5 Tips To Avoid Small Business Self Sabotage

Only about half of all small businesses survive longer than their first five years. Almost as terrifying, only around one third of small businesses continue to exist after their first decade. To many small business owners, present company included, this is terrifying. Having your business completely fail (or fail at all) is not high on our wish lists.

If you are like me, the first question that runs through my mind is, ¨Why?¨ because I want to know how to avoid these failures. I won’t sugar coat it, some of the reasons are largely out of your control. An unprepared market, changing supply lines, cost of materials changing, etc. However, there are some things you can do to keep your business operating well past the statistical majority’s end. Today, we will look at a things you can do to avoid self sabotaging your business.

1. Make A Plan. Then, Make a Plan for Your Plan.

It never hurts to have a plan. In fact, you should have a plan to make sure that your plan doesn’t get derailed. Not only can it give you a goal to work towards, but in the event that the unforeseen tragedy appears it can keep you afloat. After all, when implementing long term goals it’s not if tragedy strikes, but when.

As a teacher, we have plans for everything. A plan for fire, a plan for tornadoes, and even a plan for school intruders. Every training our trainers have said almost the same thing.  “Planning is everything. However, you can’t predict the chaos that will arise during an emergency or how you will react to it. When you have a plan it gives you the steps you need to get through unknown situations.”

2. Avoid Micromanagement

During the early days of any small business, it’s a necessity to become a one man band. You have a lot to keep track of it’s important to build an organizational system that works for you. As you grow, however, so does your work load and it will inevitably become too much for any one person to handle. Make sure you don’t stretch yourself too thin. Find help and delegate what responsibilities you can. Though some of this may be hard to give up, in the end it will help you maintain growth instead of having your business plateau.

3. Celebrate the Small Things

Motivation and moral is a huge part of keeping a business running. Day in and day out grind can be exhausting in any situation. Eventually, this will lead to dread in your business and feeling of pointlessness. Make sure you take time to reward yourself and celebrate every chance you get. This could be something as small as finishing a to do list or something as big as completing a manufacturing quota. Not only will these small celebrations give you the energy to keep going, they can also help keep your goals in perspective.

4. Put Off Procrastinating

Procrastination is a very common issue among people. In fact, I’m willing to bet we can all think of a number of our school colleagues who procrastinated through their education and still came out successful. There is some validity to Bill Watterson’s quote, “You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last minute panic.” However, procrastination can still lead to failure if not kept properly in check.

The problem with procrastination and business is that there isn’t always a hard deadline to keep yourself responsible. This paperwork needs to be done…eventually. I need to make these phone calls…sometime. We should have a brainstorming meeting…when we can. Don’t let an unknown deadline fool you, you’re still on the clock. In a 2016 TED talk, Tim Urban reminds his audience that in a 90 year life, we only have 4,680 weeks to live. That’s not a very high number and especially not when you consider that a lot of those weeks have already been used. While you might be able to put off those phone calls for a while longer, your clock is still running. Make sure you’re still making the most of your time.

5. Take Risks

It’s easy to play it safe. Stick to what you are used to and go with the sure thing. However, when you never take a risk, you deprive yourself of many different learning opportunities. When you take a risk you can discover different venues for your business you never dreamed of before. If you have a fear of failure, risk taking can also help you become comfortable with the idea of trying. Just remember, when you do take a risk, you don’t have to do haphazardly. Protect the core of your business, but test the waters all the same. There is treasure out there to be found.

Take risks. Celebrate. Plan. Stepping out into the unknown to build your first online shop can be scary. These tips can make it less so!Click To Tweet

Keeping your business running is a challenge. There is a lot to balance and even more to keep track of. Part of completing any job successfully is working smarter instead of harder, and avoiding the common stumbling blocks. These are just a few solutions for the common issues that plague many growing businesses. Take some time to analyze your own routines with new eyes and see if you can find any less than productive habits. Have some practices that you have already found help keep you going? Be sure to share them in the comments below to let us know how we can get NinjaShop to help you in all aspects of your business.

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About the Author

James McCluskey

James is an English teacher and content writer for WP Ninjas. His daily motivation is to constantly look for something new to learn. This has tragically turned him into a living encyclopedia of largely pointless information. When not teaching, writing, or learning, James is usually working with his wife, Megan, on fundraising and support for several nonprofit organizations. Excelsior!