While most people will list money as the number one problem, I have seen that there are many other unseen dangers that small business owners do not see that can contribute to a small business in trouble.
- 1. Pride in the wrong places: You want and need pride and passion to open and keep your business running. The problem is after awhile the pride starts to relate to everything that is involved in the business. Some examples are when you are fighting with the staff for the best chair in the office because I am (God) the owner of this business. I have also seen owners force the employees to work with old software or tools or anything because by Golly, it’s the only one the owner knows and they are not changing a sure thing. Those are just a couple of examples I am sure you know more. They are just petty arguments and usually ego is involved more than resolving real issues. There really is a difference of how you feel when you use foolish pride and healthy pride. It goes something like this: foolish pride will keep you stuck, dogma, you will feel like you are treading water and getting nowhere. Healthy pride makes you feel happy and free, like you really accomplished something, you want to show everyone, you have met your goal and it was successful.
- 2. The horrible habit or reputation of “working too much”. Most small business owners will go on and on and on about how many hours and days and weeks they have been slaving away. And how they have never, ever, been able to take a day off even though their family and even themselves have had health emergencies, or even if it seems inconsequential as a little league game championship. They wear this like a badge of honor. When your business is new, yes, but after 6-12 months, no. You do not look like a saint or a great business owner because you are always minding the store, you look like someone who can’t get their business to run properly and that you are an inefficient manager.
- 3. Thinking that friends and family members should work for you for free or for very little compensation or barter. It may not be apparent right up front, but small businesses have ruined and created more fights with family relations and friendships than the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. When you first open the business and everyone is excited to help you out, take their help and make sure you thank them and treat them kindly. But, after that, don’t just assume that your husband, wife, children, other relatives, or best friend are as interested or passionate about this business of yours as you are. And certainly don’t hire the “I just quit my 9th job this year” brother in-law who hasn’t found a job that he can relate to in 10 years, you will not be doing him favors or yourself. The problem is that you really won’t see the toll that this business deal takes on relationships until years later when it is too late.
- 4. When you get hooked on going to sales/motivation seminars and you really think “Man, this is it” The answer, well, maybe and maybe not. Now, if I just keep getting this guy/gal tapes and their books my business is going to skyrocket. And when it doesn’t work you just keep finding new prophets to follow. Don’t get me wrong, some of the speakers have some real good advice and you can learn from them, but people really can also get into the bad habit of using this as an excuse as to why their business failed them and now it is going to succeed or they also can get hooked on the adrenalin found at these “revival motivational shows”.
Now this list is just my opinion as I have worked with many small businesses over the years, from start up, to out of business sales I have a lot of other ideas and you will probably see more on some of the other articles I am writing.