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28 Punches That Cause Black Eyes in Business

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blackEyeChamps don’t take punches they can block or avoid. With good form, discipline, and training, Champs elevate their game at all levels.

Champs rarely get knocked out.

So, what about those black eyes we keep getting as hard fighting Entrepreneurs?

It’s from taking avoidable cheap shots with poor form, bad training, lack of discipline and being unfocused. That’s what causes those black eyes in business.

When you are a scrappy and ambitious upstart, you do the time and the hard work to stay in the ring. You survive your way to success. You train and work through the challenges, you begin to see growth and victories. This creates the illusion of being a champ.

But this does not make you a champ, merely a fighter.

Where real victory comes from

The champ has a comprehensive understanding of what creates victory. A real champ knows the today’s victory is the result of weeks, months, even years of intentional actions.

And a great champ in business looks less and less at the victory itself and more and more with the struggle within. The champ knows conquering the struggle one-by-one results in victory. These victories are the real wins that matter, because conquering at this level is true elevation, not luck, windfall, or brute force.

The opposition within your business

Are you a champ or just a scrappy fighter? Are you focused on the victory, or the things blocking it?

Are you getting black eyes from things you should be overcoming instead of enduring?

Understand what causes struggle and you’ll know what’s preventing your greatest victory.

Here’s some common sources of unnecessary black eyes. Address these and see new levels of success in your business and go from a fighter to a champ.


The lifeblood of the business is its customers yet many businesses struggle to know them, serve, them, keep them and get more of them!  In fact, businesses often:

  • Do not know who their customer is or how to keep them.
  • Do not know how to serve and multiply their customer base.
  • Do not speak the same language as the customer often using inside terms and jargon instead of clear “what’s in it for me” language the customer understands.
  • Do not know the value of one customer and what that customer is worth in one sale or over the year with repeat business
  • Do not view customers as the priority and lifeline of their business.
  • Inconsistent in their customer development efforts.


As a discipline, marketing is the one function of the business that is specific about driving sales and attracting and keeping customers and should be consistently growing and evolving.  Unfortunately marketing is often the most neglected area of the business.  Most businesses:

    • Do not know how to market and therefore struggle to leverage and use their staff for sales and marketing initiatives and constantly question their customers and business.
    • Do not have ongoing strategic plans for sales and marketing efforts.
  • Do not know how to differentiate, position and build value in the business.
  • Do not have a consistent image, presence, and voice and often use “me too” marketing that’s ineffective and wasteful.
  • Overwhelmed by the sea of available marketing and advertising options available and how to effectively use them.
  • Do not know how to develop and execute meaningful business building initiatives.
  • Do not have the marketing and sales mindset and often start and stop these efforts as activities instead of viewing them as core competencies.


All good marketing results in sales activity and all sales staff should be in harmony with marketing efforts, messages and appeals.  Sales should be a natural extension of the marketing process.  However most businesses:

  • Do not take ownership of sales and align it with their core values and marketing efforts
  • Do not create sales tools that move prospects through the buyers continuum.
  • Do not include a clear call to action or ask for the order.
  • Do not see staff (sales or customer service) as a marketing asset, business builder, or brand shaper.
  • Do not have daily, weekly and monthly plans that work in harmony with marketing to drive sales with follow through.
  • Do not have an ongoing plan to turn cold prospects into warm connections over time.


The most common thief lurking inside a business is the one that looks like an important project, assignment, or initiative that steals time and resources with no positive impact on the business. Most businesses struggle with priorities and often:

  • Do not have a true understanding of how to run the organization to generate expected results.
  • Do not see the important and necessary work around them because they are stuck inside the business, inside the fog of war doing the daily grind.
  • Do not know how to drive innovation or progressive improvement in the business.
  • Do not keep a current pulse on best practices, what matters to their customer, or what drives the business forward.


The backbone of the business is it’s systems and most businesses rush to get their billing systems, employee management systems, and operational systems in place but fail to put sales and customer systems in place.  In fact, most businesses:

  • Do not implement or develop sales systems that understand the sales cycle from beginning to end.
  • Do not implement lead generation systems that use the web and various types of marketing to create prospects, early stage buyers and repeat customers.
  • Do not have a referral system in place resulting in dormant sales simply because you are not tapping into your already satisfied customer base.
  • Do not understand what customer and prospect touch points can and should be automated and where to have direct interaction that furthers the sales or retention of customers.
  • Become indecisive or have a haphazard decision making system and way to evaluate business opportunities, marketing opportunities or sales opportunities.

These issues are not random.

In fact, they are linked together like links in a chain. Most businesses are so busy grinding along and lack the professional and educational disciplines of leadership, sales and marketing that they have not seen the connection. And it’s killing their business!

Champs would see these as little thugs and remove them. A real champ would not allow these struggles to drain power, energy, momentum and impact in their business.

How do these common issues continue to surface up?

The nature of business is the same, but the mechanics and the marketplace have changed dramatically. Same fight, different ring.

If you are dealing with these issues, you have to be more diligent in your business building efforts. You have to fundamentally understand your customer and realize they have more information, more options, and more alternatives then ever before. It’s no longer good enough to just be in business providing a product or service.

You have to more focus and intention with your customer gathering activities (sales and marketing).

You have to elevate your business output because the expectations are rising, the market is full of alternatives and if you look like everyone else, sound like everyone else, and don’t know your customer then you’ll never rise to the top.

A champ rises to the top by overcoming these issues within the business.

(photo credit: Mike Nelson)

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Justin McCullough About Justin McCullough

Justin is a business builder, speaker and author. Over the last 15 years, he has delivered more than 500 critical projects ranging from launching businesses, websites, ecommerce sites, custom apps, newspapers, magazines, books, advertising campaigns, and strategic marketing initiatives. Co-workers, vendors, and clients work with Justin because he listens, clarifies the ambiguous, sets goals, inspires action, and delivers results. Justin is married, the father of two young boys, and Christian. He likes smart people like you!

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