Do you suffer from the deadliest business habit, one which can potentially ruin your business?

As a small business owner, especially if you’re it…the CEO, the PA, the coffee maker, the social media manager and cleaner, it is really, REALLY easy to make decisions based on a nasty little habit where you have learnt to filter out all the stuff you don’t want to hear and think won’t work, filter in what you think will work in your business, and hear without truly listening.

Not listening. 

The single deadliest habit a business owner can have.

Recently I was speaking to a small business owner in Australia, who has been operating their retail store for well over a decade, and is an absolute expert in their industry.

They work a LOT of hours each week and are NOT getting the results they want in business and life.

During this time, they have seen a lot of change on-line with the increase in on-line shopping, eBay, and other social media channels.

They see the value of social media, digital marketing, an active website and having an on-line presence with a return on investment, any small business would love to have.  With that said, they also fear this change and wonder how in the heck it is going to work for them.

I could hear the headaches and the heartache of getting their head around the technology, of the mind blowing numbness of not knowing how it works and worse, not knowing where to start in every sentence.

The thing is, when we caught up, it did not matter what I said, or what ideas we came up with to get more out of their business and discuss a viable actionable plan, giving them the results they want, all I heard was …’yes but’.

The ‘Yes but’ giving way to fear and frustration, leading to…well, nothing, inaction at it’s best…NOT listening to what is going on around them.

You may have heard this kind of behaviour yourself… a sentence which usually starts with…

Yes, but…

…which means EVERYTHING prior to those two little words has been ignored and filtered out.

This particular business owner wants desperately to have an on-line store complimenting their bricks and mortar business, desperately wants to be known as an expert in their industry.

Yet, continues to justify why it won’t work, why it makes no sense…listening without hearing, hearing and not listening to all the things they don’t want to hear, and only to the things they agree with.


I believe it lies in the underlying problem of fear…. fear of failing, fear of looking like an idiot to their competitors, fear of wasting their time, fear of not having all the answers.

Or worse…justifying this fear by thinking they are doing the ‘right thing’, righteously telling one and all it won’t work in their industry.

Steve Blank has developed a great theory on how this works.

The theory examines the difference between motion and action.




Let’s take those who want to write a book.  After speaking to hundreds and hundreds of business owners over the past few years, there are a lot of people who have ‘that thing’ inside their head, the one they want to achieve in this lifetime. For this example, writing a book.

You have brainstormed the book, you know what you want to write, you may h