5. you’ve got the answer for everything
There’s a bit of ego that comes with running a business. After all, if you were smart enough to figure out how to launch this company in the first place, surely you’re smart enough to figure out how to design a logo. Or manage your finances. Or tell everyone else what to do. Unfortunately, the more micromanaging you’re doing, the more harm you’re probably doing. Entrepreneurs know the things they excel at, and outsource the things they don’t. The most successful entrepreneurs do only the things that only they can do. Anything else can almost always be outsourced more efficiently.
What to Do About It: Get out of your own way. Think about those tasks that take you far too long to do, or result in shoddy work (that logo that took you 18 hours to design still doesn’t look as good as what a professional could have done in an hour), and outsource it. If you’ve got staff, trust them to do what you hired them to do. If they aren’t doing it correctly, fire and re-hire. Focus on what you do best: running your company.
6. you can’t handle growth
You started small and didn’t expect to burgeon overnight. Just ask any business that’s ever been the recipient of the “Oprah Effect” or even the “Groupon Effect” and then had a flood of sales the next day: rapid growth isn’t always a blessing. If you’re not prepared for the strain your servers will experience, the number of sales to process, or the flood of customer service calls, you risk seriously harming your brand’s reputation.
What to Do About It: Overall, rapid scaling should be a good thing, but you need a plan to quickly hire more staff and train them, as well as how you’ll manage more website traffic, phone calls, and customer service requests. For a great read on scaling up properly, see “Eleven Lessons For Scaling Up.”
7. you don’t have business savvy
While it’s not imperative that you have an MBA to start a business (or even a college degree), a solid understanding of finances, management, marketing, leadership, and sales will take you far. If you’ve mixed your personal and business finances, have trouble managing staff, or are just throwing your hands up at running your business in general, your risk of failure is multiplying by the minute.
What to Do About It: Consider whether you truly want to be an entrepreneur. Many business owners start a business because they want to “do what they love.” That’s respectable, but without a CEO that knows how to run a successful business, any business is doomed. And to be honest, many business owners get far away from the actual thing they love doing once the business takes flight; focus shifts from fulfillment work, and toward running the business. If you’re committed to sticking it out, invest time in classes, workshops, and resources to beef up the skills you’re weak in.
Take these as warning signs that things need to change for your business. Then start making changes that will positively change the direction your ship is sailing. Have you successfully recovered a failing business? What were the warning signs? Leave a comment and let us know!