4 Mistakes Business Owners Make

strategic planning management, strategic management, planning process, swot self analysis, self analysis, test emotional intelligenceLet’s get to some core issues that stunt professional development and growth!

Over the holidays, I encountered four (4) people that said things that disturbed and concerned me.  I want to share them because we can all learn from these.  Here are four (4) mistakes that business owners make:

1.       Reluctance to look in the mirror and Self SWOT

In November, I gave a lecture to a group of business women in Macon, Georgia and shared it online in about 50 Facebook and Linkedin groups I belong to.  The emphasis was on planning for 2014 by doing three (3) things: (1) self SWOT, (2) SWOT of your business, and (3) planning sales activities.  A SWOT is simply an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  You plan activities that increase strengths and opportunities; and decrease weaknesses and threats.

Several ladies shared with me in December that they conducted their Self SWOT.  They were excited about it and said that taking the time to reflect and write things down was very revealing, somewhat uncomfortable, but good for them overall.  But, one lady contacted me and said she was going to share the worksheet with her clients.  She said she was lucky and was very successful; and had been assessed to death.  She did not see a need to do a self analysis.  She implied that she did not need to self SWOT.

Well, the fact is we all need to take a look in the mirror.  The key word that stood out with this lady was “luck”.  Perhaps her success was merely by way of luck.  This type of success is fleeting.  Business owners should make improvements in the way they think and operate so that business growth and success is sustainable.

One lady said that she had been in business for a long time since the early 80s.  Her tone implied that she did not need to plan or self SWOT because she had it all figured out.  Perhaps she felt she had arrived.  Well, again, that’s the wrong attitude.  No matter how successful you are, planning and assessments can help you grow and be even more successful!  Even Richard Branson believes in business strategy and planning.  He believes in having detailed and realistic legal, financial and operational plans.  The SWOT is not lengthy or formalistic.  A lot of folks are reluctant to take that closer look because it might be uncomfortable or painful.  But, it could help them grow their business and grow as a professional.

2.       Not believing that everything you do is based on the choices you make.

Someone posted on this quote on Facebook:

“Everything you do is based on the choices you make.  It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame.  You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.” – Unknown

I shared it with folks in my network because I absolutely believe it’s true.  Well, one fellow texted me angrily stating: “no way, you don’t honestly believe that”.  He simply does not want to believe that his circumstances are caused by his choices.  He wants to blame others.  For example, it’s been 40 years, and he blames others for not attending college.  He also has substance abuse issues and intimacy problems.  I suggested that he get professional help.  He is angry and would much rather continue to blame others and his age rather than to face the fact that it’s his choices.  It far easier to deflect and point to others rather than to look inward!

3.       Wanting others to rescue you.

One business owner announced at a trade meeting that she lacked clarity and needed guidance on what to do with her business.  She has made this announcement several times.  She mentioned having low sales and urged others to help her get people into her store.  She pauses and waits for the others to rescue her.  The bottom line is that our businesses are our responsibility.  We can certainly reach out for advice, mentoring, and coaching. But, at the end of the day, the choices we make on what to do to grow are our choices to make.  No one can make those choices for us.  It is not the responsibility of others to rescue your business.  They don’t have to and they likely will not – – especially when they have their own house to man.

Women in particular have a bad, bad habit of looking for the knight in shining armor to appear and whisk them off into utopia.  We need to cut to the core of the apple.  If our sales are low, we need to get advice on how to get more people interested in our products and services.  If we need sales and marketing training, we need to get sales training.

4.       Sinking into a deep depression over the many, many bad players in our world

It takes maturity to get to the point where you do not care about the bad players.  We can simply choose to love or not love them at a distant.  They are not going to go away.  This is plain and simple.  Here are two (2) sayings that help me keep the right attitude about the bad folks that try to stunt my growth and happiness:

  • “Blessed people always bless people, and hurt people always hurt people.” – Unknown


I heard this on a gospel radio show.  Here, when someone tries to hurt me or my company, I simply feel sorry for them.  I focus on what I can do, not on trying to change them.  I do not need their validation.  I do not need to win them over as a friend.  I need to focus on my next move; what “I” can do.  I can move “my” feet to get away from them, my mouth, my ears to tune them out or to listen, my hands…  I cannot move “their” feet, mouth, ears, or hands.

  •  “Every loving thought is true.  Everything else is an appeal for healing and help regardless of the form it takes.”  – Helen Shucman


This is similar to the quote above.  Again, I feel sorry for them.  They are reaching out for healing and help because they are hurt.  They are hurt and miserable, and misery loves company.  It’s your choice how you react to the bad, bad people – whether they are your competition, enemy, jealous counterpart, family/friend member who wishes you ill or does not help, or whatever.

It’s childish to stump your foot and pout and shout that “he hurt me” or “he doesn’t want to play with me” or “she doesn’t like me” like a two year old.  When I was in elementary school, kids called me miss goodie two shoes and the teacher’s pet.  I faced jealous kids and I still face that crap today. I’m nearly 50 years old now!  My mom taught me to ignore them.  Ignoring them was not enough.  It helps me to understand that they are hurting.  This is part of having emotional intelligence in business.  So, I get over it and put it in the proper perspective.  Do not let how others treat you make you lower your standards and values or make you quit on your dreams!

Be sure to let me know if you agree or disagree with these!

Also, what famous quotes do you live by and help you focus on your self-growth?


By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.



Written by

Clovia Hamilton is an entrepreneur with 30 years of professional work experience as an adjunct biz law & ethics professor, university technology transfer specialist, engineer and planner. Clovia is a licensed patent attorney and completed an Executive MBA at Wesleyan College. Her next pursuit is a Phd in Mangt and she supports The Phd Project, American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Women in Public Policy (WIPP)! Clovia has trained hundreds of business owners since 1999 when she began to assist the Univ of IL in Champaign with faculty high tech start ups. She has also assisted hundreds of small biz owners by training them on how to get government grants and contracts.

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