Do men make mistakes in business? Of course, it just part of the game. It's how we learn how to get better, right? However, some mistakes are far more costly than others. From mentoring a copious amount of entrepreneurs, business owners, consultants and coaches, I've identified the 7 biggest mistakes that stop men from becoming successful and may even cost them their personal freedom, marriage and even health. I've also identified how to avoid these mistakes and put yourself at the top 10% of men in business. You'll be at the top because most men do not overcome these mistakes and eventually succumb to them.
Mistake #1 – Doing It On Your Own
Part of being a man is having the self-assurance that "you did it" and "you built everything you have on your own". Sure it feels great to have done it on your own but what has it cost you? What was the opportunity cost? A man's ego can be his best friend but it can also be his biggest enemy. I've seen countless men struggle because they fail to reach out for help when they need it. Some will even go to the point of complete failure and allow their business to tank, relationships to fail or even suffer a heart attack before they ask for help.
How to overcome it:
It's simple. Ask for help before you are desperate for it. Business is about opportunity cost. In a lot of respects, it's like a chess game. You have a finite amount of resources and each move you make counts. The better your moves, the more likely you are to win the game. And just like any other sport, you should have a coach, mentor or advisory board to help you make better moves. One of my mentors told me years ago that it's not the "how" or the "what" that accelerates business growth, it's the "who". A person with greater knowledge, skills, systems or tools can help you get to your goal, faster and easier. So get yourself a business coach, mentor or advisory board.
Mistake #2 – Focusing Too Much On Growth & Not Enough On Risks
Every guy wants to grow his business but very few focus on what will happen when things don't go so well. I've seen men overextend themselves financially, make unwise investments and even lose their home because they didn't mitigate the business risks effectively. Now, on the flip side, men who focus too much on risk fail to grow their business all together. So there's a fine balance between the two.
How to overcome it:
Practice proper risk mitigation. A minimum of once a year, you should outline all of the major to moderate risks related to your business and industry. Once you've outlined the risks, create a scenario (what will happen if X becomes true) and response analysis (how will we respond). It's far easier to deal with a risk when you've anticipated it than it is to deal with if you haven't. It should take you no longer than a day or two to complete this exercise.
Mistake #3 – Thinking That Your Personal And Business Life Are Separate
Men pretend like their business doesn't impact their personal life and their personal life doesn't impact their business. On the surface of your thoughts, this may seem true but deep in your unconscious mind, it's far from it. The average person has 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day. The majority of them (up to 99%) are unconscious. Which means that most of what your brain is thinking, you aren't even consciously aware of. And researchers have shown that up to 95% of a person's decisions are based on unconscious thoughts. So here's the scary part: most of your decisions are based on factors you don't know. If things aren't going well at home, it's impacting your business decisions and vice versa. Many men spend hours at work thinking about how they're missing out on family time and then spend hours when their with their families thinking about how much work they need to get done.
Here's how to overcome it:
Be fully present in the moment. It's your best chances of your current decisions and actions reflecting your current thoughts. And it's also the best way to live a truly fulfilling life. When you are working in your business, focus on your business and not on your family. When you're with your family, be fully present with them and avoid thinking about work. It's easier said than done but the more you practice it, the better you'll get at it. There are two things in particular that will help you in this area: 1) practice mindfulness (there are plenty of online resources available or listen to upcoming mindfulness episodes on The Male Entrepreneur Podcast to find out more) 2) Finish the last task before you switch over. Meaning that when you're about to finish the day at work, finish the last task and check it off. An unfinished tasks causes your brain to ruminate over it until it is done. Do the same with family before you switch over to work.
Mistake #4 – Burning Out
It's true that most men would rather burn out than give up. It's how we're built but it's not exactly smart. Just learn from the mistakes and keeping moving. Burnout is real and it impacts more men than you realize. Okay, so men burnout. So what? You'll just get up and keeping going! If you're lucky, sure. But if you suffer from major anxiety, depression, heart attack, stroke, etc. you may never get back into the same groove because your body and brain won't allow you too. Don't allow yourself to get to this point, please. I remember a past colleague who was one step away from becoming a NHL referee but suffered a stroke because he burned himself out. He was never the same and had to work in extremely low stress environments for an undetermined period of time (maybe for the rest of his life).
How to overcome it:
Burn out happens from expending more energy than you're actually taking in. And if you're a high-performer, you may have a habit of "earning" your downtime. Working to a point that you actually feel as though you deserve it. That can get you in trouble. You MUST do activities and interact with people who give you energy. And avoid the activities and people who drain your energy. Now, it's not always possible to eliminate them completely but you need to minimize them at least. Remember to avoid burning out that you must recharge yourself so ENERGY IN > ENERGY OUT!
Mistake #5 – Spending More Resources Servicing Than Marketing
Every man should be proud of his business and for good reason. It's your product or service and in many ways, it's a direct of reflection of you. So providing an exceptional product or service is a natural focus. It's actually a "must" in business because many clients will just go elsewhere if it's subpar. But can you focus too much on your product and not enough on marketing it? Of course. It happens all time. Especially because up to 80% marketing efforts are ineffective. A lot of marketing seems like it doesn't work, is too expensive and maybe even a waste of time. But it's important because marketing is the most important function of your business. If you don't create a client, there's no client to serve.
How to overcome it:
Focus on effective marketing and one type of marketing in particular. It's called Authority Marketing. There are three levels of marketing: trial and error, psychology based and neuroscience based. Most businesses are using trial and error because everyone else is using it. But they're getting similar outcomes as you as the results are minimal. Psychology based marketing incorporates how people think, believe and act and it's fairly effective. The third and most powerful marketing is Authority Marketing and is based on neuroscience. It's based on how the human brain and nervous system respond to marketing and sales. You're essentially tapping into their brain so they WANT to buy your product or service. Instead of you trying to sell them on it. Click here for my FREE training on Authority Marketing (it's for consultants and coaches but the principles apply to all entrepreneurs).
Mistake #6 – Working Harder, Not SMARTER
It's in our blood to persist even when we make mistakes! What's that old saying "if it doesn't work the first time, try try again"? Not completely true. You should try again but with a different approach. But what happens with a lot of guys is that if something isn't working, they'll just spend more time and effort trying to blast through it. For example: if the business isn't growing at the pace they want, they'll spend more hours working in the business. That's futile because doing more the same thing will only get you more of the same thing!
How to overcome it:
Reset yourself and tap into other resources. As mentioned earlier, resist trying to do it on your own. Get help from a coach, mentor or advisors. There are other ways to get through a brick wall rather than repeatedly smashing your head against it. You can go over it, around it, under it and maybe it's not even a wall that you should be trying to get over. Sometimes stepping back and looking at the big picture from different angles gives you a perspective to find other ways to get to your goal.
Mistake #7 – Focusing Too Much On The Business And Not Enough On Yourself
Your business is a direct reflection of you, your thoughts, beliefs, decision and actions. To sum it up, it's a direct reflection of your leadership skills. Broadly speaking leadership includes your internal beliefs, stories, decision criteria and execution and this also includes how you lead others. When a client hires me to help them grow their business, the very first thing I look at, is their leadership skills and abilities. Why? Because if they were at the level they needed to be at, their business would be at the level they want it to be. Otherwise they wouldn't need me. It's pretty simple.
How to overcome it:
Work on yourself first. Your business results are a lagging indicator of your leadership. The more you work on yourself, the faster and better your business will grow. This is proven over and over again. Initially my consulting and coaching firm focused mainly on business strategies and tactics. But we soon determined that the more work we did with business owners themselves, the faster their businesses would grow. So now we focus on growth for the business using strategies and tactics and the growth for the business owner with leadership development. Teaching yourself to fish will result in far better outcomes than having someone catch the fish for you.
You shouldn't fear mistakes but you should avoid them when possible. You now have a heads up on the 7 biggest mistakes that will stop you from having that business or life you want. If you relate to one or more of these, then jump on it fast. Imagine staring into your very own crystal ball and being able to see what your future could end up as. Your future is dependent on what you do today. So if you want that dream business and life, there is really nothing stopping you.
I wish the very best on your journey.
"The Strategist For Men In Business"