Do you have a bratty biz?

Is your business running you, or are you running your business?

My worst parenting fear - for years - was to have a bratty kid.  Whiny.  Demanding.  Expecting to get their way ALL the time.  They'd run circles around me. 

Is your biz running circles around you?

Is your biz running circles around you?

Now that my daughter is 3 (I still can't believe it!), I have realized that bratty behavior is either allowed or not allowed by the parent, me.  As a parent, if I say yes to every request, she'll expect to get her way all the time.  I get better results with:  "After you do this thing I want you to to but you probably won't do on your own - brush teeth, wash hands, clean up - then you can do this thing that you want to do - play with different toys, take a bike ride, watch your favorite show on TV."  She does what I want, then she gets what she wants.  If she doesn't brush her teeth, then she doesn't get to play.  Even if the tears come (hers, not mine) - and they do - she has to brush her teeth before she can play.  I have to stand resolute against all her avoidance techniques.  And stand firm in my position that she needs to brush her teeth, even if after 20 minutes I'd much rather move on...  

Nobody ever said parenting was easy.  

Same goes for keeping your business out of the Brat Hall of Fame.  If one goal of parenting is to raise happy, well behaved children that can play well with others, the goal for your business is to help your clients and make money while doing it.  Here's how bratty behaviors can show up in your work:

  • I want to play NOW.  Ever get sucked into social media, thinking you just needed to check one quick thing, just for a minute?  Then you fall into the rabbit hole of posts and tweets and comments.  All of sudden, an hour has passed and you haven't done any money-making activities.
  • I don't want to wash my hands, I want to do something fun.  What profitable phone call or email have you been putting off so that you can get more time for fun (but not profitable) things like cleaning your desk, going thru emails, etc.  Not that these things are fun, but we do feel a sense of accomplishment when we have a clean desk or inbox.  Accomplishment is not the same as profit.  
  • I want to eat candy in the living room while watching TV.  This is a major no-no in our house.  Food stays in the kitchen, TV is off when we're eating.  And candy?  No way!  Simple ground rules for your business can often get overlooked when you get busy.  Rules around the timing of sales calls, creative time, and so on, need to be enforced (by you!) in order to help your clients and make a profit while doing so.  What we want to do isn't always what we need to do in order to have a successful business.

How to nip these bratty behaviors in the bud?  Go from reactive to proactive mode.

  • Set Boundaries - with email, social media, when clients can expect a response from you.  Use a timer to keep you from going down the rabbit hole.  You'll get more time to spend however you want.  
  • Consistent follow-up or follow-through - Create a system for handling certain tasks in your business.  Create standard checklists to keep track of all steps in your interaction with clients.  Intake paperwork, access to files or websites for support, and so on.  Same goes for keeping track of open leads and how you follow up with them.  
  • Celebrate the victories - It's not easy working for yourself, and the to-do list is never-ending.  Take a look at your DONE list, and see how far you've come.  Celebrate with a quick walk, chat with a friend, or your favorite cup of tea.  Positive reinforcement works wonders!

What do you struggle with, and how have you conquered bratty behaviors in your business?  Please post a comment below.