Struggling Business? Perhaps the Problem Is You!

Written by Jan Griffioen

No doubt, the current economic climate is tough and many smaller companies are struggling to survive, let alone grow.  This is the time where business leadership is demonstrated.  Are you willing to accept that perhaps you are the reason your business is not flourishing?

Consider these attitudes that could be impacting your business:

Thinking you have all the answers
You don’t ask for input from your employees or your customers.  You don’t solicit ideas or suggestions.  You’ve got it all figured out.  You think nobody can offer useful advice.  Well, if you’re so smart, why is your business struggling?

Not asking questions
As the boss you’re supposed to know everything, right?  You think asking questions is a sign of weakness.  We wouldn’t want to admit to ourselves and the people around us that there are things we don’t know, would we?

Start asking questions, not to ‘test’ your employees, but with an open mind and to get real input.  What you find out might just surprise you.

Trying to do it all alone
Your ego may prevent you from realizing that business is a team sport.  No one can do it all by themselves.  It takes a broad range of skills and expertise to make a business operate smoothly and prosper.

Realizing that they can’t do it all, successful business people surround themselves with the best people.  They’re not afraid to hire employees who are smarter than they are.  They work with business advisers who can offer a clear, objective perspective.  It takes a lot of different skills, talents and experience to make a business successful.

Not accepting other ideas and opinions
Do you allow your managers and employees to speak up if they have concerns or, heaven forbid, if they have a better idea?  Or do you make it clear to them that different opinions are not really accepted.  Perhaps you pretend to listen to them, and then you do it your way anyway.  The result is that your employees will never volunteer their ideas again.  Will that make your business more successful?

Being indecisive
Meeting after meeting, you talk about the issues, but you never take a bold decision that could help move your business forward.  You’re risk averse to the point that it has paralyzed your decision making.  Rushing to judgment and shooting from the hip is not a good way to make rational business decisions either.  But being indecisive, afraid to make a wrong decision will not get your company back on a growth path.

Most founders of small businesses achieved initial success due to their ‘can do’ attitude and their single mindedness.  But now their businesses have reached a point where team work, frank discussion, sharing authority, careful business planning and accepting input from others is necessary to move the business forward.

The question may not be whether your business is ready, but are you ready?

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2 responses to “Struggling Business? Perhaps the Problem Is You!

  1. Need an outside view of your management style.

    Establish your own B of D. It really was a moment of clarity for me.

    You think the Google guys (Sergey and Larry) have not benefited from some great advice. How many remember how Steve Dell created his little computer company stating with $100 in his garage. Both great examples of an independent business people that had a dream and carried it through.

    You know these folks now have great advisors and proven business professional ensuring their success.

    You can too!

    Your BOD will be ceremonial not the traditional format you might associate with a fortune 100 or a Bank. BUT your BOD can be as effective. The members of your BOD should be 2-3 people your highly respect, Not family or Staff but someone you know has been extremely successful and you would like to pattern your business success after.

    Share with this group.

    You will invite your BOD to your 1st meeting and present them with a framed certificate and you buy the lunch or dinner.

    The agenda of your Inaugural meeting should promote great discussion and connect the group immediately.

    Capturing the experience in this group will be invaluable.

    This is where you grow.
    Take their feedback and create an awesome business.

    “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”
    Jimi Hendrix

    • A Board of Directors can be a great sounding board and source of advice for a CEO. Many companies have Boards that provide valuable insight and direction. The companies they serve are better of for it.

      However, in order to establish a BOD and benefit from their input a business owner needs to be open minded and aware that they don’t have all the answers. A CEO reluctant to embrace advice from others is not very likely to create a BOD in the first place. And that’s the point I wanted to make. A BOD can only be as effective as the business owner wants them to be.

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