Why is my small business failing?
If you’re asking that question, you’re already ahead of the pack. At the core of failure is one trait that turns people into losers. That trait is Pride.
Those that win in business, are humble and will seek insight, but fools have no interest in understanding, and only want to air their own opinions.
Great Leaders ask Great Questions.
Great Business Owners have a Team of Sound Counselors.
All of us are implementing and leading something.
Whether we’re leading a small business, a family, a personal development plan, or anything else; we’re living out a plan of some sort.
Whether purposefully or not, we are executing a plan.
I ascribe to the notion that as we go through life, we leave a wake with two sides; tasks and relationships.
All of us leave a wake behind us with two sides, how we are relating and treating people, as well as our ability to get things done. We’re either making a name for ourselves as people that leave others feeling loved, appreciated, and uplifted – or not. We’re also making a name for our ability to execute on our commitments and expectations – are we trustworthy, competent, and committed to improvement?
Something’s Been Bugging Me:
Throughout our days, we’re marked by the work we accomplish and the relational impact we have on others. But something’s been bugging me lately as I’ve interacted with so many business owners, leaders, and people.
What’s been bugging me? Entrepreneurs stuck in self-deception and being hindered by blindspots.
People deceive themselves into believing that their only plausible path is the shortcut or easy way out. Folks often stay stuck in life, because they believe that they have exceptional circumstances which negate the wise counsel and wisdom of an advisor or friend. Excuses abound, and every piece of guidance they hear is rebutted with a “Yeah but.”
Too many people think that they can’t pursue a vision of excellence, because of circumstances or forces outside of their control. This is a lie – we can achieve anything in America through grit, persistence, wisdom and tenacity.
I am a part owner of a bookkeeping, tax, and accounting firm with my two best friends. We help small businesses by serving as their outsourced accountants, and I serve as the consultant and business development partner. Not only that, but I own FeedbackWrench Web Design and Marketing, where we help all sorts of small businesses go from good to great (including other CPA firms)
We meet with dozens of business owners a month, going through our discovery and analysis sales cycle.
We usually connect in person, do an in-depth analysis, implement all projects, and then perform ongoing service and guidance work.
This means that we sit in front of dozens of business owners a month, and get EXTREMELY intimate about their finances, business, family life, and personal habits.
One theme is rising, the difference between those who succeed and those who do not, is an ability to get feedback and insight from ANYONE about the things you care about most.
What separates the winners from the losers? Humility to seek wisdom & feedback about their results concerning things they care about.
Those who are successful, see each meeting as an opportunity to get feedback, wisdom, and insight. They are humble enough to ask each person, regardless of their credentials, prestige, position, or title, for feedback about things. It can be about a business plan, approach, new focus, pricing, personnel, principle, goal or dilemma.
The most successful people I know, seek feedback by framing up the decisions they are making to others, and humbly asking them for advice, perspective, wisdom, and feedback.
A Dad as an Example:
One of the best examples I’ve seen in this is how a good friend of mine, Andrew Johnson, came to a couple of less experienced Dads in our small group and asked “Say, one of my sons has been trying to hide things from Me in a mischievous way, what do you think are some approaches I could try?” For the next twenty minutes, we sat there and talked about possibilities, asked about what he’d been trying, and we enjoyed the conversation. Two things came out of that interaction, Andrew got a more rigorously developed plan to try with his son since three heads worked on it, and he also built deeper relationships with us because he valued what we said, and we experienced his humility.
Business Owners as bad examples:
ON the other hand, I’ve been around multiple business owners lately who are “heads-down” and bashing their heads against the wall as they’re trying to succeed. We’ve all been there, but the losers are those that are too proud, of dimwitted, to seek advice and wisdom.
Many small business owners do things in their business that aren’t optimal, but we’re a loser when we’re self-deceived into thinking that it’s their only option because we’re too proud to get insight and feedback.
Losers come into our offices and show us their operation, which is usually facing a set of dilemmas. Because of our experience and insight, we can usually quickly identify things they should start doing, stop doing, do more of, or change. We can run a SWOT analysis in about ten minutes that shows us what their core focus ought to be, what are the key levers of the business, how their competitors will position against them, some insight about the personal weaknesses they’ll need to overcome, and what the end-game of their industry ought to look like.
Because our teams are gifted at this, we can develop all this on paper in about 10 minutes, with about 95% accuracy. But FOOLS HAVE NO INTEREST IN UNDERSTANDING, THEY ONLY WANT TO AIR THEIR OWN OPINIONS.
FOOLS HAVE NO INTEREST IN UNDERSTANDING, THEY ONLY WANT TO AIR THEIR OWN OPINIONS.
Losers don’t ask “What do you guys think I could do to improve?” That’s the kind of thing successful people do.
That sounded really bland, how about I say it in a more sensational way:
People are often self-deceived and intellectually lazy, never taking time to think “what would a really wise, gifted, and talented person suggest I do instead?”
Conclusion, How to be different:
The most common trait of a loser is having not interest in understanding, relying on your own understanding and never seeking wisdom from counselors.
Here are some questions that I’ve heard great leaders and business owners ask of themselves, I hope they would be good tools to keep in your toolbox as you develop your business.
What would a more wise, gifted, experienced, and talented firm or person advise?
In light of my past failures, what would be the wise thing for me to do?
In light of where we want to be in the next 10 years, who should I get insight from concerning this question?
In light of our current plight, where should I go for insight?
Of those that know me best, who’s advice might be really hard to hear, but most helpful in identifying my blindspots?
What blindspots might I have, and how can I address them?
What do our client’s really experience in comparison to the industry leader?