3 Reasons You’re Not Making Business Profits (and How to Avoid Them)

Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt #17

Stop Doing These 3 Wasteful Things in Your Business to Start Making Net Profits!

“Waste not, want not.”
”Don’t waste your breath.”
”What a waste of time/space/energy.”

The list goes on and I’m sure you’ve either heard or said any number of these idioms over the years.

Being the system type of personality that I am, wasting time is a big pet peeve of mine.

Growing up on the farm my Dad decided he wanted to control the thistles that were starting to take over the back pasture. I guess pesticides weren’t a thing back then, but child labour was!

One summer he put me to work pulling out every single thistle stock… by hand. Armed with adult-sized leather gloves, I sat on the field grabbing the large prickly stalks at the base and tugged with all my might to free those suckers from their clutches. I had to ensure every bit of root was captured; otherwise, the weed would grow right back again.

I laboured all summer on that project (or so my childhood memory has deemed this to be true). It was a big patch of nettles with thick stocks firmly implanted into the hard ground, so they weren’t all that easy to pull out for this 10 year old.

Of course the next summer they all came back to continue their dominance of the field.

What a colossal waste of time that was.

Have you ever felt like you’ve wasted too much of something in your business? When marketing the services that we provide, you’ll often hear me encourage business owners to stop wasting three things:

1. Wasting Time

2. Wasting Money

3. Wasting Energy

Let’s explore each of these areas and see if anything resonates with you.

Wasting time

One of the biggest problems I see entrepreneurs have is wasting their time trying to learn and do something that’s outside their area of expertise.

Somewhere along the way, especially us women, we got it into our heads that we should know how to do everything that involves building a business.

How is that even possible?

Even if one had a Masters degree in Business, would they know HOW to do everything? Certainly they would know WHAT needs to be done, but I argue not how.

That’s why businesses can’t be built with just one person. They need a team.

Businesses need to delegate to people who have expertise in areas the founder doesn’t.. And no, the DIY tools that are available don’t cut the mustard. Just because I know how to use a calculator, doesn’t make me a mathematician.

Ultimately, you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with you. You simply need to learn to delegate!

I asked fellow business owners in a Facebook group I belong to what they found wasteful in their business and throughout this piece you will hear their responses.

This one from Christine Awram, founder of Woman of Worth, shares her valuable lesson on trying to do everything herself:

“Wearing too many hats and not staying focused on what I’m most brilliant at, letting others shine their specific brilliance on areas I’m not as strong in. Doing everything and/or micromanaging comes with a price tag, primarily burnout and unintentionally pissing people off LOL. This was a hard lesson for me many years ago, when I thought I was Superwoman and could do everything.”

Another waste of time that I certainly fell into the trap of is attending countless webinars and seminars. And I’m not the only one! NLP Trainer and Master Coach Teri Holland wrote:

“I wasted a lot of time and money on weekend seminars that offered no value, but I felt a sense of “FOMO” if I didn’t attend. Each time I left feeling deflated the seminar didn’t provide what was promised and was just a sales pitch for a bigger program.

And there are some good ones out there too! I’m just more discerning about where I spend my time and money now and I stopped chasing the next shiny offer.”

Jenn Biddlecombe with Inner City Flooring in Coquitlam mentioned a waste of time you may have also experienced:

“I wasted energy on trying to get family to support my business at the beginning. You and you alone are the only one who cares about your success.”

Wasting Money

I mean, who hasn’t wasted money while pursuing their dream business? I sure have!

Similar to Teri, I spent a lot of money on courses and programs that didn’t deliver anywhere near what was promised. Heck, I could have taught those courses myself and added even more value while at it!

Aside from spending money on courses and programs, there are other areas that could be sucking your money out of your net profits.

One of them I have experienced is hiring the wrong people for our team. Whether hiring an employee, contractor or sub-contractor, this can be a very costly mistake if the proper due diligence isn’t done to ensure the right person is chosen.

And I’m not the only one! Martin Jongejan, owner of ZOOM Home Cleaning Experts expressed his frustrations in this area:

“Spending too much time and effort on members of my team that I wanted to succeed in their role, more than they wanted to succeed in their role. Was like trying to push a rope. I can’t underestimate the importance of having people on your team who get it, who want it, and who are capable of doing it.”

And Renata Kobek with Kobek Immigrations has a similar experience:

“Paying for professional services that were subpar and spending too much time trying to make sure everything is perfect.”

Business Management Consultant at Black Sheep Business Consulting, Kevin Foreman shared a valuable lesson he learned about wasting money:

“I have wasted the most in business by means of capital. It underlines the need to have ample financial resources, as not every investment in your business will pay off. Some people like to say ‘you don’t need money to start or grow a business’, but they couldn’t be more wrong. You need lots of money, because even the strongest businesses waste lots of capital. The loss in opportunity of not wasting capital is lesser than the chance to gain market share, which comes by wasting some capital.”

Ultimately, to grow a business, it’s important to ensure whatever you are investing money in has an ROI (Return on Investment). If that investment, such as a fancy new phone, a program teaching you skills outside of your area of expertise, or state-of-the-art camera, can’t make you money, then reconsider and use those funds for something that will.

Wasting Effort

Sometimes we don’t realize just how valuable effort is. It’s not tangible or measurable, but when push comes to shove, it’s extremely valuable.

Effort is a resource we need to hold onto dearly and ensure it’s being used with the right intentions.

Achieving our goals is one such intention. Do you have your business goals mapped out? What do you want to achieve in the next 6 months? By next year? 5 years from now?

If you haven’t mapped out your goals then you could be wasting a lot of effort chasing unachievable pipe dreams.

Or maybe you do have goals in mind, but have you mapped out how to achieve them? What needs to take place to realize those goals?

This is where knowing your numbers is also imperative. If you don’t know your numbers, then you are wasting a lot of effort playing in your business.

This example from Marcel Barker with Tammi Anne Barker wasted a lot of effort trying to sell before truly understanding what they were selling:

“Our biggest waste of time, energy, and money comes from not fully understanding our product life cycle and when we should be doing what. We’d generate a bunch of hype on social media long before we had figured out what we were selling and how it would be produced. When I finally sat down to write a proper business plan I researched and wrote up a full, highly detailed end-to-end walkthrough, taking a collection through high concept -> design -> development -> launch -> selling -> production. It revealed a lot of what we had been doing wrong.”

Chasing those shiny objects that inundate us Every. Single. Day. can be so tempting when we don’t know our numbers and have a business and marketing plan in place to follow.

And thus we go full circle.

Wasting valuable time, money and effort trying to build a successful and sustainable business.

Does any of this resonate with you?

Do you need help getting on track and following a solid plan for your

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9 Things to Consider Before Forming a Business Partnership

Getting into a business partnership has its benefits. It allows all contributors to share the stakes in the business. Depending on the risk appetites of partners, a business can have a general or limited liability partnership. Limited partners are only there to provide funding to the business. They have no say in business operations, neither do they share the responsibility of any debt or other business obligations. General Partners operate the business and share its liabilities as well. Since limited liability partnerships require a lot of paperwork, people usually tend to form general partnerships in businesses.

Things to Consider Before Setting Up A Business Partnership

Business partnerships are a great way to share your profit and loss with someone you can trust. However, a poorly executed partnerships can turn out to be a disaster for the business. Here are some useful ways to protect your interests while forming a new business partnership:

1. Being Sure Of Why You Need a Partner

Before entering into a business partnership with someone, you need to ask yourself why you need a partner. If you are looking for just an investor, then a limited liability partnership should suffice. However, if you are trying to create a tax shield for your business, the general partnership would be a better choice.

Business partners should complement each other in terms of experience and skills. If you are a technology enthusiast, teaming up with a professional with extensive marketing experience can be quite beneficial.

2. Understanding Your Partner’s Current Financial Situation

Before asking someone to commit to your business, you need to understand their financial situation. When starting up a business, there may be some amount of initial capital required. If business partners have enough financial resources, they will not require funding from other resources. This will lower a firm’s debt and increase the owner’s equity.

3. Background Check

Even if you trust someone to be your business partner, there is no harm in performing a background check. Calling a couple of professional and personal references can give you a fair idea about their work ethics. Background checks help you avoid any future surprises when you start working with your business partner. If your business partner is used to sitting late and you are not, you can divide responsibilities accordingly.

It is a good idea to check if your partner has any prior experience in running a new business venture. This will tell you how they performed in their previous endeavors.

4. Have an Attorney Vet the Partnership Documents

Make sure you take legal opinion before signing any partnership agreements. It is one of the most useful ways to protect your rights and interests in a business partnership. It is important to have a good understanding of each clause, as a poorly written agreement can make you run into liability issues.

You should make sure to add or delete any relevant clause before entering into a partnership. This is because it is cumbersome to make amendments once the agreement has been signed.

5. The Partnership Should Be Solely Based On Business Terms

Business partnerships should not be based on personal relationships or preferences. There should be strong accountability measures put in place from the very first day to track performance. Responsibilities should be clearly defined and performing metrics should indicate every individual’s contribution towards the business.

Having a weak accountability and performance measurement system is one of the reasons why many partnerships fail. Rather than putting in their efforts, owners start blaming each other for the wrong decisions and resulting in company losses.

6. The Commitment Level of Your Business Partner

All partnerships start on friendly terms and with great enthusiasm. However, some people lose excitement along the way due to everyday slog. Therefore, you need to understand the commitment level of your partner before entering into a business partnership with them.

Your business partner(s) should be able to show the same level of commitment at every stage of the business. If they do not remain committed to the business, it will reflect in their work and can be detrimental to the business as well. The best way to maintain the commitment level of each business partner is to set desired expectations from every person from the very first day.

While entering into a partnership agreement, you need to have an idea about your partner’s added responsibilities. Responsibilities such as taking care of an elderly parent should be given due thought to set realistic expectations. This gives room for compassion and flexibility in your work ethics.

7. What Will Happen If a Partner Exits the Business

Just like any other contract, a business venture requires a prenup. This would outline what happens in case a partner wishes to exit the business. Some of the questions to answer in such a scenario include:

How will the exiting party receive compensation?
How will the division of resources take place among the remaining business partners?
Also, how will you divide the responsibilities?
8. Who Will Be In Charge Of Daily Operations
Even when there is a 50-50 partnership, someone needs to be in charge of daily operations. Positions including CEO and Director need to be allocated to appropriate individuals including the business partners from the beginning.

This helps in creating an organizational structure and further defining the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. When each individual knows what is expected of him or her, they are more likely to perform better in their role.

9. You Share the Same Values and Vision

Entering into a business partnership with someone who shares the same values and vision makes the running of daily operations considerably easy. You can make important business decisions quickly and define long-term strategies. However, sometimes, even the most like-minded individuals can disagree on important decisions. In such cases, it is essential to keep in mind the long-term goals of the business.

Bottom Line

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