No excuses

by The City Wire staff ( 6 views 


Editor’s note: Michelle Stockman is an independent consultant with her company, Fort Smith-based Msaada Group. Stockman earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University-Chicago in communications and fine arts, and earned a master’s in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. Her thoughts on business success appear each week on The City Wire.

By now, resolutions have faded into memory, old habits have returned and the hopes of truly changing x, y or z are waiting for “I’ll start tomorrow.”

This holds true in business as the notepad full of ideas to implement “immediately,” fades into the files of “maybe tomorrow.” As news of the entrepreneurial growth rate (i.e. the number of start-ups per year) has declined in 2010 for the first time in well over 20 years, one wonders why? Why do we put off what’s important or what’s best for ourselves?

Rather than looking for a full explanation, Dr. Wayne Dyer seeks to uncover the excuses we use that stunt our growth. In his book, “Excuses Begone!,” Dr. Dyer seeks to show how much we rely on excuses each day in business and in our personal lives. He notes that we rely on excuses to protect us from our fear of failure and success.

However, Dr. Dyer writes “the business of modifying habituated thinking patterns really comes down to tossing out the same tired old excuses and examining your beliefs in a new and truthful light.”

Common excuses that I have heard from individuals dreaming about starting a business include:
I don’t know where to start
I wouldn’t like working from home
I need a bank loan to get started
I want a grant to start
I can’t leave my current job until “x”

Common excuses many small business owners give to me as to why they are not growing their businesses at the rate they should include:
I need more financing (or I need venture capital)
I can’t (fill in the blank)
I’m not good at (accounting, marketing, sales, etc.)
I’m a big picture person, not a details person
It’s a bad economy

Common excuses for avoiding business responsibilities:
My employee was supposed to do “x”
My vendor dropped the ball
I got busy with a customer and forgot to (fill in the blank)
Customers just ‘aren’t’ supporting us
It’s a bad economy

It seems that rather than face the shortfalls and obstacles that stand in our daily lives, we have continued to make excuses for ourselves (remember Adam and Eve in the garden). Those who overcome the daily need to avoid fears and prevent success are the stories that fuel award winning books and movies. They are the men and women who can climb Mt. Everest, and they are the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the world. They are also the Craig Pair’s and John McIntosh’s of Fort Smith.

Putting your excuses behind you and charging after your life, your business, your family, etc. is not easy. However, the more you try, the more you will see success from your efforts. We all know the old adage, “practice makes perfect.” It is true and it needs no excuses to get in the way.

In the age of information, there is no reason why an aspiring, struggling, growing or slowing business cannot overcome the obstacles around them. There is an abundance of assistance to small business over the internet and within the state.

Entrepreneurs need to stop waiting for “one of those business incentives for economic development” to fall into their lap. Rather, push the boundaries until you attract other states to beg for a piece of your company.

Stockman can be reached at