10 Ways You're Killing Your Own Business

Agustin Avila on Oct 20, 2015 7:00:00 AM


There are a lot of ways you may be killing your business, no matter how great you believe you are at it. Even if you're doing everything right, now might be a good time to sit with a big plate of humble pie and figure out where you can do better. Killing your business can be a slow, all but invisible process if you're always entrenched in "doing, doing, doing" mode.


There's an old saying that when you do a bunch of things, you do none of them well. Multitasking comes from "looking busy," which only works for employees at huge companies. You do not have this luxury, so stick to one task at a time.

Not Producing Enough Value

There are a lot of ways you can produce value. Many businesses go out with the mindset of "getting rid of" what they produce or trying to get money from others. A more successful strategy is to provide so much value to individuals or companies that they come to feel like they need you. When you have that, you will get money -- and they will be happy to pay for what you offer.


Do you have a good idea for improving your business? If you don't, start brainstorming right now. If you do, get to work investigating its logistical consequences and building your implementation plan. Fortune favors the decisive. Are you hunting down higher profits and lower expenses, or are you getting preyed upon by the competition and an ever-changing market?

Too Many Meetings

Are you having a meeting because you want to get new opinions? Is your meeting dedicated to finally closing a major deal? These are great reasons to have meetings, but they don't come around as often as the main reason people hold meetings -- to sate their egos. There is no place for ego in your business, as every deal and every dollar is something you must earn. Be awesome, and let your team be awesome -- in your own separate company-related pursuits. Meeting more than once a week within your company is just a waste of everyone's time.

Not Leading By Example

Are you setting an example that you would follow? Think back to when you had bosses you directly answered to. Do you find yourself emulating some of their best traits while bringing in your own, or are you trying to rule like a petty dictator and expecting a level of respect that you don't deserve. If you're gutsy, get one of your most trusted employees drunk and ask them to do an impression of you. The truth hurts, but lying to yourself can kill your business.

Ignoring Customer Needs

The entire idea of capitalism is to give the people what they want. If you aren't listening and responding to your customers' needs, they will soon find someone else that will. Nothing contributes to killing your business as quickly as acting like your customers are an entitlement that wants precisely what you're offering. Instead, do not be afraid to dramatically alter what you offer or how you offer it if your target customers begin to show signs that you're not doing what they need or how they need it.

Not Giving Your Business Plan a Chance

When you sat down to write your business plan, you were most likely a bit more naive and probably made some assumptions that ended up not being true. This is okay -- the startup phase of any business is going to present some surprises that you can adapt to. However, if you find yourself essentially ignoring your business plan due to the convenience of doing so, you are short-changing your previous work on the plan and acting like a crazy person. Your business plan is a guide to systems, and without systems you'll literally be making up the rules as you go along. This is inconsistent and unfair to your employees and your customers, as well as being a waste of your time.

Leaving Cash Flow Unguarded

How much cash do you need to keep your business afloat through dry cycles? How much are you reinvesting into the business? How are you following the old maxim to "pay yourself first?" 

Allowing Chance to Build the Team

Is your team composed of people you know who might work, or people you know will work? This is an important distinction, as you want the best team possible. Your job is to make them millionaires, and their job is to make you a billionaire. Do not settle for less.

Repeating the Same Mistakes

Every time you make a mistake you've made before, you make yourself look foolish and you lose opportunities. Record how you solve given problems, learn from your mistakes and make your business that much stronger with your expanding legacy.

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