Episode 29: Stop Treating the Symptoms

Why Small Businesses Fail: And How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t!

Want to know why small businesses fail? One of the biggest reasons has to do with a recent injury I was dealing with:

For 18 months, I was in critical debilitating pain. It wasn’t constant. But, when it came on, it was INTENSE. And, for someone with a high tolerance for pain, this was a BIG. DEAL. In those 18 months, I was seen by several specialists and countless tests were done that all came back normal. I was given a treatment plan for the symptoms that I was experiencing.

This got me thinking. I see something very similar in business. Entrepreneurs struggle for years. They bounce around from one course, or one coach to another and try every single tactic promised to get that end result they want. But they too are simply treating symptoms. The thing is, the symptoms are easy to spot, but the root causes go way deeper.

Symptoms That Cause Small Businesses to Fail

“I don’t know how to grow my audience.” 

“I don’t know what to talk about.”

“My sales calls aren’t converting. 

“I don’t have enough time.” 

Then they say: 

“I tried a webinar, and it didn’t work.”

“I tried a challenge, Facebook ads, crafting a beautiful Instagram feed… but none of those worked.”

They didn’t work because you’re treating a symptom and not the cause. Treating symptoms doesn’t actually get rid of them permanently. They’re quick fixes. A band-aid, even. But in reality, it’s hard to know the difference. Sometimes, the same issue can be one person’s REAL problem and just symptoms for another person. You’ve got to figure out which it is for you: the root cause or a symptom?

What Causes the Symptoms of Failing Businesses?

What are your business struggles? 

When you really think about it – does the problem need to be solved or is it a symptom? If it’s a symptom, what could be causing it? List it out. And then decide if your struggles reveal a need to work on your strategy or your mindset.

Let’s look at an example. If you decide to go live but you’re not sure what to talk about in your business, it could be strategy or mindset as the root cause.

Strategically, you may not know your audience well enough or aren’t sure what content works best on a specific platform. On the mindset side, you could be questioning the value that you provide and your self-worth. You may be afraid of success. Or, you have limiting beliefs like this common one: 👉 “Who am I to teach this topic?” Some people think they need a strategy when the mindset is really their missing piece.

I encourage you to look at the patterns when the symptoms remain and talk to someone. Talk to someone who is really going to listen, and dig deeper into the issue with you so you can achieve bigger results in your business.

Need some inspiration? Hit play and tune in to today’s episode to find out how determine the symptoms (and their root causes) that are causing your business to struggle.

P.S. I want to hear from you. So tell me: Are you treating the symptoms?

 

For 18 months, I was in critical, debilitating pain at times. It wasn't constant, but when it came on, it was intense. It was the kind of pain that was the wake me up from my sleep kind of pain, the ball up in a fetal position on the floor of your 9 to 5 job kind of pain, it was seriously intense. And I should add that I have a very high tolerance for pain, so this is a big deal. And over the course of 18 months, I went to the ER, was seen by several different specialists, had countless tests done, all of which came back normal. It made me think that I was crazy, that something must be wrong, but no one could figure out what was wrong. So I was given treatment plans for the symptoms that I was experiencing. Thing.

 

Now today, I wanna talk about how that relates to business because in business, I see the exact same thing. I've seen ladiepreneurs struggle for years, bounce around from 1 course to another, from this coach to that coach, and try every single tactic promised to get that end result that they want, but they too are simply treating symptoms. The thing is that they present symptoms. We don't go into it presenting the deeper root cause or the deeper issue, and this is in business and life, oftentimes we don't talk about what's really deep down causing whatever we're facing. We present the surface level symptoms. And in business, that might look like, I don't know how to grow my audience. I don't know what to talk about. My sales calls aren't converting.

 

My audience isn't engaged enough. I don't have enough time, and on and on. And then they say, I tried a webinar and it didn't work. I tried a challenge Facebook ads, creating the most beautiful Instagram feed, etcetera, etcetera, of course, it didn't work. You treated the symptom and not the cause. You're presenting and treating a surface level problem even though the real cause is so much deeper. You see treating symptoms doesn't actually get rid of the symptoms permanently. They're quick fixes sometimes or a Band Aid, maybe providing some temporary relief.

 

But here's the thing. It's hard to know the difference. Sometimes, same issue can be 1 person's real problem and just a symptom for another person. We've all gotten really good at talking about our deeper problems, our deeper issues in our business and presenting with surface level issues, you've got to figure out which it is. Is it the root cause, or is it a symptom? So I want you to think of something right now. What are you struggling with right now in your business? Is that the real problem? When you really think about it, is that the problem that needs to be solved, or is that simply a symptom? And if it's a symptom, what could be causing it? What could be causing it? It could probably be a variety of things, so list them all. Write them all out. Let me give you an example.

 

If someone comes to me with a symptom of, I don't know what to talk about, for 1 person, they quite literally don't know what to talk about. They're getting ready to do a Facebook live and they have writer's block for what to even jot down to to discuss. But for someone else, that's just a symptom. And there are lots of possible causes, both from a strategic side and a mindset side. Strategically, some root causes might be things like they don't have a thorough understanding of their target audience and their pain points and their desires. Maybe they have no strategy on their next step and what they want this content to lead to, because if they knew the next step, that would help reveal options to lead straight into that. Perhaps it's a lack of positioning, maybe it's a lack of focus, maybe they're just unfamiliar with a certain platform. And so strategically, it's a simple fix to explain how that specific platform works.

 

On the mindset side, however, it can be a lot of things as well. Telling me that you don't know what to talk about could actually mean that you're questioning the value that you provide and we need to work on your self worth, maybe your self confidence is in question. Maybe you have a fear of getting visible, and that could be for many reasons. Even that has deeper causes. Maybe it's a fear of success, a fear of getting vulnerable. Maybe you have limiting beliefs like no one wants to hear about what I know. Who am I to teach this? There are so many deeper issues, and this is why I offer both business strategy and mindset. Some clients actually come to me for strategy.

 

They think that that's their problem. But then the mindset work ends up being where and how they make the biggest strides. I've actually had clients say, I came to you for the strategy, but the mindset work has been my favorite. And the thing is that when strategy is the problem, it's often a more straightforward fix. It might take some trial and error. It's going to require some testing and tweaking, and that's often where we start until we see a pattern, a pattern that no matter what we try strategically, we're still not getting the breakthrough. And so I encourage you to look for patterns. Where are the overlaps? And then talk about it.

 

Talk about it with someone who knows, who's been where you are, they're gonna know what they're looking for, talk to someone who's really gonna listen to everything that's going on and not diagnose a quick fix based on 1 symptom, talk with someone who's going to dig deep with you. Because here's the thing. Once I opened up to someone who would really listen to everything going on, I had a colleague say to me that it sounded like I was dealing with endometriosis. Now I had no clue what that was at the time, so I researched it and studied it. And I went back to my OB GYN, after going to so many different specialists, I realized, okay, if this is what it is, I need to go back to my OB GYN. And I told her everything, and I emphasize everything, that had been going on, I didn't just share some symptoms. I gave her the full picture. And I didn't suggest to her that it might be endometriosis, I simply shared everything that was going on and knew in the back of my mind that this is one possible diagnosis.

 

Now without me suggesting it, after I shared everything, she brought it up. Now endometriosis isn't the kind of thing that you can diagnose without surgery, so it took the diagnostic surgery to actually confirm it, and then we decided on a treatment plan. Long story short, I am now completely pain free, I don't deal with it anymore, and it's because we finally treated the deeper issue. Now a couple of notes that I wanna share that I experienced but that relate to business as well is that the treatment itself wasn't pain free. It's not easy when you dig deep. It takes some work. I actually ended up having to have a hysterectomy. After months of treating it otherwise, we kept that as a plan b option because my first choice wasn't to have a hysterectomy.

 

Obviously, that's painful in the sense of the physical pain going through that recovery, it's a major surgery, so the emotional pain that comes with no longer being able to have kids, so it wasn't pain free. It's not gonna be easy when you dig deep, but that's what will actually solve the problem for good. And for me, it was a decision that I made that was worth it once the symptoms finally disappeared, and business, once you treat that final issue, that underlying issue, that cause, it will be worth it.

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