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3 Big Lies You Tell Yourself

You can't grow your company if your private pep talks include these fictions. Sometimes the truth really will set you free.

As a business owner, you may find yourself having more than a couple of heart-to-heart conversations with your mirror or dashboard as you work through your day. Hey, it’s lonely at the top–especially if the top, middle and bottom of your organization could all carpool to work in one car.

These self-talks can be really healthy. You work out issues, let off steam and come up with ideas. However, some of these messages do damage when they become fiction.

Here are three of the most common lies that owners tell themselves.

1. My company is the best at what we do.

More likely, you are the best at what you do ... for somebody. Not for everybody. Business owners are proud of what they do for their customers, and that pride translates into brand, quality and reputation. But by focusing on a “best at all for all” standard, you may be putting yourself at risk.

Growing your business, is about figuring out customer fit: "Who are we the best for?" By changing the focus of your aspirations from a single standard of superiority (in product, service or solution) to one that also identifies who the value, you can set a more attainable goal as well as declare a brand promise.

2. I have the best people.

Wrong again: You may have the best team for achieving your current results, but you don’t have all of the best people.  No one does. Many sports teams have achieved championships because of the combined and complementary contributions of different players, rather than having the best player in each position.

If you don’t like your current results, however, look at the design. You probably don't need to get rid of all your people–but you may have a problem with what they are doing, how they do it, or who is doing what.

Too often, as small business owners, we either blame all of the results on the people or none of the results on the people. Either extreme can be damaging: You either churn through people seeking unattainable perfection, and believing that the next miracle worker will save the day, or you hold onto people who are holding back the company.

Better to focus on having the right people doing the right things the right way.

3. I am my company’s best salesperson.

Actually, there are a number of other people who are probably better than you at parts of the sales process. Let’s start off with the idea that “salesperson” is not a function, but a title. In that position there are many functional requirements. A short list includes:

  • Prospecting
  • Presenting
  • Technical expert
  • Agreements
  • Proposal writer
  • Closer

You are probably the best at one or more of these functions. But if you want to grow, then for each role where you are neither essential nor best, you'll need to get people who are better than you. And they are in fact out there.

Don't stop talking to yourself. Just make certain that you invite the truth police to the conversation.

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Last updated: Jan 27, 2012

TOM SEARCY | Columnist | Founder, Hunt Big Sales

Author, speaker, and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Searcy's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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