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01.28.2019

Growth  |  3 min read

The Silent Killer of Many Small Businesses

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Clate Mask

Inside of every business owner, a mental war is raging. On one hand, the business owner is optimistic, believing she will be successful. On the other hand, the business owner is being hammered with discouragement and self-doubt. Paying too much attention to either voice kills more businesses than anything else.

You can’t be successful if you’re overly optimistic, ignoring the realities you face. 

You can’t be successful if you’re discouraged, allowing self-doubt and negative feedback to take you out of the game. 

So how do you avoid this silent killer? 

Practice “disciplined optimism.” Scott and I write about this in “Conquer the Chaos.” It’s one of the key mindset strategies for small business success. 

In a nutshell, disciplined optimism means you must maintain an undying belief you will be successful in achieving your business goals, while at the same time confronting the brutal facts of your current reality. That’s a mentally challenging thing to do, but it’s what successful entrepreneurs do every day. 

Now, here’s the secret: Learn how to take all of the brutal facts and turn them into the data, insights, and motivation to be successful. When you do this, the “negativity” is actually the raw material for success. 

The complaining customer who flames you on social media? That’s someone who cares, wants to be served and is able to help you figure out how to improve so you can hit your goals.

The disappointing business results of the month? That’s data pointing you in the right areas to learn, grow and change so you can hit your goals in the future. 

The skeptical on-lookers who just know you won’t make it because you’ve never done this before? Well, for me, that’s great motivation to prove them wrong and demonstrate that my passion and will to succeed are the ingredients needed to find success. 

Look, running a small business is hard. But if you face the brutal facts while maintaining an undying belief in your success, you will succeed.

SBS Idea of the Day: Gather encouraging pieces of data, stories, and customer comments so you can review them when you need a pick-me-up. Use them as a reminder that what you’re doing matters and you will be successful.


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Infusionsoft is now Keap. That’s weird to write, but it’s also exciting.

In 2001, trying to get Infusionsoft off the ground, there were many times when I wanted to quit. I’ll never forget my wife, after two years of struggling to survive, hugging me and saying, “Keep going.”

Over the last two years, we’ve talked with thousands of small business owners to get a deeper understanding of their unique challenges in today’s market. We learned that it’s harder than ever to succeed in small business. Customers expect more. On-demand is the rule. There’s no shortage of platforms on which to complain. A failed job or two can be damaging to your business.

Keap is our signal to the world—and to ourselves—that it’s time to make it easier to succeed. We’re on a mission to simplify growth for millions of small businesses. Our new name is a nod to the tenacity of the small business owner and encompasses everything we know to be true when it comes to success: keep going, keep serving, keep growing.

Along with a new name, we’ve expanded to two products. Keap, our newest product, is smart client management software that helps service businesses progress leads to satisfied clients. Infusionsoft by Keap is powerful CRM and sales and marketing automation software for advanced business needs.

Both are designed to make it easier than ever for more small businesses to get organized so they can deliver great service and close more business.

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To your success,
Clate Mask
CEO + Co-Founder