7 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Small Business Without Even Realizing It

May 05, 2014 - Joe Matar

Everywhere you look, you’re bombarded with advice from other entrepreneurs on what you need to do to really make it in business.

But did you ever stop to think about all the things you need to stop doing? Business owners give a lot of advice (advice they’ve received themselves at some point or another) that can actually distract you from moving forward.

Here are 7 things you need to STOP doing right now if you want to get anywhere with your business. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Stop obsessing about your passions

I know, I know -- all the advice out there these days tells you to build a business based off your “passions.” And while I firmly agree you must love (and be good at) what you do, it can become a little obsessive to try to create a business that lights you up in ALL areas.

Don’t get caught too deep in the passions trap. Find something you care about, and trust that your passion for it will grow. Not exactly sure how to do that? Check out the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You to learn how other entrepreneurs landed in jobs they love (Hint: Skills trump passion.)

2. Stop trying to fit all your interests into one business

If you’re anything like most entrepreneurs, you’re extremely creative and have a ton of great ideas flowing all the time based on your (widely) varied interests and hobbies. And despite your best efforts to try to smoosh them all together, it doesn’t always make for the best business model.

If you’re set on bringing in all your interests, find unique ways to use them in small doses in your business. For example, if you love sewing but you run a web design business, maybe part of your thank you package to clients includes a funky hand-sewn laptop case. You get to exercise all your creativity without confusing people about what you actually do.

3. Stop worrying about your logo

When you’re starting a business, most people’s first step is to get right to designing a logo. But this couldn’t be further from the best first step.

What’s more important than a logo? Getting crystal clear on what you do, and then getting out there and doing it.

All too often, business owners get hyper focused on creating a cool and quirky logo, which only distracts them from actually doing their work.

Nowadays, many companies have moved away from logos anyway and just use great typography. Look at companies like The New York Times and Absolut Vodka. Huge brands. No logos. This isn’t to say those companies didn’t put a lot of effort into their branding (they obviously did), but it goes to show you don’t need a fancy logo to be successful.

Pick a great font, and get to work. If you feel like you need a logo later, you can hire out for design once your business gets off the ground.

4. Stop obsessing over your tagline

Just as they agonize over logos, too many businesses get stalled on choosing a tagline. They want it to be descriptive but also witty and compelling and clever and memorable. No wonder so many people get trapped here!

The truth is that this step is a huge distraction. While there is something to be said for a nice little one-liner that sums up your brand (I even help people create this with BrandBurst), it’s not absolutely necessary to get started. The same goes for picking a job title.

Your tagline can (and likely will) change once you’re more established. So choose something and move on already!

5. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and trying to be different

When you’re in business, everyone puts much emphasis on being different - what’s your USP? What should people care about you, specifically?

When you hear over and over again you need to be different, you may over analyze what everyone else does, taking you away from your own vision and creative process. This stalls you from actually doing anything at all (and usually has you creating a business that compromises your true personality and strengths.)

Put the focus back on what YOU want to do to move forward, which is the only way to succeed.

6. Stop basing your prices on everyone else’s prices

It’s fairly common in business (especially if you’re just starting out) to have insecurities about money. Most entrepreneurs end up pricing their services based on these insecurities. If you’re basing your prices on your competitors’ prices, you might be pricing based on someone else’s insecurities. Bogus, right?

Decide on a price that feels good to you based on the value you provide, and don’t just arbitrarily decide on a price because of what everyone else is doing.

7. Stop wasting so much time planning

Despite how many people will tell you that you need a solid business plan, too much planning can leave you stunted and frozen.

When you plan, little details come up that you didn’t think about. You start to prepare for unexpected outcomes and worst case scenarios. And for most people, perfectionism starts to creep in.

While a little planning is great (you have to have some idea of where you’re headed), too much planning can lead to analysis paralysis and stop you in your tracks.

Clarity and confidence in business come through ACTION (click here to tweet this), so don’t be afraid to get out there before everything feels perfect.

Doing is a great thing in your business, but don’t forget to pay attention to what you need to STOP doing. That’s usually where the fast-track to success lies. Rebecca Tracey is the head/only honcho over at The Uncaged Life. She helps people flaunt what they've got and get paid for it like a BOSS. She spends a lot of time hanging off cliffs when she’s not on Facebook.