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In my last post, I shared five of the ten barriers to business growth. Today, I’ll share the remaining five and challenge you to get really honest with yourself about where the challenges in your business lie.

Barrier #6: Not delivering what you promised

Your brand promise is everything your company stands for, what you uniquely offer, and what sets you apart. When a client steps into a business relationship with you, they’re trusting you to deliver exactly what you promised. That trust is the foundation for doing business, keeping your clients in a long-term relationship with you, and making sure they walk away feeling like all their interactions with your business are consistent with what they wanted and expected.

We’ve been in multiple situations where we were excited about what a company had to offer, invested in it, and walked away completely disappointed that what they said they were offering didn’t come to fruition.

As a client, there’s nothing worse than that pit in your stomach when you terminate a relationship because it’s clear that it’s no longer a good fit. And as a business, this is a death knell.

Take a hard look at your brand promise. Think about what you’re offering and the way in which you do it. Can you really deliver on that promise? With quality and consistency? My advice is to start conservatively. Determine what you can actually deliver and build from there.

Barrier #7: Disorganized administration and management

If you’re just starting out, you’ve probably already realized that you are the CEO – Chief Everything Officer – and that the buck stops with you. Like with Barrier #6, you have to be clear on what you can actually do… and what systems you have in place to help you do it.

Having backend systems in place that allow you to consistently and effectively run your business is essential for business growth. You can’t scale if there’s no repeatability. Additionally, your backend systems allow you to keep track of things you need to do and what it will take to drive results.

Take 15 minutes each day to organize your files, emails, and other systems, and 30 minutes to document processes and procedures. You don’t need fancy tools or apps. Open a Word document and just start writing.

Barrier #8: Focusing on the competition

A few months ago, Christy wrote a great blog post about how your business is all about you. In there, she used the example of chicken restaurants and how they aren’t focused on each other but rather focused on meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations.

When you focus on the competition, you’re focused on what THEY are doing, and it distracts you from serving YOUR ideal client. Now, that’s not to say bury your head in the sand and be oblivious to what’s going on in the world around you. But the truth is, your competitor has a different ideal client that you do. So, focusing your time, energy, and attention on what they’re doing is a waste of your time.

I’m not sure where I heard this, but I love it. “It’s better to be a first rate version of yourself rather than a second rate version of someone else.” So, as my daughter always says, “You do you, boo.”

Focus on your unique set of superpowers, how you can uniquely solve your clients’ problems, and serve them well.

Barrier #9: Investing in services you don’t need right now

We’re very big on investing in resources, help, coaching, etc. to help your business grow, but there are strategic times to do this. If I had to guess, you probably have a stack of PDF downloads, unfinished or untouched e-courses you’ve purchased, and memberships you’ve joined that you aren’t using to the fullest extent. I’m sure those things contain useful information, but ask yourself if NOW is the time to be spending your money of those things.

Perhaps the biggest area I see people investing in right out of the gate is website, logo, and business cards. These things while important don’t have to be done immediately. In fact, I’d go so far as to say don’t waste your money here until you’re VERY clear on who your speaking to, what their problem is, and how you can help them. Until you’re clear on that, you’ll continue to iterate over and over and over and that’s money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Take a hard look at what you’re investing in and ask yourself if you need this now. And before you spend another penny, do your research, follow the person on social media and see if you’re in sync with their messaging, how they show up, and what they’re putting out in the world. Ask for references, cut through the hype, and don’t get sucked into “the window is closing.” If you’re in doubt, ask your peeps for their thoughts and feedback and then make the decision.

Barrier #10: Not believing in yourself 

I saved this one for last because at the core, if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be very hard to grow your business. Your thoughts are powerful. If I could be so bold, I’d say they are THE most powerful thing you’ve got going for (or against) your business.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the what-ifs and hows of running a business, but at the core, you have to believe in your ability to grow and build your business. You have to believe you have what it takes to create the life and business of your design. And you have to be willing to get uncomfortable in the process.

Fear comes before great growth and change in your business. Always. And at 2 Smart Girls we have 2 rules we live and die by:

#1 – Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
#2 – Running a business is 80% mindset and 20% mechanics.

That means you have to understand the mechanics of running a business but that the thoughts you have make a difference too. Your thoughts about yourself and your business are going to drive your emotions, the actions you take, and the results you get. So, be honest with yourself and figure out what is truly holding you back. Is it a mechanics issue? Is it a mindset issue? Is it a fear issue? Or some combination of all three?

I want you to make a list of the 5 things you’re fearful of in your business or what you perceive as not working. List them out and dig into the why. Then ask yourself this: what would my life look like if I didn’t have this fear/challenge/barrier?

As you take some time to review the remaining 5 barriers, get critical… and have some grace, especially as everything feels off kilter in the world right now. Reaching out to your board of directors, those people in your life you trust to be honest, candid, and real will do wonders for your business.

And if we can help, we’d be honored. We’d love to talk through your challenge, give you our honest perspective about what we see, and some options for how to move forward. Simply complete this form, and we’ll get it set up.

Until next time, be present, be strong, be you.

P.S. On Wednesday, 3/25, we’re holding our first virtual Café Conversations session. If jumping on a call is intimidating, then bring your business challenge to the meeting, and let’s dive in. learn from others, lean into community, and be inspired. Register here.

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