Ever wonder why your brilliant friend, who is a business owner, seems to run and run and never get anywhere? Week after week you see her get defeated, deflated and ultimately depressed that her business is not in growth mode. ‘She’s so smart,’ you think, ‘but it’s like she’s working for free just to keep her doors open!’. Well, there are a few reasons that even the smartest owners don’t move forward.
- Failure to Plan: Most business owners, even the ones in large companies, fail to properly create strategies, actions, and ownership around the truly important things in their business. So, in businesses like these, growth is flat or slow, team members do not know how to connect their work to the strategies of the company, people are more focused on being busy than creating true value for both the company and its clients, and leadership is not thinking beyond the day-to-day or the week-to-week. Enormous value is created when companies create vision, strategies, and actions to back it all up and the entire organization benefits.
- Failure to fail: By this, I mean a failure to ACT. Many CEOs and business owners are people who are used to being exceptional at what they do. They do not like doing things at which they are not fantastic. I am one of these people so I know! But the best business owners ACT and refine after each action until they create something truly differentiated in the market. They lose the fear of their actions not being perfect the first time out. Real leaders need to act and encourage their teams to act, even if they fail, and the innovate with each failure (or less than stellar action).
- Failure to create a business model that is profitable: Many business owners just hope that their offerings will be bought by clients and that it will all work out in the end. This is not a good strategy and leaves a ton of value unrealized. The truly successful know exactly what each product or service is really costing them to provide, what the market will hold as to price, and how to differentiate themselves in their desired market. These barometers need to be re-assessed REGULARLY as well.
- Failure to put their team to highest and best use: People being under-utilized or wrongly utilized, including the CEO herself or himself, is another common problem. Each person must rise to the occasion, know exactly how their actions reflect the vision and strategies of the company and be able to show progress regular on the actions they own. This is especially true of the CEO. If you are not an expert in marketing, don’t do it. If you aren’t the best at sales, don’t do it. Put yourself and your company in the best position to succeed, and do what you are truly great at.
- Failure to see changes in the market: Once you have been in business awhile and started to succeed, it is easy to want to just get comfortable in your chosen market and just ride that success out. Well, it doesn’t work that way. Your clients are changing, their challenges are changing, and YOU are changing too. You must assess how all these changes are affecting your current business and how they can be giant opportunities for the future of your business. The best companies always do.