3 Reasons You’re Not Making Business Profits (and How to Avoid Them)

Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt #17

Stop Doing These 3 Wasteful Things in Your Business to Start Making Net Profits!

“Waste not, want not.”
”Don’t waste your breath.”
”What a waste of time/space/energy.”

The list goes on and I’m sure you’ve either heard or said any number of these idioms over the years.

Being the system type of personality that I am, wasting time is a big pet peeve of mine.

Growing up on the farm my Dad decided he wanted to control the thistles that were starting to take over the back pasture. I guess pesticides weren’t a thing back then, but child labour was!

One summer he put me to work pulling out every single thistle stock… by hand. Armed with adult-sized leather gloves, I sat on the field grabbing the large prickly stalks at the base and tugged with all my might to free those suckers from their clutches. I had to ensure every bit of root was captured; otherwise, the weed would grow right back again.

I laboured all summer on that project (or so my childhood memory has deemed this to be true). It was a big patch of nettles with thick stocks firmly implanted into the hard ground, so they weren’t all that easy to pull out for this 10 year old.

Of course the next summer they all came back to continue their dominance of the field.

What a colossal waste of time that was.

Have you ever felt like you’ve wasted too much of something in your business? When marketing the services that we provide, you’ll often hear me encourage business owners to stop wasting three things:

1. Wasting Time

2. Wasting Money

3. Wasting Energy

Let’s explore each of these areas and see if anything resonates with you.

Wasting time

One of the biggest problems I see entrepreneurs have is wasting their time trying to learn and do something that’s outside their area of expertise.

Somewhere along the way, especially us women, we got it into our heads that we should know how to do everything that involves building a business.

How is that even possible?

Even if one had a Masters degree in Business, would they know HOW to do everything? Certainly they would know WHAT needs to be done, but I argue not how.

That’s why businesses can’t be built with just one person. They need a team.

Businesses need to delegate to people who have expertise in areas the founder doesn’t.. And no, the DIY tools that are available don’t cut the mustard. Just because I know how to use a calculator, doesn’t make me a mathematician.

Ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with you. You simply need to learn to delegate!

I asked fellow business owners in a Facebook group I belong to what they found wasteful in their business and throughout this piece you will hear their responses.

This one from Christine Awram, founder of Woman of Worth, shares her valuable lesson on trying to do everything herself:

“Wearing too many hats and not staying focused on what I’m most brilliant at, letting others shine their specific brilliance on areas I’m not as strong in. Doing everything and/or micromanaging comes with a price tag, primarily burnout and unintentionally pissing people off LOL. This was a hard lesson for me many years ago, when I thought I was Superwoman and could do everything.”

Another waste of time that I certainly fell into the trap of is attending countless webinars and seminars. And I’m not the only one! NLP Trainer and Master Coach Teri Holland wrote:

“I wasted a lot of time and money on weekend seminars that offered no value, but I felt a sense of “FOMO” if I didn’t attend. Each time I left feeling deflated the seminar didn’t provide what was promised and was just a sales pitch for a bigger program.

And there are some good ones out there too! I’m just more discerning about where I spend my time and money now and I stopped chasing the next shiny offer.”

Jenn Biddlecombe with Inner City Flooring in Coquitlam mentioned a waste of time you may have also experienced:

“I wasted energy on trying to get family to support my business at the beginning. You and you alone are the only one who cares about your success.”

Wasting Money

I mean, who hasn’t wasted money while pursuing their dream business? I sure have!

Similar to Teri, I spent a lot of money on courses and programs that didn’t deliver anywhere near what was promised. Heck, I could have taught those courses myself and added even more value while at it!

Aside from spending money on courses and programs, there are other areas that could be sucking your money out of your net profits.

One of them I have experienced is hiring the wrong people for our team. Whether hiring an employee, contractor or sub-contractor, this can be a very costly mistake if the proper due diligence isn’t done to ensure the right person is chosen.

And I’m not the only one! Martin Jongejan, owner of ZOOM Home Cleaning Experts expressed his frustrations in this area:

“Spending too much time and effort on members of my team that I wanted to succeed in their role, more than they wanted to succeed in their role. Was like trying to push a rope. I can’t underestimate the importance of having people on your team who get it, who want it, and who are capable of doing it.”

And Renata Kobek with Kobek Immigrations has a similar experience:

“Paying for professional services that were subpar and spending too much time trying to make sure everything is perfect.”

Business Management Consultant at Black Sheep Business Consulting, Kevin Foreman shared a valuable lesson he learned about wasting money:

“I have wasted the most in business by means of capital. It underlines the need to have ample financial resources, as not every investment in your business will pay off. Some people like to say ‘you don’t need money to start or grow a business’, but they couldn’t be more wrong. You need lots of money, because even the strongest businesses waste lots of capital. The loss in opportunity of not wasting capital is lesser than the chance to gain market share, which comes by wasting some capital.”

Ultimately, to grow a business, it’s important to ensure whatever you are investing money in has an ROI (Return on Investment). If that investment, such as a fancy new phone, a program teaching you skills outside of your area of expertise, or state-of-the-art camera, can’t make you money, then reconsider and use those funds for something that will.

Wasting Effort

Sometimes we don’t realize just how valuable effort is. It’s not tangible or measurable, but when push comes to shove, it’s extremely valuable.

Effort is a resource we need to hold onto dearly and ensure it’s being used with the right intentions.

Achieving our goals is one such intention. Do you have your business goals mapped out? What do you want to achieve in the next 6 months? By next year? 5 years from now?

If you haven’t mapped out your goals then you could be wasting a lot of effort chasing unachievable pipe dreams.

Or maybe you do have goals in mind, but have you mapped out how to achieve them? What needs to take place to realize those goals?

This is where knowing your numbers is also imperative. If you don’t know your numbers, then you are wasting a lot of effort playing in your business.

This example from Marcel Barker with Tammi Anne Barker wasted a lot of effort trying to sell before truly understanding what they were selling:

“Our biggest waste of time, energy, and money comes from not fully understanding our product life cycle and when we should be doing what. We’d generate a bunch of hype on social media long before we had figured out what we were selling and how it would be produced. When I finally sat down to write a proper business plan I researched and wrote up a full, highly detailed end-to-end walkthrough, taking a collection through high concept -> design -> development -> launch -> selling -> production. It revealed a lot of what we had been doing wrong.”

Chasing those shiny objects that inundate us Every. Single. Day. can be so tempting when we don’t know our numbers and have a business and marketing plan in place to follow.

And thus we go full circle.

Wasting valuable time, money and effort trying to build a successful and sustainable business.

Does any of this resonate with you?

Do you need help getting on track and following a solid plan for your business as opposed to playing in it? I offer free 30-minute consultations for business owners just like you and invite you to book an appointment so I can help you get on the right track to building your dream business.

To your business success,

Susan

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES ON OUR WEBSITE:

1. Read: The Entrepreneurial Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome Exposed. There’s an insidious travesty happening to entrepreneurs w/ Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome. What you need to know before signing up for another program.

2. Read: Why Focus is the #1 Factor in Your Business Success. Do you get distracted by shiny objects? If you are busy doing different projects seeking business success, you should always ask yourself these questions posed by guest author Cheryl Bishop.

3. Watch: Why Business Plans are a Must-Have. You’ve heard about the importance of business plans but do you know why they are so essential? My guest Pamela Chatry shares valuable business plan insights.

4. Watch: Simplifying & Demystifying the Business Plan. Creating a business plan doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. My guest Pamela Chatry covers the important components that go into a business plan.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

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Why Starting an Online Business Is a Great Idea!

There are several reasons why starting an online business is a great idea for anyone that wants to have more freedom and wealth. Here are five reasons why I encourage entrepreneurs to start and online business.1. Not every idea we come up with is going to become a winner and make money New businesses are started every day and only a few become successful. In the event that the business does crash and burn it is easier to bounce back without all of the financial responsibilities that you would have in a traditional business. I myself started an online business for $50 by purchasing a franchise with an already existing online business. This was great because I didn’t have to create anything and to this day is my main source of income.2. Residual income and Advantages The right business can be developed into a stable, residual source of income. In fact, there are plenty of ways to create online businesses that make six figures yearly. Imagine if you could spend your spare time learning how to create successful online businesses, resulting in several income-producing assets that will continue to earn money while your out playing golf or on vacation with the family.Remember that business has changed. The way people are making money is changing. Old ways won’t open new doors. Starting an online business today will give you a running start in the new economy.3. No disadvantages and faster personal growthThe rules of business don’t adjust based on age, a business owner in their mid 60s has the same risks and responsibilities that someone in their early 20s has.Running a business introduces you to many life lessons, and being introduced to them at an early age will allow to develop into a more balanced person a lot sooner.4. Ability to work from anywhere in the worldHaving an online business with will allow you to work from wherever you want in the world. All you need is a laptop or smartphone with internet access. You can start your day when you feel you are ready and work as much or as little as you want.The work won’t be any easier on a beach in Mexico than it would be in an apartment in Paris, and you will still have the same battles and challenges that every entrepreneur faces, but the option to do it from any location or while traveling is real.5. Less risk and little financial commitment to startBefore the Internet it was very difficult for just anyone to start a profitable business. Credit cards, Bank loans, lines of credit weren’t easy to get and still aren’t for everyone.An online business for the most part has lower overhead when compared to an offline traditional construction business, translating into less of a financial commitment. This allows anyone to be able to start a profitable online business. The only variable is your commitment to making it happen.Were these helpful? There are others out there that could use this advice, feel free to share around and drop me a comment if you found this helpful!

How to Validate Business Ideas for Your Own Online Business

Business ideas tend to develop and come up in the most unusual and unexpected places. Sometimes, business ideas can just pop out in the mind during a long commute to and from work. Or just by simply lining up in the supermarket, one can come up with a long list of potential business ideas that can launch a successful online business. Any time of the day and wherever you are, for sure there’s a chance that a business idea will get into your mind. This may excite you and would push you to think that you have a blazing idea that can transform into a top online business.When these things happen, take it slow and take it one step at a time. If for case you are having a good day and you think that you have the business idea that can transform the world or bring you millions, what you can do is to slow down and jot it down. You don’t need to immediately get to excited, tell everyone you know and start your own online business. Even if you have the money and the motivation to do it, keep in mind that it’s a trap just waiting for you. In order to avoid the usual start-up trap, it’s recommended that you test and validate your business idea. Here are four basic things or steps that you can take to check if your business idea is viable or if it’s just another ordinary day for ordinary ideas.Take time to identity your target market. Is there a substantial market for your business ideas? How large is the market in terms of dollars? Is this a growing niche online or many online entrepreneurs have ventured into this niche for the past few years? These questions can be answered by doing a few minutes worth of research online. Sometimes, there are organizations and websites that are focused and dedicated on the niche which you can also check out. It doesn’t mean though that you need to do all your research online. Sometimes you it pays to do the traditional research as well by joining trade groups and expositions. This should help you understand the niche you are trying to crack. A little amount of research can help you validate if indeed your business idea will flourish online.Take time to identify your targeted customers. You need to consider the demographics of your target customer base. When you set up your own online business, you need to know who your customers are. What are the age brackets, and do they belong to a certain income bracket? Or perhaps your business idea or products appeal most to female customers? By knowing who your customers are you can easily customize the sales strategies that you will adopt. You can easily come up with a business strategy or advertising campaign that can effectively zero-in and appeal to your target audience. This will also help you improve on the products and services so that these will appeal more to your customers.Validate the demand for your products and services. You don’t need to hire the services of the pros to test if your products and services are doing well in the market. On your own, you can tell how the market and your customers respond to your products and services. One thing that you can do is to get feedback and reviews from your customers. Prepare a survey to learn what they think about your proposed product or service.From here, you should have an idea if the business concept will take off or not. If it shows some signs of a good future, then that’s the time that you should build your contacts that can help promote a top online business. You should have at least three lists in your possession- the listing of potential customers, list of suppliers and list of vendors. Try to add up names on these lists on a regular basis and conceptualize strategies on how you can reach out to them. Other successful online business owners will have their own approaches on how to capitalize on business ideas. But one thing remains for sure; a business idea will take off if there’s demand for it and customers are willing to pay for it.Dany Cooper