7 success-limiting traits of some business owner-managers

by: April 13, 2015

7 success-limiting traits of some business owner-managers

When it comes to running a business, you don’t need to be a psychologist to understand that personality matters. Some traits like an independent spirit and a passion for your product are clearly beneficial.  But there are other attributes that could spell disaster for a business. Here are seven attributes that need to be positively managed before any serious damage is done:

  1. Excessive control. Your business is like your baby: you put in all the hard work, long hours and sleepless nights in the early days so you know it better than anybody else, right? This approach is all well and good to begin with but, once the business starts to grow, failure to let other people take on some responsibilities can only result in stagnation. Responsibility empowers, so place trust in your people and give them the space to prove that they can deliver – the results may surprise you.

  2. Poor communicator. Effective communication is essential to a dynamic and successful business. Complaints that staff ‘don’t listen properly’ or that clients ‘ask silly questions’ usually have a common denominator: the owner. Muddled, convoluted instructions are likely to be misinterpreted, while poorly timed messages are easily missed. This is an early wake up call: start listening to your two most important feedback channels: your employees and customers. Take action before any grievances escalate.

  3. Lack of empathy. The boss who believes they’re always right and doesn’t take the time to consider other people’s experience is really missing a trick. There are clear benefits to be gained from organising working hours and operating procedures to make it easier for customers to do business, and caring for what’s important to employees. Some thought about the needs of others, and considering things from other perspectives, will result in more productive staff and happier customers.

  4. Impatience. Don’t we all know this one! Committed entrepreneurs live and breathe their business 24/7 and can struggle to understand why others don’t respond to issues with the same urgency. As long as delays are not unreasonable, a little patience will help to avoid unnecessary stress, whilst freeing up time to concentrate on other matters.

  5. Responsibility for failure. How owners react to setbacks can have a great impact on the future of the business. Those who look for external factors to blame (the economy, customers expecting too much, staff not working hard enough) are falling into a common trap. All businesses hit stumbling blocks along the way to success but good leaders don’t look for somebody else to blame: they take responsibility and look for their own mistakes first. Only when you acknowledge your mistakes can they be put right.

  6. Not asking for help. Whether they perceive asking for help to be a sign of weakness, or believe that they have all of the answers, owners who fail to share the burden of running a business with others restrict their chances of finding creative solutions to their problems. Seeking external expertise to cast a fresh eye over aspects of your business can create ideas and opportunities you would never have otherwise considered.

  7. Fear of the unknown. Innovation in business always comes with risks attached; the foremost being the risk that a new product or marketing strategy might fail. Business owners who are fearful of the unknown constantly look for more market research and more signs that any new innovation will be a success before they finally commit to it. The end result might be that the business is slow to react and misses out on new opportunities.

There aren’t many business leaders who don’t struggle with at least one of these issues. The real trick is identifying challenges before it’s too late and addressing them effectively. 

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About Author

Stuart founded and ran an outsourced logistics provider for more than 20 years, before exiting via a trade sale in 2011. He's since helped several businesses both strategically and operationally. He's a can do/will do person, highly supportive and loves helping make a substantial positive difference to his client's businesses.

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