There’s a famous quote by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
Everyone is guilty of unintentionally fooling themselves at one point or another, and small business owners are no exception. From underestimating their capacity to invest in new technologies to overestimating what they can accomplish on their own, it’s easy to fall victim to erroneous beliefs.
Here are three common fallacies that small business owners tend to buy into and tips on how they can overcome them.
1. “I’m the only one who can do this.”
Entrepreneurs are independent by nature, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many are reluctant to rely on others. This can quickly become a problem as they achieve success and have more hats to wear.
Tasks and responsibilities is one way to free up more time in order to focus on growing your business. To figure out what to delegate, think about the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule, which states that for many events, 80 per cent of the effects come from 20 per cent of the causes.
For business owners, that translates to 80 per cent of your company’s profits come from 20 per cent of the time your staff spend. Dissect your time and hone in on that 20 per cent of the work you do that yields the best results and delegate the rest. This could include administration tasks, tasks that are out of your wheelhouse, and essentially anything that keeps you from growing your business.
What you shouldn’t delegate is ultimate responsibility—the buck needs to stop with you.
2. “My business needs to be bigger before I invest in technology.”
With 98.2 per cent of all companies in Canada falling into the SMB category, it’s imperative that small businesses differentiate themselves. In order to outpace the competition and drive growth, providing exceptional customer service is non-negotiable. But with limited staffing and technical resources, some small business owners are reluctant to invest in technology solutions to give them that customer service edge, arguing that they’ll wait until the company grows just a little bit more.
The truth is, customer service is a competitive advantage that can help grow the business. Rather than waiting until you’re receiving complaints or losing business, look at solutions like Desk.com, an easy to implement, out-of-the-box customer service app that allows you to manage all areas of customer service, helping you to compete head-to-head with larger competitors and while delivering great customer service at the same time.
3. “I’ve always done it this way, so this is the right way.”
From infancy, people learn what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. Once you figure out an effective, successful way to do something, chances are you’re going to want to stick with it. The same can be said for small business owners. Finding early success at doing something one way might mean you’re tempted to keep doing the same thing over and over again; however, just because it works doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most efficient, cost effective or even the best way.
It’s important, as an entrepreneur, to keep an open mind and be willing to pivot. The dollar might drop or raise. The competitive landscape might change. New technology might change the very nature of your business. As long as you’re willing to shift your way of thinking, you won’t end up like in your competition’s dust.
Taking a hard and honest look at what you believe to be true could be the key to taking your business to the next level. As they say, the truth will set you free and in business, it will also set you up for success.