and team from scratch. You know every detail of how it works, and it's you that holds the whole thing together. You know you should probably have more systems in place and be more like 'the big companies', but you've been so busy for the past months and years you just haven't had time to do it.

But now you're at a point where your energy and motivation isn't what it usually is. You love your business, and you feel guilty about the fact you're not as motivated as usual. You know deep down you just need a holiday. You need to switch off, clear your mind and recharge your batteries. But as soon as you start thinking about a holiday, you start to visualise the disaster... without you there holding it together and making sure the ship sails, it might all go wrong. You might get back from your holiday with no clients or teal left.

I know this internal narrative so well because I told it to myself years and I've heard it from over 80% of our clients.

Firstly let's understand a few essential points:

  • There is a tiny, infinitesimal chance your business would implode if you were to go on holiday.

  • It is almost certain that your business will implode if you, the owner, burn out.

  • The more reliant your business is on you, the less it's worth, and the less engaged your team will be.

I'm not going to just lie to you and say go on holiday, and there is no chance nothing bad will happen. But I can say to you with certainty that if you don't, something bad will happen.

Your business needs to be able to run without you.

The longer that you tell yourself and believe the lie that you can't go on holiday, the longer you make it reliant on you, the more at risk you are of burning out.

Plan a holiday, a holiday where you're not allowed to think about or contact work. Tell your team you'll be off the grid. I'm willing to bet your business doesn't implode.

By telling yourself if you go on holiday your business will implode, you're:

  • Limiting the value of your company

  • Damaging your personal life and health

  • Draining your entrepreneurial battery

  • Taking everything too seriously

Owning a business should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for you and your team. Of course, it will always come with its challenges and stresses (as life does in general), but it should be positive by and large.

If you're stressed, your team will be. If you're not giving yourself permission to have fun and enjoy work-life balance chances your team won't either. The current truth is that most small business owners and their teams love their businesses but feel that they contribute negatively to their health and happiness. It doesn't need to be and shouldn't be this way. One of the most powerful things you can do in your life and business is to prioritise you. The few that do this go on to grow their teams and businesses. The majority that don't burn out.

A happy owner and happy team are essential components of a great business. By excelling in the Better Happy 5 S's - Strategy, Systems, Support, Saw, Soar a business is able to grow through a happy team without reliance on the business owner.

Find out how you're doing, for free, in five minutes by clicking the link image below.

About Mike: Mike believes that a structured pathway to health and happiness is the solution to individual, business and global challenges. Mike was never made to feel good in the schooling system, experienced poor management in military and burn out in his first business. Seeing these problems were widespread Mike Co-Founded Better Happy to help other business owners and employees achieve their visions faster with health and happines.

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