Let me guess. You began your small business with a bottomless pit of hope, enthusiasm, and energy, right? You were downright unstoppable. Then, one day you woke up and realized that “it” should have happened already. You and your business should have already “made it.” Perhaps you’re running out of capital or maybe your passion for your business is fizzling fast. Whatever the circumstance, it’s time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if you want your business to have an iota of a chance of taking off in spite of your utter faithlessness and negativity. That’s right; it’s time for some tough love. Brace yourself because with all due respect, here are the top 10 reasons why your small business is failing, and they’re all about you:
1. You Blame the Economy.
So the economy has seen its better days, it’s true. But, guess what? You don’t have the power to single-handedly change that. The only choice you have is to accept it. That means one of two things—you can roll over and take the beating or stand up and fight back. You may not be able to save the world, but you can save your own business. It just means you have to work harder and smarter than ever before. Tall order? Yes, but that’s the price of success these days. Deal with it.
2. You Blame Other People
There’s nothing worse than a leader who can’t take responsibility. That’s sort of the definition of being a leader after all. If the people on your team aren’t doing things to your liking, then it means you either hired the wrong people or you didn’t train them properly. The key word there is “you.” Stop blaming others, and focus on righting the ship.
3. You Can’t See the Forest
Business owners who can’t see the forest for the trees are so busy working on the small details within their business that they have little time or energy left to work on the business. Take “detail-oriented” off your resume and start delegating the small stuff so that you can focus on the visionary aspects of your business, like where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc.
4. You Can’t See the Trees
If #3 doesn’t describe you, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods entirely. Oh, no. Big-picture people like you often go overboard. If your head is in the clouds all of the time, or if you’ve failed to properly delegate the “menial” tasks of managing day-to-day operations of your business, then you’re still missing the mark, and believe me, your business is suffering for it.
5. You’re a Control Freak
Entrepreneurs tend to think they’re right a lot. They also tend to be real go-getters. Often their motto is “If you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself.” Not so fast, though. You may be a business owner, but you’re not a super hero, and you can’t do everything it takes to run a successful business on your own. Even you have limitations, so stop trying to do it all and learn how to lead others.
6. You Do What You Want
You finally have your own business. No more working for others, so you can do what you want now, right? Sure, if you want to fall flat on your face. Even if your business is based on your passion (and let’s hope it is), there will still be things—and lots of them—that you have to do to run your business that you won’t really enjoy doing. In fact, these things will be mind-numbing, anxiety-provoking, and torturous. Do them anyway, or accept your inevitable failure.
7. You Waste Time
Oh sure, you stay at the office all day and work tirelessly through evenings and weekends on your business. You pride yourself on being a workaholic. But, let’s be honest. How productive are you, really? Rationalizing 8 hours a day on Twitter in the name of networking isn’t going to cut it anymore. Let’s just leave it at that and focus on finding a time management tool to help you prioritise the really important tasks you’re responsible for carrying out each day, week, month, etc.
8. You’re Arrogant
You feel self-entitled, and you think you deserve success. Even worse, you don’t listen to your team because you think your ideas are the only good ones. It’s time to open your ears and roll up your sleeves. You won’t make it alone, and you won’t make it without working your ass off. Period.
9. You’re Insecure
Think you can’t be arrogant and insecure at the same time? Think again. Underneath that big head of yours is a tiny little voice that’s constantly telling you that you’ll never make it. To combat that gnawing feeling of impending failure, you overcompensate with pseudo confidence. Instead of talking a big game to everyone around you, start talking yourself up in your own head. Your team and your ego will thank you for it.
10. You Can’t Make Decisions
You’re super smart, which has a lot to do with #8 by the way, but your thoughts swirl through your head at lightning speed. Instead of flowing in a logical pattern, they spin into chaos, making every decision excruciating. You can see the pros and cons of every choice so clearly, and you spend precious time arguing with yourself over trifles. Get yourself a team of consultants and learn how to call the shots. You’re in charge, remember?
As you can see, you have a lot of faults as a small business owner. It’s because you suffer from the incurable and terminal condition called being human. There are treatments available, of course. The question is—will you make good use of them and climb the ladder of success in spite of yourself, or will you wallow in self-pity all the way to the poor house? The choice is yours.
Elad Admon is a results-driven management consultant who assists organizations to develop and implement new strategies and business processes. He thrives on helping clients solve difficult strategic and operational problems through innovative approaches and robust analysis. Elad is also a board member and co-founder of The Next, one of Australia’s largest communities for young professionals and entrepreneurs. Connect with Elad on LinkedIn and Twitter
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