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.”â¨”Don’t waste your breath.”â¨”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.
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.”
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.
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.