I know that there are a lot of options here. But if you had to narrow it down to just one mistake that is keeping small business owners from reaching their potential what would it be?
Her's one take ....
Before becoming a small business owner most of them are directed by society through schooling and the corporate business world. In both there is orientation, training, a boss (a teacher or a supervisor), rules and regulations, policies and procedures, evaluations; in essence there is a structure they must conform to. They are told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
Then they go into the world of the entrepreneur. There is no orientation, training, rules and regulations, etc. There is no structure. They do not have a boss. Nobody tells them what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Instead of everything being created for them, they have to create it themselves.
Unfortunately the direction they received in school and in the corporate business world is very limited in it's value of helping them to be successful as a small business owner. Everything in school and the corporate business world is based on linear processes happening one after the other. In the entrepreneurial world things don't happen in a linear fashion and everything is happening simultaneously. They also are responsible for everything instead of just their cubical. This creates confusion and overwhelm to the small business owner and they end up being in a constant stage of reaction instead of planning.
The difference in being an entrepreneur is that the business is them and they are the business, unlike the corporate world where they are just a cog in the machine.
Those that try to help the small business owner get this situation under control through methods of consultation, etc. usually come from the same background and push the expertise they gained in their cubical in the corporate business world. Again, very limiting.
If there is a silver bullet to how to be a successful small business owner why do we have thousands of books on the subject? Why isn't there only one? Because it's how each author was able to make-it but that doesn't mean everyone can make-it in the same way. Everyone is looking outside of themselves to find the answer.
The answer is inside of each of us. Whatever is going on inside of each of the small business owners will manifest in their businesses. For example, you usually don't find a very disorganized business owner having a very organized business.
Before we went into society, when we were little children, we knew what we liked and we knew what we didn't like. In fact, if someone tried to make us do something we didn't like, we got very upset. We also worked in a way that was natural to us. We didn't have to ask how to do something, we just went and did it.
Then we went into the Borg. Remember the Borg in the TV series Startrek, The Next Generation? The Borg was the gigantic cube that went around the universe sucking everyone into it and in doing so, they lost all of their individuality. That's what happens to all of us when we go to school and the corporate business world.
In the world of the entrepreneur the business owner has to know who they are, why they want to play the game, and why they want to win. They can not hide in a cubical. They have to really dig deep and find what they are passionate about, what really matters to them, where they get their energy from and be doing what they would be doing, even if they won the lottery.
Without this awareness and being able to harness the energy and power from that awareness, they are like a lost ball in tall weeds.
So the biggest mistake they are making is not finding their authentic self. This is not easy to do by yourself. They need to find someone that has done it and can help them as well.
An entrepreneurial business is created from the inside of the business owner out into the business. In a corporate business it is created from the outside in.
"Believe that things will work somehow out... follow your intuition
and curiosity... trust your heart even when it leads you off the
well-worn path... You have to trust that the dots will somehow
connect in your future... The only way to do great work is to love
what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't
settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find
it... Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They
somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else
is secondary." - Steve Jobs, Apple