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 For self-employed professionals and small business owners, it’s essential to periodically assess what is and isn’t working in your business, and then to make the necessary adjustments. Because small businesses often don’t have the flexibility of larger firms, this periodic evaluation is even more important for you than it is for larger companies.

A while ago, I realized it was time for me to evaluate which aspects of my sales and marketing funnels were working and which weren’t. I checked my metrics (which I know sounds scary, but metrics can be easy, I promise), and I found out that there were a few points in my funnels where things weren’t going smoothly, and I noticed a few places where my follow-up wasn’t as strong as it should be. What did these shortcomings mean for me and my business? Fewer clients, and less income. So I made adjustments.

Simply being aware of the ineffective parts of your sales and marketing funnels is the first step. After that, it’s time to implement the simple changes that are needed to help get your business on a better track.

Understanding the shortcomings in your sales and marketing funnels is important, but you still have to be able to get out of your own way. This is hard for many small business owners. It’s difficult to step back and view your own business objectively, to be able to tell yourself that the funnel you’ve worked so hard on isn’t working in some areas. It’s easy to see these shortcomings as personal failures, rather than as chances to learn and get better. What you have to keep in mind is that being honest with yourself and recognizing problems is great in the long run. It enables you to take important action, which will make your business much more profitable.

In my work, I’ve noticed that there are two main reasons why business owners fail to examine and implement changes to their marketing and sales funnels:

1. Fear: People fear making mistakes. They fear failure, they fear admitting miscalculations, and they fear the embarrassment that goes along with acknowledging mistakes.

2. Lack of know-how: Being confronted with a difficult problem is a huge blow to one’s confidence. Pretending problems don’t exist is much easier than educating yourself (or receiving education) with regard to the tools that can help you improve your business.

Giving in to fear is dangerous for any small business owner. It prevents action, it stops you from trying new ideas, and it prevents you from making necessary changes to your marketing and sales funnels. As a result, business owners who suffer from fear never give themselves the chance to turn their disappointing results into fantastic profits. Fear prevents action, and the ability to take action is the most important character trait of successful people.

Lack of know-how, on the other hand, is relatively easy to overcome. If you can get past your fear, you’re well on your way. All you need is to solicit the aid of mentors and coaches who can help you figure out how to create and analyze your marketing metrics. Working with an expert is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business. After all, it’s important to realize that we can’t know everything. Even the most successful people hire coaches and advisers to help them deal with the difficult complexities of running a business. Investing in outside help is an investment in yourself.

This Business article was written by Jennifer Davey on 2/9/2011

Small Business Coach and Marketing Strategist, Jennifer Davey, is the author of the “”14-Step Formula for Getting Clients, Building Your Business and Making More Income“”. Watch her training video “”1 Thing You Need to Know to Be Successful at Getting Clients””.