Excuses holding you back

Posted 12/16/13

When you’re running a business it’s easy to make excuses for NOT doing things and convince yourself you’re acting responsibly. But such excuses may be the very thing holding you back. If you want to do more than just get by you’ll need to stop avoiding action and start taking it.

Take it from Tom Panaggio, an entrepreneur who created and built two highly successful businesses, including Direct Mail Express, which now employs more than 400 people. “Simply hoping that sales will improve is the wimp’s approach,” said Panaggio. “You can’t wait for all conditions to be perfect because they never will be. You have to take action at some point.”

Here are some top excuses Panaggio has come across:

• The timing isn’t right. People who constantly succumb to this excuse are what Panaggio calls “prisoners of hope.” They’re always waiting for something else to happen before “pulling the trigger” and end up never acting. Millions of would-be entrepreneurs, for example, are waiting for just the right conditions – funding, free time, a better economy. And all the time they’re waiting, opportunities are passing them by.

• We tried that already. Small-business owners most often utter these words in relation to marketing. Maybe they spent a bundle on a TV commercial once and it didn’t work. Or an online deal offering resulted in a loss. But marketing is far from certain and often difficult for small companies to predict. Without proactive, long-term and consistent marketing, businesses die.

• If only I had [fill in the blank]. For business owners and especially startups, there are always a million “if-only-I-hads.” And often they involve technology. But if you examine the situation closely, you might find there’s another way. “The road to success is through action, not accessories,” said Panaggio. “While tools and technology may be helpful, they don’t guarantee success. Effort guarantees success.”

• I’ll get to it – eventually. Panaggio tells the story of a salesperson who did extensive research on each lead, compiling hundreds of pages of material so she’d know as much as possible before calling. On the surface this seems admirable. But the salesperson was really putting off the moment of truth. She was afraid of being rejected and research was a form of avoidance. In business, there’s no shortage of delaying tactics that can be used as a buffer between you and action. If you immerse yourself in busywork in order to avoid true priorities, your business will suffer. •

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