7 Reasons to Stop Acting Like a Corporate Cripple

Corporate Cripple BlogNo one likes to think of themselves as anything other than an enthusiastic hardworking entrepreneur with the corporate skills to conquer the world. Sadly, many of us are bringing a limiting corporate mindset to our business, which will thwart your ability to grow in the long term

Whilst you may possess many admirable skills and can bring your untapped talent to the boardroom, you will have to use your skills in a different way when running your own business.  So if you are looking to accelerate your success in business, let’s look at some of the attitudes and behaviours that impede success.

1.   Fear of….

What scares you? The fear of criticism, rejection, failure, success or upsetting other people?  Whatever it is, we all have something we fear which stops us from going full out for our aspirational desires.

Many of us come from a corporate background where we were event scared of putting ourself forward for training and development; promotion or secondment opportunities because of our (numerous) internal fears which been well documented.  Women are often cited as having less confidence than their male peers (I raise my eyebrows) and often do not self promote to get noticed by those with the influence to shape or steer their career in the right direction.  This attitude is often bought into the business and is seen when we are not putting ourselves forward for bigger contracts, projects and opportunities.

It’s not about being recognized for doing a good job but putting yourself in the places where you will be noticed by the right people to grow your business.  This lack of taking bold action will not only limit your effectiveness but also your confidence to stand out and shine amongst your peers.

Don’t let fear stagnate your dreams.  When we allow fear to control our actions we freeze. Maybe not literally, but instead we defer, we postpone and we ignore, often disproportionately procrastinating as we wait for the right time, the right place the right factors to be in place before we take that leap of faith.  Remember fear is simply “false evidence appearing real.”  Fear thwarts our imagination, wreaks havoc on our schedule and makes every problem appear insurmountable.

But let’s not dismiss fear altogether.  Fear can be a good thing. Fear is part of our DNA and its natural to feel scared, but it should also be part of who we are to overcome that fear. That’s easier said than done I know, but as an business owner fear should be the “risk watch-keeper.”

Instead of being scared, take a step back, reevaluate the situation and take courageous action. Have the courage to take action, not because of the fear, but despite of it.

2.   No Footprint

We’re all comfortable with profiles these days. Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, our social profile is our shop window to the digital world, but what about your business profile?

How does that look? Maybe you don’t have one; perhaps you don’t think you need one. If so, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. Your profile is your calling card to the business world. It not only tells the world what you do, but also why you’re doing it and how. It extends your brand beyond your organisation.

Your networking strategy should be both online and offline.

Networking is not for other people, its important for YOU and your business.  When you network, your profile gains an extra dimension; a living, breathing embodiment of your professional worth. One that can interact, listen, evolve and grow with every conversation that takes place. Your profile is the extension of your business card and can capture all the things that a small piece of cardboard cannot. People see you for what you are and will be attracted to it, like moths to a flame. The law of attraction working in perfect harmony with the professional profile you represent.

3.   Not Getting Paid What You’re Worth

Many of us are not comfortable negotiating our salaries let alone setting prices for our services.  Never compete on being the cheapest as your strategy unless you are aiming to be the “Poundshop” version of your sector.

Aren’t we all worth just what someone is willing to pay us if we are operating in the right target market? If you work for yourself and just starting up your business, you may not be paying yourself anything just yet. Is that because you’re not worth anything? Of course not! I doubt anyone thinks they get paid exactly what they’re worth, but what do we do about it? Let’s be honest, generally, nothing!

Let’s use a corporate strategy to negotiate pricing the time you’re looking to calculate your own value

Make a list of everything you’ve done, every project you’ve worked on, every client you’ve helped. Don’t miss anything out, but also don’t ‘exaggerate’ your input – it’s not a CV. Once you’ve done it, narrow it down to the top 3 or 5 clients and estimate the financial value to each client. There’s no easy way to do this, but make sure it’s tangible so when you’re asked about it, you can deliver real details. When you have the value, decide what you think would be a fair price to charge for what you’ve given them, if you could value it. This isn’t the same as what you were actually paid. Take this price and double it. Once you’re comfortable, repeat it aloud; say it friends, colleagues until it sounds both natural and realistic. If it doesn’t, your figure may be wrong and you may still be undervaluing yourself. When it does, it’s a great place to be.

4.   Overlooked. Undervalued.

During this difficult economy climate, all business have undergone tough few years. Whilst the shoots of recovery may be sprouting, almost all small to medium enterprises (SME) undergo a phase where they are both under-valued and overlooked. Throughout the UK, SME contribute an enormous amount to the UK economy in terms of revenue and jobs. It’s too early to say what our new Conservative-led Government has in store for the UK business sector, but they have to address the gap between policy and profile for SMEs. The problem is that medium-sized business are often too large to come under the policy umbrellas designed to support small companies, yet not large enough to command the same level of interest of large corporations, especially when it comes to taxation and trade initiatives.

As the government continues to finds its feet, it’s vital that they address these issues at both a regional and national level to drive the economic recovery. Let’s all play our part. Let’s make the difference.

5.   Hamster Wheel Syndrome

We’re all familiar with our little, furry rodent friends and their liking for going round and round in their wheels. Whilst Hamster Wheel Syndrome isn’t a literal translation of that, but does your business practices have all the hallmarks of it.

Are you so busy working that you can’t stop or slow down to take stock of what’s going on around you? Are you so concerned with doing paperwork or updating your social media pages that business development or networking remains undone. Like the hamster, eventually you reach a speed that you’re no longer in control and simply running to keep up

Eventually you’ll either burn out or get stressed out. If that’s you, don’t mistake activity for achievement. Just because you’re working hard, spinning that wheel, take a moment to ask yourself this important question. Is all that work actually paying off?

If not, look at what you’re doing from a fresh perspective. Work is a process, so make sure that you are introducing systems and processes that benefit your business. Make everything you do a deliberate action, set a goal and make plans to do ‘something’ that improves effacy and production. Remember, you’ve got to work before you can run.

6.   Don’t Be A Record Breaker, Be A Record Keeper

Paperwork! It can be the lifeblood of a business or the chokehold that stifles innovation and development. It’s true that not everyone is a born administrator. Some people are happiest when they’re closing a deal or chasing down leads, but even those tasks generate paperwork (even if it’s electronic).

If it’s not your strongest suit it can all too easy to ignore, to put it on a pile for later.

It may not sound like a big deal, but that big deal your team has just closed is only going to be big if you know the details, can work out the profit, the tax and the revenue from it. That is going to take paperwork. Whatever line of business you’re in, get your admin structured in a way that means you always have what you need to hand. The best systems are always the simplest, so don’t over-complicate it. Make sure your processes are designed with simplicity at its heart so when you’re not there, someone could reasonably expected to find what they need quickly. It will save you (and them) valuable time, which, as you know, is money!

7.   Penny Pinching

Time may be money, but it doesn’t beat cold hard cash. Are you crippling your business by miserly cost-cutting processes that impact on delivery excellence?

Cutting cost isn’t necessarily about austerity, although there is certainly enough of that going on at the moment.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with tightening belts to prolong your business, it’s an essential part of running a company, but if you fail to budget correctly you could be hampering all the good work your team is doing.

If you are making cuts that impact on service delivery and quality they reassess and amend.  If your penny pinching affects the morale of your staff then reassess.  There is no shame in revisiting ideas that don’t work and fixing it.  Make sure you consult your staff and stakeholders to ensure that you are not adversely impacting on your brand value when you introduce these savings.

Assess each area of your business individually and look at the return on investment in an analytical rather than emotional way and assign budgets accordingly. Some will need more money than others, but they will often be more connected than you think. Don’t leave yourself short!

About Sonia

If you want to stop crawling along with you business and burst in to the market with a bang, then my No Bluff Membership-Mentoring Programme will help to catapult your income and credibility to the next level!

Find out more at www.soniabrown.co.uk