Is your business showing these 5 symptoms?

Reality: According to the SBA, 63% of all small businesses fail in the first 5 years.

OUCH! It sounds harsh, but it’s true. And having been in business for over 6 years, I can tell you I’ve seen many colleagues go the way of “have to get a job” in order to put food on the table and take care of their families.

And the sad part, many of those businesses could have succeeded. It’s generally not a lack of ideas, technology is rarely the issue and with the low cost of doing business online, it’s often not money.

The top reasons most small businesses fail are:

1. Lack of vision and systematic strategy — what’s the long-term (you decide what this means) vision for your business and how are you going to get there?

2. Lack of marketing system many business owners spend so much time reinventing the wheel around trying to get new clients that they either burn out or focus too much time on the “getting new ones” and not enough on the “serving existing ones”. Do you have a marketing system in place?

3. Lack of a client follow-up system — once clients are in the door, do you take care of them? Do you practice Extreme Client Care(tm)? Do you listen to them and create the products and programs they’re asking for? Our brains can’t multitask, they “task switch”. . .from this to that and back to this. And, as a result, neither task gets done as quickly, or as well, as if we’d simply focused on one at a time.

5. Doing everything ad-hoc without any systems — while it’s so easy for us to say “I don’t have time to create a system, I just need to get it done now”, truth is, without systems, you’re the one “doing it” all the time — unable to hand anything over to a support team. And this creates something far worse than a 9-to-5 job.

And I’d add the following. . .

* Not having a big enough reason “why” — that “thing” which pulls you forward when you’re otherwise tempted to quit. Hint. . .it’s rarely “money” by itself, it’s usually what that money can do for you/your family.

Make It Real: My Request To You

Review the 5 bullets above and ask yourself — is your business set up for success? Remembering that this is the basis of a successful business, systems and planning will only take you so far, strategic implementation is key!

And for those days when you just “don’t feel like it”, is your “why” big enough, strong enough to pull you forward to accomplishment?

I’m known for a simple statement: “Ordinary things, done consistently, bring extraordinary AND consistent results!”

What ordinary things are you doing consistently?

If you’re unsure or if you feel you’re being pulled in a thousand different directions, wondering what to focus on when for the most sustainable results, go check out my new “From Your Vision Board to Reality: Create Your Best Fall Ever” program now. . . you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

A Strategic Marketing & Profitability Mentor, Sandra Martini (, creator of Escalator Marketing™, shows creative heart-based entrepreneurs how to build sustainable businesses without losing their integrity or their minds.  You can catch up with Sandra on her blog at or Twitter at


How To Find A Great Mentor

By Neen James

A career coach or mentor is a person who can guide you with the benefit of their experience. He or she may be someone more senior from within your organization or someone external to your organization who has been successful in the field or skills you want to develop. The right mentor can help you accelerate career, boost your self-development and improve your working relationships. And remember that a mentor is not only helpful in your career the benefits of having a mentor are relevant to all areas of your life – whether fitness, financial or lifestyle.

Decide what area you want help with. Examine your life and determine whether you want help with your career, your health or your relationships. When you know the area or areas you want to focus on you can begin searching for a suitable mentor.

Who are the top performers? Whichever area of your life you decide to seek a mentor for, find out who the experts are, who does it better than anyone else?

Where’s the hang out? Next, find out where your role models hang out – check out networking events and groups, industry events and conferences – make note of anyone who stands out and has the ‘presence’ you are looking for.

Look into programs. Many organizations now have internal mentoring programs that you can become a part of. If you work for yourself you can investigate Government programs that offer mentoring programs.

Select your mentor. When you identify the person you believe would be a suitable mentor, spend some time watching them in action. Ask around to find out what other people’s opinion of your chosen mentor are and find out all you can about their achievements, beliefs, values and way of operating. This will give you insight into them before you approach them about mentoring you.

Approach your mentor. Phone your prospective mentor and ask to make an appointment to see them. Tell him or her why you want to meet and schedule a time. It is important that your interactions are professional and show respect for your prospective mentors’ time. This demonstrate that you are committed to doing the right thing.

Have an agenda. When you do meet, have an outline of what you would like to discuss. Your agenda should include why you want them to mentor you, for how long and what you hope to gain during that time. If they do agree to mentor you, you can then work out how you can support them too – this should be a two-way process.

Make an agreement. If you both decide to proceed, set up an agreement with guidelines about how your relationship will work and what you both expect from each other.

Contributed by Neen James, a Global Productivity Expert.  More about Need James at

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