True or False:
Ostrich’s put their head in the sand.
It’s not a trick question. I’m totally serious. Do you think ostrich’s put their head in the sand?
If you do, you’re not alone.
Most people think ostrich’s actually put their head in the sand, but it turns out it’s just a myth.
In fact, when an ostrich senses danger it cannot escape, it lays on the ground totally still, with its head and neck flat out in front of it. Since the head and neck are light in color, they blend in with ground. So, from a distance, it looks like the bird has put buried its head in the sand.
See, you always learn something new here, don’t you?
But clearly, I’m not trying to provide a lesson in animal science. I’m trying to make a point.
If Even the Ostrich doesn’t put His head in the Sand, Why Do You?
Most solo entrepreneurs have no idea what is really going on in their business.
Ask them to see their budget…they don’t have one. Ask them to tell you their break-even point…they don’t know it. Ask them to tell you their cost to acquire a customer…they’ve never considered it. Ask them to tell you their percentage of customer satisfaction…they’re afraid to find out.
If you don’t know what is really going on in your business it’s not entirely your fault, but it’s entirely your responsibility.
Most of us start businesses with a vision, a determination, and a willingness to learn along the way. Those characteristics are at the heart of every entrepreneur. But, if you ever want to be more than a fledging small business, you have to move past this entry-level mentality.
You have to “turn the lights” on in your business.
Four Ways to Improve Your Business by Increasing Your Understanding and Awareness
1. Actually Manage Your Money
Just as with personal finance what you don’t know WILL cost you when it comes to your business’s finances. You must create a budget and manage it. I like to use Mint.com. It’s not designed for small business, but you can rig it to meet your needs if you’re a solo entrepreneur. There is also software called Outright. I’ve never used it, but they claim to be a “mint for small business.” If you want something that can do more heavy-lifting including bookkeeping and tax documents, that might be a good option.
2. Know Your Metrics
If you don’t know your metrics, you have no idea what is working and what isn’t. And, when I say metrics I’m not just talking about your website analytics. I’m specifically talking about criteria like:
- Your break-even point or how much you will have to spend to make a profit.
- Your cost per customer acquisition or how much you have to spend to get a new customer.
- Your profit margin or your total sales less the cost of goods/services.
- Your customer satisfaction percentage or the number of customers who were pleased with their investment and would make another one.
Knowing these metrics helps you understand the value of your business. It helps you make informed decisions. When you know your metrics you can accelerate your success very quickly, because you’ll know what is working and what to duplicate.
3. Seek Opportunity
Truth be told, most solo entrepreneurs just don’t think big enough. Largely due to the fact that they don’t have a handle on numbers one and two above, most solo entrepreneurs think they can’t get too far beyond where they are in their business. They don’t look at how to create extensions of their products and services, or how to cross market their offering. They rarely consider international expansion, and they are reluctant to pursue joint venture opportunities.
And, here’s the thing. You don’t know what you don’t know.
There are so many opportunities, even for the solo entrepreneur, but small thinking has you stuck doing the same things you see everyone else doing. You don’t have to want to build a huge business to be a great entrepreneur, but if you want to build a great business you have to seek opportunity.
4. Leverage Everything
You might be a solo entrepreneur, but you cannot take your business to its highest level alone. This is why you must attune your mind to the potential for leverage. Leverage other people’s money, other people’s ideas, leverage other people’s ability, leverage other people’s insight, and leverage other people’s innovation.
Jesus understood leverage well and look what He set in motion. Nuff said.
Don’t feel bad. Get Empowered.
Sometimes looking at the numbers in your business can be scary. What you might find might hurt your ego. It might disappoint you. It might make you want to put your head in the sand. Don’t let that happen.
Turn the lights on in your business and it will shine, shine, and shine. It’s only then that you’ll truly begin to see what is possible for you. It’s only then that you’ll fully maximize your impact on the world for His glory.
P.S. If you need major help in this area, I recommend you check out program by Alexis Martin Neely. It’s called Eyes Wide Open and it’s designed to help you navigate your business in that exact state…with your eyes open. It’s as close as you can get to having a CPA, Attorney, and Risk Management Specialist on your team for a fraction of the price.
Be more like the ostrich. Don’t put your head in the sand.