I spent a chunk of last week down at the Entrepreneurs Circle in Birmingham. I meet up with a group of other business owners every two months to talk about our businesses, and to keep ourselves on track.

One of the topics that cropped up in discussion was the things that actually get in the way of making money – the barriers to growth, the barriers to making a business successful and, ultimately, the barriers to putting more cash in your bank account.

If you can remove these barriers, you’ll be more successful. So, what are they?

  1. Lack of a plan – without a plan, how do you know where you’re going? How do you know if you’ve got there? It’s amazing how, if you’re thinking of going on holiday this summer, you’ll spend ages looking into where you want to go, researching it, looking at the reviews, then booking the holiday, And then you’ll plan the packing, book a taxi to get to the airport, etc, etc. You go into minute detail but, in business, many people do not plan – they just let things happen.
  2. Lack of skill – not having the ability to do everything that’s needed in the business. This isn’t a bad thing – we can’t be good at everything. We just need to get some help, whether that’s paid help or free help. These days, it can be so easy to find someone to either employ or outsource the things you need.
  3. Lack of confidence – it became apparent in the meeting with the other business owners that there are a lot of people in that room who are very, very good at what they do….but don’t believe in themselves, and that’s what’s holding them back.
  4. Fear of “What if?” – What if people don’t like the video I have made? What if people don’t like the letter I’ve sent out? What if people don’t like this email newsletter that I’m sending right now? If we all think like that, we’ll never do anything. There’ll always be someone who doesn’t like it, but most people do like what you do or, if they don’t, they’re not offended by you trying.
  5. Lack of targets – this is linked to the lack of a plan but it’s about having defined targets, with a time scale to meet them. I spoke to a start-up business last week and asked them what, for them, would be a successful first year? They didn’t know. I said, “for example, how many sales do you want to make in the first year?” They didn’t know. Without that target, how do you know you’ve got there? How do you know you’ve been a success?
  6. Perfectionism – we can all suffer from this. When I’m doing a set of accounts, or tax return, it does have to be perfect. But with many other things, it doesn’t. Good enough is good enough. I could spend hours and days refining this email, but would it really make any difference? It might be a little bit better, but would it be worth the extra time and effort?
  7. Linked to that is procrastination – putting things off. I’m as guilty as anyone, but one of the ways that I can actually get around procrastination, is having that plan, and having those targets. It keeps you moving.
  8. Distraction – there’s just so much going on these days. It’s so easy to get pulled into different things. But if you have a plan, and you have targets, it does help you remain focused. It makes it easier to avoid wasting your time on social media, or letting other people disturb you when you’ve got something important you need to do.
  9. The last barrier, though, was, of course, You!!!. Often, you are the biggest barrier, because you start to believe you can’t do it. You need to sometimes remove yourself from the equation and just get on with it. You can do it!

Once you know the barriers, you can start to remove all of them and make your business much more successful…… and put far more money in your bank accounts.

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Any questions?

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