Many entrepreneurs fall into the same cycle. Working their fingers to the bone just to keep their heads above water. No exercise, no healthy food and no time for their family. If this sounds like you, then you are indeed in the trap.

CHASING YOUR TAIL

Popular entrepreneur and author Barry Moltz coined a phrase to describe these tendencies: the Double Helix Trap. It works something like this: You work as hard as you can, focusing your efforts on servicing your clients, but then sales drop. You’re busy servicing clients, after all, not selling. So, then you do everything you can to boost sales. You network like mad; you call prospects; you do everything you can to book more business.
But then, since you are selling, you’re not making money. You need to do the work to make the money! So, you shift back to servicing clients and not selling. You’ve fallen into the trap!

SELF-EVALUATION TIME

Luckily, believe it or not, there is a way out of the trap. All you need to do is ask two simple questions, answer them honestly and then take two simple actions.

Every 90 days, ask yourself, “What’s working?” List all the things you’ve been doing over the past three months that have been making you money. Whether they’re specific market techniques, specific high-spending clients, specific services that are bringing in profits or anything else, they’re worth tracking. Once you identify what’s working, you now need to amplify it.

But this is only half of the equation. The other half is to ask yourself, “What’s not working?” List everything that is bringing you and your business down. Afterward, you have two options: reduce and eliminate it as quickly as possible, or find a way to change it so that it gets into the working category by the next 90-day evaluation.

TRUSTING THE SYSTEM

Obviously, this 90-day time-frame analysis system is not scientific. And I’m sure there are a million arguments out there stating why some things need several years before hitting their peak. But the point is that a lot of parts of your business can be evaluated every 90 days, to great benefit. Those questions are definitely worth asking.
And once you do ask them, you’ll ask yourself why the heck you didn’t stop that a long time ago, and you’ll get started on more of the good stuff a lot sooner!

MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group. He is also a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!” For more information, visit www.mikemichalowicz.com.