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The Economy and Competition Are Not The Root Causes of SMB Revenue Underachievement. You Are.

The good news is that you can make your business or your skill more resilient if you understand and follow a relatively straightforward process.


Small businesses and salespeople fail to or do not achieve their revenue / sales goals because of misalignment in their practice, processes, perspectives, and mindset.


It’s your core – your Internal Power Plant comprised of mental models, values, mindset, behaviors, blind spots, mission, and a few more things tossed in for good luck.


All of them are you. All of them are determined, influenced and/or mitigated by you. And once you get your Internal Power Plant aligned and firing on all cylinders, you will be in a much better position to handle the competition and economic curve balls being tossed at you all day.


Yes, the economy and competition are factors. But they are part of the reality a business must face. They are givens, part of the equation, the cards you are dealt. 


Your job is to identify the strategies and tactics to succeed despite them.


Your job simply stated is to embrace and effect change.


Many business owners believe that the economy and competition are the root causes of failure. They are not. After 40 years working with enterprise and SBM clients, I have distilled the root causes of businesses’ revenue under performance. Understanding the causes and implementing the solution will give you income and time you always dreamed you could get from your business.


Business is getting harder. The chances of failure are increasing. You’re more stressed and have less time. If the solution to your root cause revenue issue is easier to implement, takes less time, and reduces your stress – why continue to ignore it?

The 2 hardest things to do are:

  1. Admit we may be part if not all of the problem
  2. Commit to and effect change in ourselves

The first one is tough! The purpose of this document is to assist you in the other – affecting change.

diverse person holding letters spelled change

Why is it Hard for People to Change?

There are many reasons why it can be difficult for people to change.


We’re comfortable with the way things are. Don’t mistake this for being happy about the current situation. This is about us feeling content to the point that we don’t or won’t take the initiative to change.


Closely aligned with this is that some of us simply don’t have any motivation to change. We’re simply not interested in the stated benefits of change, even if they would provide us with significant value.


We’re afraid of what we don’t know. Its easy to become comfortable in what we believe we know (the key here being “believe”). Our imaginations are very adept at creating frightening scenarios that will befall us once we move outside of our known world. There are some people that will become physically sick or immobilized simply from imagining the horrors of the unknown

“Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.”

Truth be told, for many we are creatures of habit. Maybe we have a well grooved daily routine and like it. Breaking these habits and attempting to replace them with new routines can be hard. And many times, a clear benefit is not seen.


And don’t forget blind spots and cognitive biases. We are most likely not even aware of these and the impact they can have on our lives. If you’re careful and listening intently, you will hear yourself rationalize a non-action, and not understand your own logic. Yes, these are that deep.

a person staring on arrows

Our perception of others and of social norms is another very common and powerful deterrent to change. Whether it is from our family, or coworkers, or community, our need for approval of others is very real.


Grouping these factors, we see that they are all coming from within us, and we are the only ones responsible for them. That doesn’t make it any easier to change. Just be assured that you are not alone in your desire to change and your struggle to affect it.

Dispelling a Few Misconceptions About Change

You may be thinking that change often involves taking risks and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. That change can be uncomfortable, uncertain, and even scary. It really depends on how you choose to implement change. Yes, wholesale “rip the bandage off” or “burn the ships” approaches will create anxiety and stress. Those are large, possibly life unsettling, propositions.


But change can occur with small, easily digestible steps or behaviors. Say you want to loose weight (I am not a diet expert or a physician) and think that you have to give up everything you enjoy in food to achieve your goal. An example of a small change could be to set aside one day a week where you don’t eat desert or sweets. Over time you can expand the number of days or add a second item not to consume. Allow yourself some time to adjust but push yourself a little.


Also, many believe that the only approach is to go headfirst into the change. Sometimes it is beneficial to take a step back and slow down to move forward. We can become so focused on achieving our goals that we neglect important details, overlook potential obstacles, or fail to consider the broader implications of our actions. By taking the time to reflect, gather information, and evaluate our options, we can make more informed decisions and avoid making mistakes that might hinder our progress in the long run.

"Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end."

What Are Some Effects of Not Changing?

Resisting change may have various negative effects, both in personal and professional aspects. Here are some to consider.

  • If you don’t change, you may get stuck in a rut, doing the same things repeatedly without making progress or growing.
  • By not changing, you may miss opportunities that could have helped you improve or succeed.
  • Not changing can lead to decreased efficiency in your work or personal life, resulting in wasted time, resources, and money.
  • If you don’t keep up with the times and adapt to changes, you may experience obsolescence in your industry or career.
  • Not changing can have negative health impacts such as not exercising or eating healthily, leading to increased risk of sickness or disease.
  • When you don’t change, you may look back on your life with regret and wonder what could have been if you had taken the initiative to make changes.

And feel free to add any other negative impacts relevant to your situation.

No silver spoon – just hard work and lots of change

Oprah Winfrey was not born into money, royalty, or privilege. Her childhood was not the easiest.

Oprah gave birth to a son at the age of 14. The pregnancy came from sexual abuse — she was raped by members of her family from the time she was nine years old.But she persevered and worked extra hard to become one of the most successful and influential media personalities of all time.


She started her career as a news anchor before transitioning into talk show hosting, and eventually launching her own network.


Through her work, she has become an advocate for numerous social causes and a role model for millions of people around the world.


According to Forbes, Oprah Winfrey’s net worth in 2023 is $2.5 billion.

The 2 Most Significant Factors in Change

1 – How do blind spots affect our ability to change?

Blindspots can have a significant impact on our ability to change. Blindspots are areas where we are unaware of our own biases, shortcomings, or limitations. These blindspots can prevent us from seeing the need for change or recognizing the obstacles that stand in our way.


Here are some ways in which blindspots can affect our ability to change:


Blind spots can make it difficult to recognize our own faults, weaknesses, prejudices, and preferences. This can lead to a lack of self-awareness and an overestimation of our abilities, which can make it hard for us to recognize the need for change.


Blind spots can also make it hard to accept feedback or constructive criticism from others. We may feel defensive or threatened when our blindspots are pointed out, and this can prevent us from making the changes we need to make.


Blind spots can also make it difficult to objectively accept contradictory evidence to our beliefs or assumptions. We may discount or ignore information that challenges our views, which can make it hard for us to recognize the need for change.


Blind spots can also foster a lack of empathy making it hard for us to understand the perspectives and experiences of others. We may be unable to see how our actions or beliefs are affecting others, which can make it difficult to recognize the need for change.


Overall, blind spots can make it hard for us to change because they can prevent us from seeing the need for change, recognizing the obstacles that stand in our way, and accepting feedback or criticism that can help us to grow and develop.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”

2 – How does mindset affect our ability to change?

Mindset will have a significant impact on our ability to change. Our mindset refers to our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions about ourselves and the world around us.


Some of the most important research into mindset was conducted and documented by Carol Dweck in her book “Mindset: New Psychology of Success”.


She proposes that we fall into one of two categories, either having a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset.


A fixed mindset is the belief that our abilities and traits are set in stone and cannot be changed. This can make it difficult for us to see the potential for growth and development and can lead to a resistance to change. People with a fixed mindset may avoid challenges, give up easily, and feel threatened by the success of others.


A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and traits can be developed through effort and learning. This mindset can help us to embrace challenges, persist in the face of obstacles, and learn from failure. People with a growth mindset tend to see change as an opportunity for growth and development.


Mindset can often be more important than talent or ability in determining success. While natural talent and ability can certainly be beneficial, research has shown that mindset is a critical factor in achieving success in a wide range of areas, including business, sports, and academics.


Studies have found that students who have a growth mindset tend to perform better in school than those with a fixed mindset, even when their ability levels are similar. Similarly, athletes who have a growth mindset tend to be more successful than those with a fixed mindset, even when their physical abilities are similar.


For example, studies have found that people who have a positive mindset tend to be more resilient and adaptable in the face of adversity and are better able to cope with stress and uncertainty. Similarly, people who have a growth mindset tend to be more creative and innovative and are better able to adapt to changing circumstances and take advantage of new opportunities.

"Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

What is the Value of Clear Goals in Affecting Change?

Clear goals are essential for affecting change because they provide direction and motivation and help to clarify the specific actions that need to be taken to achieve the desired outcomes.


Clear goals provide a clear focus for our efforts, helping us to stay on track and avoid distractions. They help us to prioritize our actions and allocate our resources more effectively and can help us to avoid getting bogged down in details or overwhelmed by the complexity of the change process.


They can also be a powerful source of motivation, helping us to stay committed and persistent in the face of obstacles or setbacks. They provide a clear sense of purpose and direction and can help to inspire us to take the necessary actions to achieve our desired outcomes. 


Clear goals help to create a sense of accountability, for ourselves and others. With clear goals, we can measure our progress and hold ourselves accountable for taking the necessary actions to achieve them. When we share our goals with others, we create a sense of accountability and support that can help us to stay focused.


Overall, clear goals are essential for affecting change because they provide focus, motivation, accountability, and adaptability. By setting clear and achievable goals, we can create a roadmap for the change process and increase our chances of success.

Here are 5 steps to effect change:

1 – You must admit that you need and want to change. Commitment is key. This means change is your first and biggest priority. If you cannot make the commitment, do not proceed to step 2. You will be wasting your time and energy.

2 – Envision your Current State:

  • What is your current situation you want to change. You hate your job, your living conditions, not being able to afford better things for your family, societal issue such as homelessness, poverty, hunger, etc.
  • What dreams or goals are you not accomplishing today that you would like to.
  • What pain are you feeling because of the current state. Dig deep for this as it is critical to be fully aware of your feelings.
  • Why do you want to change. Write a list of the reasons you want to change.
  • Answering this question with a logical or rational viewpoint IS THE WRONG ANSWER. Your reason for changing must be felt, by you, in your heart and in your gut. If you don’t get emotionally worked up by it, you have the wrong reason.
  • Who will the change benefit. Think about not simply yourself but start with family, loved ones, close friends, coworkers, and expand outward. The more people you can help with your change, the more motivated you will stay when the change gets hard.
  • Who will the change hurt. This is a very interesting point. But first understand that we are not talking about people who will react to your changing based on their selfish interests. You are attempting to determine if there are any people you care about that will be bruised.
  • Who or what will try and stop you or slow you down. This includes those internal factors we discussed above. Also think about any persons or organizations that will perceive your actions as a threat.

3 – Envision the future state. The clearer and more compelling you envision your Future State, the more likely you will be motivated to achieve it:

  • Clearly and in deep detail describe the desired future state. Think about all of the attributes of the Current State situation that you want to change.
  • How will life be different after you have made the change. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, family, work, friends, etc.
  • What dreams or goals will you be closer to realizing
  • What will the positive impacts be to your family, friends, coworkers, business, customers, etc
  • What pain will go away
  • What new positive feelings will you realize

"The gap between the current state and the desired future state is where growth, progress, and success happen."

4 – Understand the Gap and the Journey

  • What will it take for you to move from the current state to the future state
  • Do you need to conduct any research
  • Do you need to confer with anyone
  • Have you accurately and in detail documented the processes you must complete
  • Create a timeline of each of the steps you have listed
  • Include start dates, end dates and the number of hours required
  • Are your estimates realistic
  • Will you commit to them
  • What intermediate wins have you built in
  • How will you celebrate those wins

"The key to successful change is to identify the gap between the current state and the desired future state, and then develop a plan to close that gap."

5 – Implementing the Journey

  • Keep your goals in front of you – physically. Write them down. In red highlighter. Anything to keep them front and center where you will see them as much as possible. 
  • Keep the benefits in front of you – physically. This is the ‘Why’ you want to accomplish the change.
  • Now write down the emotional charges you’ll get from the change. This is the true motivating component. Yes, tape a picture of your child to the computer screen if that’s your inspiration. Or to the bathroom mirror, or to the lamp on your nightstand, or the rearview mirror of your car. Keep going.
  • Make sure you remind yourself, especially your subconscious, of these.
  • Find an accountability partner or process to help you stay on track. It’s got to be someone who really is interested in your success.
  • Work to achieve small wins frequently. This will keep you energized and make the journey seem easier. But make the wins meaningful.
  • Understand and modify your behaviors to make it easier to achieve small wins.
  • There are so many ways to accomplish this. Search online for hacks that work for others.
  • Many people find that recording their thoughts, actions, attempts, etc. helps to keep them on track. It’s as simple as a 3-minute notation in an inexpensive composition notebook.
  • Morning / evening routines are an excellent way to commit to spending time reviewing your goals, actions, miscues, and more.
  • And some extol the virtue of granting themselves small rewards for accomplishing predefined targets.

The suggestion is not to try and employ all of these methodologies but rather to find what works for you.

Business, especially small business, is a reflection of the owners and/or senior executives. Our personalities, prejudices, blind spots, mindsets, beliefs, values, etc come through us to the business. And these are what will cause the business to suffer.

In summary, be clear, be committed, be persistent, get help, and enjoy the change. Changing YOU is the single most effective lever to creating a successful and growing business or skill.

Attitude Selling

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