One thing entrepreneurs need to stop doing today.

In the spring of 2003, I got my first paying client. I think I was paid $5k for something that today I wouldn’t do for less than $100k. I, however, thought I had hit the jackpot. I dropped out of school, credit carded a new iMac and got business cards. I was in business.

Since then I have had the privilege of working with thousands of small businesses around the US. I have been intimately involved in the launch of more than 100. I have noticed one thing that plagues the mind of entrepreneurs. It drives them mad. It captivates their energy and sucks it dry. It is this: that there is one simple thing missing holding them back, and usually, it isn’t them.

They usually say something like, “If I can just…”, “If the market would just…”, “If my business partner would just…” This “just” word. It implies there is an “only” or a “simple” solution. The problem is “no more than” this one thing.

“If I could only/simply…
…Figure out Facebook ads…
…Have a better ad…
…Get my website launched…
…Get someone hired…
…Get a loan…
…Find funding…
…Have more hours…
…Get in front of the right people…
…Find people who understand…
…things would be better.”

This is horseshit. If there was truly only one issue in the business or you got to only choose one it is YOU. Beyond you, there is a laundry list of issues. You are removing the responsibility for your inability to operate by oversimplifying it on something other than you. THIS IS YOUR ISSUE. You cannot abdicate your role.

Still reading?

What if you owned your challenges? Framed them up right. What if you maintained a list of things that need improvement to have better results instead of blaming one thing? And what if you systematically tackled that list?

One of the first things I ask a new potential client is, “Why isn’t this business more successful?” If I hear any answer other than, “Me. I am holding it back,” then I walk from the deal. Clearly, they are not in charge and they don’t know who is so I don’t know who to talk to that is in charge. Nothing will ever move forward. And it will end up being my fault in the end because nothing is their fault.

“Just” is a dirty little bastard. It minimizes whatever follows. It hides the speaker’s lack of confidence and ability by redirecting focus and making it almost a passive issue. Quit using it.

And guess what, “just” isn’t even the issue. It’s your lack of vision. You don’t know what you want and you don’t want to be where you are. But you aren’t behaving your way to that end. You say you “just need higher sales,” but how many minutes a week are you really presenting your product or service to someone who can make a purchase decision? A recent HubSpot survey found that salespeople are only spending 35% of their time on average selling. And these are people whose position is dedicated to selling. If you are a solo-preneur or have a small team then my guess is that you have even less time allocated for sales. Sales happen from you selling, not from thinking about sales or researching sales or attending sales conferences.

Recently I started helping my business partner get into distance running. She has an athletic background but no experience with distance running. I was quick to let her know that you train to run by running, not by following hashtags on Instagram or by getting new shoes. Minutes spent running is the best predictor of your ability to distance run. Fortunately, she took my advice at face value, trained hard, and even signed up for her first race within the first 3 months of training. She is running. I do not hear out of her, “I’d be faster if I had just slept better” or “if I just had newer shoes” or “if I just had a running watch.” Nope. She runs. She isn’t blaming something else. Her vision is running a marathon. She is running more and more every day to reach that goal. That’s it. Vision, Goal, Daily Action.

Your business is no different. If you want to sell more then sell more. If you want to be a better employer then devote time to it. If you want more time in your day then make it. The only thing “just” holding you back is you.

Stop wasting time learning how to do better Facebook Ads. Stop trying to set up your website. Replace that time with the exact behavior that will directly lead to you reaching your goal.

Quit using something else as your scapegoat for you not performing.

If you hired someone to do only one thing to drive your business forward today what would they do? Now do that.