I love lists. I like bulleted lists, the kind that are set in a shaded box, the ones I write on those postage-sized Post-Its, even the ones in my head. Lists simplify so much in life and, quite frankly, without them I would be lost. So that should explain why I like author Louis Barajas’s “22 Temptations of a Small Business Owner” from his useful, easy-to-read, and right on target book, Small Business, Big Life: Five [a list again; I love that!] Steps to Creating a Great Life with Your Own Small Business.
One of the appealing aspects of his book, on the whole, is that he presents things as they are; you know, warts and all of that. It’s refreshing, actually, to read something that speaks the truth so clearly. And that’s probably what I like so much about the “22 Temptations.” These are important, because they’re what pull people off track. He’s specifically addressing entrepreneurs, but anyone really could benefit from his temptations. Barajas suggested that you post the list somewhere nearby. If you do that, however, please be sure to jot down his name at the bottom of the list. It’s only fair. Of course had I written the list I might have begun with the temptations of chocolate, but that’s another story. So, here we go:
1. Tempted to start a business just because you know how to do something (create jewelry, bake a better pie, etc.). I once started to make jewelry, because writing just seemed way too taxing at the time. Boy, did I have it in reverse. I sold to boutiques but found that I was making jewelry way into the night. Not fun…
2. Tempted to start a business without a business plan and without life and business blueprints.
3. Tempted not to begin with the end in mind. (That sounds a little ominous, but it’s smart.)
4. Tempted to work longer and harder to overcome business challenges.
5. Tempted to hire people whom you like and who are exactly like you (if you’re guilty of this one, I’m guessing you’re not alone…)
6. Tempted to bring in unnecessary partners (sometimes two or more is really a crowd you cannot afford to accommodate)
7. Tempted to control everything (if this is you, admit it)
8. Tempted to be everything to everybody (this could compromise your immune system and then you’re no good to anyone)
9. Tempted to strengthen your weaknesses. This one seems sort of counterintuitive, right? Wrong. Barajas makes an excellent point: “Every study shows that if you focus on your weaknesses all you will have are stronger weaknesses. You need to focus on and continuously strengthen your unique God-given talents. Don’t try to cure your weaknesses; it’s easier to delegate or manage them while your focus instead on making your talents bloom.” Managers, take note.
Next time: the rest of Barajas’s temptations.