This article as in anything I write, teach or say is based on sound research and/or personal experience, typically a combination of both or at least heavily weighted toward the latter. In this case today’s topic stems from my personal experience and introspection while preparing my breakfast.
I burnt my toast (technically it was a bagel) because in those few moments that it takes to make toast I decided to come to my computer and engage in a brief conversation with a business partner on Skype which led to answering a social network alert and before I knew it, the unpleasant aroma of burnt toast was in the air. An onlooker would have enjoyed the comic relief watching me run and dance around with the hot bagel but when it’s the bread and butter that feeds my family that’s at risk (my business) the laughter soon fades.
Of course the burnt toast is not directly responsible for business failure, the reality is it’s a lack of focus that leads many to finally pack it up and take their losses or, for the truly persistant, feverishly work endless hours year after year just to keep their head above water. So, in effort to save my own business and possibly help you save yours here are my five key reasons you might be burning your toast.
- Lack Of Proper Business Development: If you haven’t taken the time to create a well-focused business plan then there is no way you can focus on the elements of creating (or purchasing) your products/services and marketing campaigns to go with them.
- Lack of Proper Daily Planning: Sitting down and creating a schedule is imperative to running your business. This is not to say you can’t have flexibility in your scheduling, you just need to plan around the times you need to be flexible with. Just remember, flexible does not mean willy nilly.
- Distractions: Once I’ve set up my business plan and my schedule I need to buffer out the background noise so I can focus on the task at hand. Segment intending is a great way to do this which is simply stating for this hour (or whatever amount of time) my intention is to ____________. That’s it! Anything I don’t need in order to focus on the task at hand gets shut down. Period.
- Guilt: This may seem out of place but if you ever sit down to work and are thinking about the house or the family, bills etc… or visa versa, then it’s typically guilt or it’s sidekick shame that has our minds wandering. We can shut out the distractions of the mind by addressing the guilt. This is why personal development is an absolute must for anyone trying to achieve success as a business owner.
- Unbalanced Work/Rest/Fun Ratio: If we’re taking care of the other four reasons we “burn our toast” then achieving a balanced lifestyle with a specific percentage for work , rest , and fun can be relatively easy. Of course there’s proper nutrition and those types of personal health considerations but I typically group that under rest as it works for me that way. I don’t like to have too many categories so I don’t get overwhelmed or feel my life is too segmented.
So, there you go, five pretty solid reasons your business may be in failure mode. If it’s only burnt toast you get from time to time then you’re doing pretty good. We’re always going to have our burnt toast days but if we can see these moments as a sign that our focus is off we can make the proper course corrections and keep the doors open for another day.
Take the time today to sit down and write out what makes you burn your toast. If you don’t feel you’re set up to stay focused then some coaching may be in order to help identify your distractions and reasons for them.