Would you believe me if I told you that you’re probably making business growth significantly harder than it needs to be?
It’s not because you’re not working hard enough or have the wrong people on your team. Rather, it’s because you’re making a lot of excuses.
There was a point in which I made so many excuses for myself that I actually made business growth significantly more difficult than it needed to be.
In fact, I made so many excuses that I became overwhelmed with fear, didn’t take action, and resultantly didn’t grow my business.
That said, I’m sharing the excuses I used to make before I actually started growing my business. Once I stopped making them, growth became simple.
If you find growing your business hard, it’s probably because you’re making these same excuses. I’m telling you though, once you stop making them, growing gets simple!
This Will Happen If You Continue to Make Excuses
What’s so bad about making excuses anyways? Is it really as bad as people make it out to be?
In short: yes, yes it is, because excuses impede action! Whenever you make an excuse, you don’t take action, and action is the most essential piece of the business success puzzle.
Taking action is extremely underrated these days. In a world of self-help, contemplation, and introspectiveness, we often spend a lot of time pondering how to take action but never actually take action.
That isn’t to say that strategic planning isn’t important for growth, but it is to say that those plans will be meaningless unless you take action upon them.
Not only that, but action is often the single great divider between the CEOs who achieve growth and those who stay as-is.
That said, you’ll remain either the same forever or even scale backward if you don’t take action because of the excuses you make.
You Make Excuses Because You Were Taught to Make Excuses…
Want to know the real reason why you and most entrepreneurs, and quite frankly most people in the world, make excuses in the midst of challenging situations?
Simple! You make excuses because you were taught to make excuses. You were taught to make excuses because making excuses makes you feel good and comforted in the midst of a challenging situation. For most people, they let their feelings, regardless of what they are, dictate what they do.
Unfortunately, those good feelings that you experience are temporary. Eventually, the excuse catches up with you. By that, I mean that the excuse you made eventually reveals itself as just an excuse, and you don’t feel good about making it.
Although you were taught to make excuses, the fact that you were taught to make excuses ISN’T an excuse to keep making them.
Excuses Create an Illusion of Control
So why do excuses make you feel good in the midst of a challenging situation, such as when you’re running a growing business?
When you’re in the midst of a challenging situation, you often feel like you don’t have a lot of control. Not having control over a situation makes you feel vulnerable, and nobody likes to feel vulnerable.
Despite the fact that you might actually have more control than you think, you still tell yourself that you don’t have a lot of control and start to feel vulnerable.
By making an excuse to not take action, you give yourself a reason to stop feeling so uncomfortably vulnerable. It’s an easy escape from the situation!
All of a sudden, you feel like you’re in control again because you believe that you’re successfully removing yourself from the discomforting situation. However, what you’re really doing is just temporarily fooling yourself, because you actually weren’t out of control to begin with.
Making excuses creates the illusion that we have control over a situation that we originally didn’t feel we had control over. Having control makes us feel good in the moment, so we’re fine making excuses for ourselves.
Most People Won’t Hold You Accountable
A hard truth for business owners like you is that most people in your life won’t hold you accountable for your excuses. Instead, they’ll pour gasoline on your excuses or even make them for you.
People don’t inflame your excuses because they’re bad people, rather, they just want to upset you. They’re afraid that if they hold you accountable to your excuse that you’ll get angry with them and storm off, especially if they’re a friend.
Unfortunately for you, it’s extremely important to have people who will hold you accountable as a business owner at any point in time, but particularly when you’re hitting a new business growth stage.
Now, don’t go hating on all of your friends if they haven’t helped keep you accountable in the past. Instead, link up with someone like a CEO coach who will not just tell things to you straight, but give you the insights you need to create growth plans that’ll help you achieve your business goals.
When You Make Excuses, You Disempower Yourself
Unfortunately for you, whenever you make an excuse, you disempower yourself.
Making an excuse is like saying, “Yeah, this situation is just too hard/complex/out of reach for me, so I’m going to just walk away from it because why even try?”
Even more unfortunately for you, you need to be in power to achieve company growth. Whatever your idea of growth is, whether it’s acquiring new customers in your current market of expanding your product line, you need to be empowered!
Because when you’re in power, you take the action you need to take to achieve your goals. Without any action, your business plans go to waste.
The Longer You Make Excuses, The Longer Until Your Business Grows
How much longer will you continue to make excuses?
Because the longer you make excuses, the longer it’ll take to grow your business, serve your customer base, and make the impact you want to make.
I say this not to make you feel bad, but because I’ve seen so many high-potential entrepreneurs make every excuse in the book only to never take any action.
When you have the urge to make another excuse, remind yourself of these two things:
- Every successful entrepreneur has felt the urge to make excuses
- You didn’t start a new business for no good reason
First off, every successful CEO who has grown their company in the past has felt the urge to make excuses because they too are humans who don’t like being in uncomfortable situations. If they can push beyond excuses, then so can you.
Second, you started a business to make an impact. What will happen if you make so many excuses that you never make that impact? Remind yourself of why you started this in the first place!
How much longer will you make excuses before you finally increase your market penetration, launch those new products, or expand to new markets?
You Were Also Taught That Business Growth Is Complex
Not only were you probably taught that it’s okay to make excuses, but you were also probably taught that business growth is complex.
Believing that growth is complex gives CEOs another reason to make excuses and not take action!
Not only that, but even if they do take action while believing that growth is complicated, they don’t achieve as much success because they make decisions based on the premise that growth is complex.
Successful Business Growth Strategies Come Down to One Factor
Business growth is a simple matter of making more sales.
It could be making more sales in your current market to increase your overall market share.
Alternatively, it could be making sales in a totally new target market to snatch up new customers, or making sales of a new product after you’ve diversified your product line.
It could even be making more sales to increase cash flow so that you can invest in a new office space, pay your team members more each month, or invest into market development and research.
Regardless of which way you look at it, growth of any kind almost always comes down to making more sales in less time!
What about that is complex?
Don’t let people gaslight you into believing that growth is complex, because it’s not!
Challenging? Sure, but challenging and complex are not the same thing.
When We Believe That Something Is Complex, We Fail
Whenever you believe that something is complex, your brain kicks into overdrive.
Instead of taking things easy as it should, it starts going off and not thinking straight because complexity gives it anxiety.
As a result of not thinking straight, you don’t get the results you want.
That said, part of achieving sustainable, long-term business growth is believing that it is simple, not complex. It’s a matter of unlearning what you were taught about growth so that you can finally focus on the fundamental piece of success: sales.
Once I Stopped Making These Excuses, Business Growth Came Easily
These are the kinds of excuses I used to make before I actually started growing my business.
Because I made these excuses I didn’t take action, and because I didn’t take action, I stagnated instead of growing.
Eventually, I realized that the excuses I was making were, in fact, nothing more than cheap cop-outs!
‘It Needs to Be Perfect Before I Get Started’
No, it doesn’t need to be perfect! Not your business model, not your marketing strategy, not anything!
If you continue to tell yourself that you’ll get started once things are perfect you’ll never get started because there is no such thing as perfect.
No matter how hard you try, your plans could always be better, so it’s best to get started before you feel you’re ready and then make adjustments as you go.
Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect, so stop striving for it. Instead, strive for continuous improvement!
At the end of the day, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who get the most at-bats: They don’t wait until they feel they’re ready to step up to the plate. Instead, they go for it right away.
Sure, they might strike out at the beginning, but unlike everyone else who waited to get started, they have the wisdom from having struck out so many times that they end up hitting more home runs in the end.
‘I Don’t Want Prospects to Think I’m Pushy’
As you know, sales growth is central to business growth, and cold calling is central to sales growth.
But what’s the key to successful cold calling?
Easy, it’s consistent follow-up. More often than not, prospects do not answer on the first try, so following up until you get them to pick-up is absolutely crucial!
Unfortunately, most CEOs choose not to follow up with prospects because they don’t want to look either pushy or desperate.
However, this is just another excuse to not take action!
Until a prospect tells you that you’re pushy and desperate, you have no reason to believe it. If you back out to avoid looking pushy, you’re just making an excuse.
‘There’s Only One Shot to Be Successful’
How often do you tell yourself that you only have one opportunity to slay your business growth plans or develop the best organic growth strategy ever, otherwise everything will fall through and life will be over?
Not only is this dramatic, but it’s another excuse not to take action, because when you tell yourself you only have one shot, you try to make things perfect before making any moves.
However, like I already said, there is no such thing as perfect!
The hard truth is that most successful CEOs have experienced many business failures before finally getting a win. Yeah, they might have lost a bit in the short-term, but they learned from those short-term losses and used them to leverage a winning long-term business plan.
‘My Competitors Have Advantages I Don’t Have’
I’m sure that there are people out there who have advantages that you don’t have.
Whether it’s previous business experience, connections, or a business degree from a prestigious university, I’m sure that there are plenty of people who have advantages that you don’t have.
However, why should the fact that other people have advantages you don’t have stop you from taking action?
What does giving up because somebody else might have an upper hand in ONE area do for you?
Not only that, but the hard truth is that there is always going to be somebody out there who has some advantage that you don’t have.
There were even entrepreneurs at one point who had certain advantages that Elon Musk and Steve Jobs didn’t have. However, they didn’t use that as an excuse not to take action.
‘I Need to Get More Experience’
Want to know something that’s extremely underrated these days? Beginner-ship.
Being a beginner without a lot of experience in a particular field is EXTREMELY underrated. Not only is it underrated, but it’s also usually seen as a disadvantage when it’s actually an advantage.
What makes beginner-ship such an advantage?
When somebody has a lot of experience in a particular field, they usually adapt themselves to the social norms/unspoken rules of that field.
However, beginners to a new field on the other hand are totally oblivious to those unspoken rules. Because they don’t know these rules, they’re willing to put themselves in situations that others who are more experienced might not.
For example, a beginner at a new company will go talk to potential customers in person because it makes the most sense while somebody who is more experienced might feel this is off-limits due to certain unspoken rules.
Moreover, beginners are usually fearless while people with more experience often hold themselves back. Instead of not taking action over lack of experience, embrace beginner-ship to grow your business.
‘It’s Too Risky’
Being able to assess risks and determine which ones are worth taking is critical to business success.
However, as a business owner, you’re never going to be able to avoid taking risks 100% of the time. At the end of the day, certain risks are inherent in growing a business and running a business in general.
Before choosing not to take action because you deem a situation too risky, take a step back and ask yourself if it really is too risky or if fear is just getting in the way.
I suggest consulting a CEO coach to help you run an analysis of the situation. A coach can give you an unbiased analysis of the situation to help you determine if the risk is worth taking.
‘Timing Isn’t Right’
Here’s the thing about timing: There are some people who do get lucky with timing. For example, they start a new business, and then the next day there’s a sudden extreme increase in demand for their product/service thanks to some unpredicted event.
However, those are extremely rare circumstances, and they’re often unpredictable.
For most CEOs, though, there is no such thing as the “right timing.” By that, I mean that there is no such time as the perfect time to start growing their business.
The truth is that there’s ALWAYS going to be some time force working against you: one day there’s a recession, then the next day your clients aren’t paying you; there’s just no such thing as perfect timing!
If you sit around and wait for the timing to be perfect, you’ll just end up disappointed because things usually only get more difficult as time goes on.
Instead of waiting for the “right time'', make the time you have right now work for you.
Most importantly, you never know how much more time you have left to grow the business of your dreams.
Final Thoughts on Excuses We Make That Hold Us Back From Growth
Now that I don’t make these excuses anymore, I take action. Because I take action, my business grows when I want it to!
Back when I was making these excuses, I thought that business growth was complicated. Now that I don’t make them anymore, I realize that it was the excuses themselves that made growth complex!
How much longer will you make these same excuses before taking action?
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