11 Deadly Excuses That Are Killing Your Business Right Now

by Gabe Arnold

Excuses are the killers of good ideas, businesses, and relationships. The real problem is that often times we aren’t even honest about the excuses we use. When you can face the truth and identify your excuses, you can start to knock them out one by one and begin to find real success. See if any of these stand out to you and start eliminating them for yourself and your team.

Excuse #1: I don’t have enough time

Last time I checked, you have 1,440 minutes each day, just like me, just like the president, and just like Mark Zuckerberg. So clearly it’s not a matter of having enough time.

It must be the choices you’re making about how to use your time. If you’re honest, you’ll realize that and start making different choices. You have plenty of time. Start making new choices.

Excuse #2: I’m not good on the phone

Is that the reason you’re not making cold calls? Is that the reason you’re not reaching out to vendors and asking them for help and partnerships? Is this the “reason” why you aren’t calling customers to solve problems and resolve issues?

Just a few weeks ago I spent time on the phone with a support representative from one of my favorite ecommerce companies Bigcommerce. This young man had a stutter. Yes, he was on the phone support team and he has a stutter. But you know what? It doesn’t stop him from providing great support. It’s actually a real pleasure to work with him because he is so helpful and has such a good attitude. If you’re one of the 1% who stutters, then I applaud you for your persistence. I face a similar challenge myself in a different developmental area, so I understand.

To the 99% who don’t stutter – please stop believing whatever excuse you’ve dreamed up about how you can’t be on the phone. Just do it.

Excuse #3: I can’t find good help

Ok – so Apple, Walmart, and McDonald’s have all figured out how to put out a high quality product and staff their stores consistently. Each has different requirements for the level of employee that they need, but they all get it done.

I haven’t heard them complaining about how they can’t find good help. What’s different about how they are recruiting?

They have a system. That’s what’s different. If you’re not finding good help there are only a few reasons why this could be:

  1. You don’t have a hiring system
  2. You aren’t consistently working the hiring system you have
  3. You haven’t made recruitment a constant activity

Stop using the excuse that you can’t find good help. Start creating and working a system consistently. Stop making excuses.

Excuse #4: I’m not very good at sales

So that’s why your business is stagnant? Because you’re not “good” at sales? Let me tell you how sales works:

  1. You identify a possible market
  2. You collect a list of leads
  3. You contact the leads (at least 10 times, but usually 20-30 times over the course of a few months or a year)
  4. Then you start the whole process over again
  5. You work on sales every day

Sales has almost nothing to do with talent and everything to do with consistency and discipline. You don’t have to be “good” at sales. You just have to do it every hour and every day. Sound good? Stop making excuses and just start being consistent.

Excuse #5: I’m not creative

So you’re not creative. That’s why your product is failing. That’s why your marketing campaign is falling flat. That’s why your blog is flat. That’s why your email newsletters don’t do well.

Please, please, please stop with the stupid excuses.

You aren’t creative because you don’t study the masters in your industry. The classical painters learned to paint by copying the masters before them. You can become a master creative as well. All you have to do is stop making excuses and start studying people that are better than you at what you want to be creative at.

It only takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something – so get to work. Good news is that when you reach the 2,500 hour mark you’ll be really really good compared to your peers who aren’t trying.

Maybe you’re not naturally creative – but you can start copying good work and learn the tricks. So start there. Copy everything you see that you like. Copy everything you see that works. Copy something, copy some more, and then when you’re sick of copying, copy even more. That’s how you’ll learn to be creative. Got it?

Excuse #6: I’m not a good writer

So this must be the reason why you haven’t sent that email yet, or written that sales letter, or send that private message to the influencer that you need to reach your next goal. That’s a good excuse right? You need to hire a professional copywriter, but you don’t have the money, so that idea has fallen flat as well.

Let me tell you about being a good writer. All it takes is practice. Just write every day, all the time, when you need to, when you want to, when you don’t want to, and when you don’t need to. Just write. Got it?

Don’t make excuses. Just write it and then read it out loud twice. Correct your mistakes and send it. Move on. A poor attempt is better than no attempt at all.


Excuse #7: I don’t have enough money

This may seem like a legitimate excuse, but sorry, it’s not. It’s total bullshit. You probably don’t have enough money because one of the other excuses in this list is stopping you. If you don’t have enough money:

  • See #1 and make better choices with your time, this is the first money waster
  • See #2 and start making cold calls until you find the project, a job, or raise the money
  • See #3 and delegate work so you can focus on #1, #2, and #4
  • See #4 again
  • See #5 and get creative with your messaging
  • See #6 and write more cold emails and sales letters

Ok after you’ve cut out excuses 1-6 make sure to go back to #2 and start making calls until you find the truth. Just be honest with yourself. You may be scared, you may be feeling lazy, and you may be making poor choices with your time. Those are all easy mistakes and excuses to fall into, but they are killing your business.

There is plenty of money out there for you. I promise you. I know first-hand how both sides of the equation work. Just be honest, face your fears and get to work. The money will come.

Excuse #8: This or that employee isn’t doing a good job and it’s holding us back

Ok, you may think that’s a good excuse, but sorry it’s not. Here’s why:

  • If you’re the boss you get to fire them! Set them free into a better career. Stop chickening out
  • If you aren’t the boss or even if you are, you get to choose to provide better training to that employee so their performance can improve
  • You can also step in and help them do part of their job until they pick up the necessary skills or move on

This is not a valid excuse, so stop using it. You do have the power to change the situation no matter what level you’re at. Step in and make something happen.

Excuse #9: Our technology isn’t good enough

Yes you need good technology, you need to invest wisely every year and improve your tech in our very digital world. But sorry, that’s not an excuse either.

You own a phone right? You have an email account, correct? Start using those religiously to cultivate new opportunities and you’ll find the money to invest in new technology.

You don’t need a brand new website to be successful. You need to be consistent and aggressive. Don’t let the excuse of an old website, or any “old” technology stop you. Get out there. Get at it. Make it happen.

Excuse #10: My team isn’t good enough to handle it

This might be true at the moment, but it’s not a good excuse. You can change this.

  • Do more training
  • Replace weak team members
  • Don’t fear failure
  • Increase prices so you can afford more learning and more staff
  • Make the team stronger. It’s your team

Instead of hiring weaker members who don’t intimidate you, start hiring rock stars that are smarter and stronger and faster than you. Make your team everything it should be.


Excuse #11: It’s too hard


Stop saying something is too hard. Just admit that you are scared, or that you are being lazy about it, or that you haven’t practiced something enough.


Please, please, please start being honest and stop making excuses. These excuses are killing your productivity. They are killing your business. They are killing your sense of reality.


What Now?


Start taking action. Start knocking out those excuses one by one and facing them head on. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be worth it when you get to the other side of things.


Step up. Be brave. Make something happen.

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