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The Alternative Board Blog

Experts Advise: How to Break Small Business Bad Habits

Jul. 16, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board
One Word for Confused Strategy

"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them," says John C. Maxwell, a well-known author of several New York Times best-selling books on leadership.

When you dedicate yourself to building a small business from the ground up, you expect some ups and downs, especially during the startup phase. Even the most innovative spirit and creative products cannot protect your business from management failure. External factors like limited cash and financing roadblocks can play a significant role in a new business, but internal factors — namely poor habits — often derail the entrepreneurial dream.

Small business experts advise owners to examine their personal management style and operating behavior for clues to overcome failure to thrive syndrome.

Delegation Dilemma

According to serial entrepreneur Jeet Banerjee, failure to delegate limits your growth potential. It is impossible to do everything successfully unless you are planning to stay small and serve a handful of customers.

Find an employee you can trust to assume responsibility for some aspects of management. You can still review production progress, customer service responses, and sales figures and step in when you find something that seems out of line with your business plan.

Failing to Plan for Emergencies

Reinvesting revenues to grow your business should be part of financial goals; however, establishing an emergency fund is essential to sustaining financial health. Natural disasters, fire or personal illness can all derail your business plan. Without a rainy-day-fund to cover your expenses during recovery, your business could fail.

Consult your accounting to determine the best amount to set aside. Business credit cards are one option to respond to sudden cash flow issues caused by emergencies.

Want additional insight? Download Hiring a Business Coach for Your Small Business now 

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Ignoring Employee Retention Rates

Low employee retention rates are a signal of bigger problems. Low morale, inconsistent leadership styles, faulty training, and many other factors sabotage team building within any organization. Cross-training employees is one way to mitigate rapid turnover rates until you can establish a better program that ensures employees are fully trained to perform their jobs with confidence.

Seattle business owner Nathan Kaiser told the National Federation of Small Business, failure to focus on team building is a failure to focus on growing your business.

Multitasking Errors

According to TW Walker, author of "Superhero Success" (Breakthrough Media Network, 2012), wasting time on social media sites and continually checking email take valuable time away from focusing on business activities. Rather than monitoring online communication throughout the day, Walker suggests scheduling social networking time and limiting email review to two or three times per day to increase your efficiency.

Running a business is both challenging and exhilarating for most entrepreneurs. If your business isn’t growing at the rate you think it should be, take a look at your management style and operating behavior. Making some minor adjustments by replacing bad habits with good ones can turn sabotage into success.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

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Written by The Alternative Board

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