Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @BarryMoltz. Barry Moltz gets business owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward. Barry applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change. His new book is How to Get Unstuck: 25 Ways to get it Growing Again. For more information www.barrymoltz.com
SmallBizLady: What are most small businesses struggling with?
Barry Moltz: For many small business owners, running a company is not what they thought it would be like. They would not exactly call their business a smashing success, but they have made enough money over the years to keep the company going. They have always weathered the ups and downs, but recently, it has become more difficult to grow a profitable business. Every month, they are in the habit of searching to find new customers and revenue to keep their business going. They are constantly worried about cash flow and replacing the employees who always seem to quit or get fired. They wake every morning feeling like they are on a never-ending hamster wheel. As a result, both their energy and interest are waning.
SmallBizLady: What do small business owners typically do to try to fix feeling burned out?
Barry Moltz: They keep looking for that magic bullet that will be “the tipping point” to take it to the next level. They hope that that the next big customer or new employee will make the difference. Unfortunately, that brave knight on a white horse never seems to come. They never truly make a commitment to the small changes that will get them unstuck and moving forward. They keep looking for that home run!
SmallBizLady: Which areas do small business owners get stuck?
Barry Moltz: It mostly revolves around 6 major areas: sales and marketing, management and leadership, money, productivity, social media and customer service. In some of these areas they have experience, but most of them, they know nothing about and are ill equipped to deal with.
SmallBizLady: Where 3 major examples of how small business owners get stuck?
Barry Moltz: They Treat Their Business like it’s a Job. They are so desperate to earn enough money to support their family this month that they don’t make any future investments that would result in building a stronger business. They say yes too quickly to what customers want. As result, their business drifts from the originally focused mission. They Think Their Latest Successful Windfall Will Last Forever. Once financial success comes, they are sure they have the magic formula and the “Midas Touch.” They begin to surround themselves with “yes” people who tell them how great they are no matter what happens. They Let Today’s “Emergencies” Dictate Their Plan. They start each day by checking Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Their daily plan falls apart 15 minutes after arriving at the office. They are addicted to multitasking and constantly let themselves be interrupted by people and global electronic notifications.
SmallBizLady: What can small business owner do to get unstuck?
Barry Moltz: Take a Vacation. Every one needs a break to recharge. Don’t have a fear of falling behind or missing an opportunity is you go away for a long weekend. Try not to measure success by being busy, not productive. Take Calculated Actions. Take patient iterative steps instead of big risks. Don’t waste resources by jumping in with new marketing ideas without first testing the water. Don’t take courses of action to satisfy their ego that don’t help your business. Stop Calling People Who Don’t Respond. Stop calling or emailing big customer opportunities that never reply. This prevents you from talking to other prospects that may be truly interested. Don’t hold onto the idea that they may still be interested if you bug them enough.
SmallBizLady: What are some of the biggest marketing mistakes small business owners make?
Barry Moltz: Their Customers Can’t Find Them. They are marketing in places where customers can’t find when they are looking to buy. Their business never gets into the “maybe pile” and, therefore, never has a chance of getting chosen by the customer. Their fear of rejection stops them from selling. They are afraid of the word “no.” They think that when prospects reject their product or service, they are rejecting them personally. This prevents them spending the necessary time doing sales and marketing. They avoid sales and hire an inexperienced person to handle it. They stop marketing as soon as their revenue increases. They only market when they have no revenue, but as soon as they get customers again, they stop marketing. This “Double Helix Trap” keeps their sales flat. Put in place a systematic marketing plan to build relationships with customers.
SmallBizLady: What are some of biggest mistakes small business owners make when dealing with employees?
Barry Moltz: They Only Hire Employees That Are Weaker Than Them. They are afraid of people knowing more than they do and will make them look bad. As an “A” Player, they only hire “B or C” players in supporting roles. They continue to use a hub-and spoke organization where all important decisions come through them, so they never feel left out.
- They Allow Lousy Employees to Overstay Their Welcome
They don’t fire employees, even though everyone knows they are doing a bad job and hurting the company. They can’t admit they made a mistake, for fear of the repercussions if they actually let them go. Be slow to hire and quick to fire.
- They Hire for Skills, not Attitude
They are in a rush to hire anyone to fill a job. They only ask questions about skills and past experience in the interview process. They never discuss their career goals or how they fit into the company. Hire for fit into your culture.
- They Allow Personal Use of Smartphones on the Job
They can’t help but think that this activity keeps employees distracted from effectively doing their jobs. They do not have any rules in place, and they do not monitor their usage. They are unsure how to fix it.
SmallBizLady: How do ego and insecurity affect small business owners?
Barry Moltz: They are Always Telling Employees What to do Because They are “The Boss.” They think being the boss means ordering people around and threatening them if it does not get done. They never ask for help. They believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. They think that small business ownership is a solo sport. They are the biggest “I” in “team.” They should manage through collaboration.
SmallBizLady: What is the biggest financial mistake small business owners make?
Barry Moltz: They Don’t Know How to Read Their Financial Statements. They never review them or ask for help to understand what they mean for their business. As a result, they make all business decisions blindly. This leads to borrowing and spending money based on expected results, which gets them into more debt. Learn how to read financial statements.
SmallBizLady: How should small business owners think about failure?
Barry Moltz: Small business owners are afraid of being a failure, so they don’t know when to quit or admit it’s over. They stop taking risks. And as a result, they keep going, despite increasingly low chances of success.
SmallBizLady: What is the biggest mistake small business owners make with social media?
Barry Moltz: They go on social media sites without a strategy. They think they don’t need a strategy. They become more interested in gossip than helping business prospects. They think the sole purpose of social media is to promote their products.
SmallBizLady: Do you have 5 suggestions for creating a sustainable small business?
Barry Moltz: I think that creating a profitable business that doesn’t burn you out comes down to five basic things:
- Have a daily plan and stick to it- stop all the interruptions
- Educate customers instead of selling them
- Sell based on value not price
- Ask for help from a mentor
- Let go of failure and try again
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.