by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
One way and another I have been in business for, what, over 40 years.
I have created and run businesses, right up to the present.
Taught thousands of business students of every age.
Written 18 business books and thousands of business articles.
Had a nationally syndicated radio program on business.
But you get the point. Having now established, I trust, my bone fides, I am going to have my say about why so many people who say they want to be entrepreneurs will never, ever succeed in business.
Hint: it’s something millions of entrepreneurs do daily that keeps them firmly amongst the also-rans.
It’s the matter of excuses. The better you are at making them, the less good you are at making money and the less success overall.
Thus, today I want to propose a new and absolutely essential project for yourself… retiring your characteristic excuses, one at a time, and then burning them in the most important fire of your life, the bonfire of excuses.
First, hear what you say and perceive how deeply ingrained excuses are in your conversation.
Language is made up of building blocks, starting from letters of the alphabet, through words, phrases, etc. By the time we’re adults most of us have long since stopped paying attention to the building blocks of communication; we talk, we hope others listen to what we say because we’re not listening to it ourselves. Why should we? We know what we mean, right?
Your first task today is to put yourself and your daily attempts to communicate under a microscope. To root out excuses you must first know you make them. Are you aware, for instance, how often you blame lack of time to invest in your business for your failure get ahead?
This is a classic excuse, with innumerable variations.
Here excuse means to cite as a cause for failure or inaction an event, person, or thing which in point of fact has absolutely nothing to do with the matter; to excuse yourself from responsibility and provide a spurious reason for lack of progress, growth, success. In the process you deceive all and sundry; most importantly you deceive yourself.
Let’s look at one crucial area where your facility with making excuses is killing your profits and growth: ad copy. When was the last time you reviewed each and every ad you’re paying good money to run? I bet it’s been a long, long time (if at all). Instead of reviewing your ads, keeping track of all your responses and profits, knowing how much these ads cost, and then retiring the losers, you instead say “I would have done it, but I was too busy.”
This is, of course, rubbish.
The long and short of the matter is that you
1) didn’t budget time;
2) let lesser activities take precedence, in part because you were slothful and they were easier;
3) therefore let unresponsive, unremunerative ad copy continue without a plan for reviewing, removing, re-doing.
If you are to stop and permanently eradicate from your business life the crippling excuses which are so damaging to your success, you must be willing to see yourself as the clear problem… and do what it takes to radically change your ways.
As regards the above matter of reviewing ad copy, you need to scrutinize your current daily activities (how many hours did you say you took for “breaks”?) and ruthlessly drop the activities which aren’t paying and rigorously substitute those that either save you money, make you money, or both.
“I don’t have the money.”
Think of the machines, the personnel, the training, the marketing and advertising, the research and development your business requires. It can be, and for many is, daunting.
Thus when asked why you have an outmoded computer or Internet services, etc. you offer without thinking that you “don’t have the money”. More rubbish.
The truth is you most likely have not reviewed each and every dollar you spend, to determine (with the most severe scrutiny) just where it all goes… and, taking the matter one step further, to where it ought to go.
Thus, your knee-jerk response, offered over and over again, is that you lack the funds.
“My computer is old, but I just don’t have the money…”
“My delivery van needs to be traded in for a new one and the correct, updated advertising information painted on it, but I just don’t have the money…”
“I know I look like a homeless person, but I just don’t have the money for suitable clothes…”
Each and every one of these commonly-used excuses spurns the truth in favor of this very popular excuse. And so, daily, you hobble your business… by your own failure to review your situation, see things as they are, and make the necessary decisions accordingly. You don’t need an excuse… you need a psychiatrist.
Why do you do it? Whatever your reasons, excuses are anathema… the bane of business success… the root of diminished expectations and realities.
Fortunately, you can start the necessary changes…. today!
You now have a choice: to continue making excuses, passing them off as facts when they are anything but… or ruthlessly eradicating them, from this moment. Some of you, through inaction, will keep your current situation; making excuses, not money.
But if you’re determined to grasp maximum success, you’ll thank me for this necessary wake-up call and follow these steps to the letter:
1) As stated, review what you say and how you say it.
2) Don’t create excuses which attempt to pass off as facts your faulty suppositions, unproven deductions, and general inaccuracies.
3) Put the harshest light on what you do and say; determine whether it makes you money, or not, and reform accordingly.
4) Beginning today, now, keep a pad with you at all times, and as you hear yourself making an excuse, any excuse, write it on your pad as a configuration of words due to be expunged.
5) Try to remove at least one excuse from your speech every day. As you do so, write the inhibiting phrase on a page. Then take it out to your barbecue and burn it…. burn it completely, thoroughly, until absolutely nothing is left. This marks your transition from excuse maker to problem solver. You are already on the heady road to… MORE of what you want, rather than excuses for what you didn’t have and could never get under your old regime. Happily, you are about to be a better and a richer person. Let me be the first to congratulate you.
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com
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