1. Money
Susan Ward

Free It Up & Move Forward

By June 24, 2010

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That's Jonathan Fields' message in The 12 Dysfunctions of an Entrepreneur, a message I think is incredibly important.

It's a dilemma that many small business people experience - we're so focused on trying to make our small business do well that we don't take the time to do the things that could make that happen.

We're like blinkered horses plodding along pulling our carts, plodding right past paths that might have opened new vistas.

Over-working and under-thinking, hoarding control and failing to evolve are just some of the ways we sabotage the potential success of our small businesses that Jonathan discusses in his article. He says:

"One of the biggest things that tends to happen in business is that they start out led in a sort of visionary, aggressive outreach, innovation manner and then once business starts coming in, the mindset shifts to thinking about how to preserve the wins or the gains that have already been accomplished, rather than focusing on constantly innovating and delighting existing and new clients on the level that they never expected."

One of the biggest things - and also one of the worst, because it's an attitude that will kill your business off over time.

Read Jonathan's article. Then, if you see yourself in the description of any of these dysfunctional behaviors, take action.

1) Get Out of That Rut. Human beings are complacent by nature and it's soooo easy to just keep doing what you're doing. Prepare yourself to make changes by following the suggestions in this article.

2) Start your own innovation program. Begin with the question, "How can we...?" and then start brainstorming about a specific problem or process. "How can we give our customers more individualized service?" "How can we save money on shipping costs?" "How can we interest men in our product?" Once you get the creativity flowing, the results may amaze you.

3) Do your market research so you can "keep your finger very much on the pulse of where the pain points currently are in the market and how they've changed from when you started your business". Use the information you gather to review your business practices and update your practices, products and services as needed to keep and increase your market share.

4) Incorporate exercise and fun into your life. Yes, you're busy. But you know and I know that what you accomplish is often a matter of what you choose to accomplish. Make exercise and fun a priority and regularly schedule them into your life.

5) Reflect on your leadership style. What kind of boss are you? Are you, as Jonathan puts it, hoarding control, focusing on hours rather than results or trying to incentivize innovation with a carrot and a stick instead of in ways that will facilitate mastery? Are you a micro-manager that needs to Learn How to Delegate? Work on changing how you manage your staff so you can develop a more motivating, innovative workplace.

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