There are all types of business failures that happen all the time, but there are specific ones that businesses leaders are especially vulnerable to, and they are important to acknowledge and avoid. Not taking care of your own mental health, failing to think about how you really treat the people around you, and letting your ego get in the way can all be destructive forces if they’re not things that you consistently watch. Being a successful leader requires a healthy level of self-awareness.
Here are six common business mistakes that aren’t always the easiest to talk about, but it’s important to have them on your radar:
1. You let your ego get in the way of admitting failure.
Outside of losing a friend or loved one, my biggest fear is about failure, so this is something that I have personally struggled with a ton in the past. However, identifying a business failure early is like admitting that you are dating the wrong person and getting out of the relationship. If you don’t, you could miss out on the opportunity for that perfect marriage … or in this case, business venture.
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2. You don’t put the right pieces on your chessboard.
If I had started Influence & Co. without Kelsey Raymond, my co-founder, I would have failed miserably. She had certain skills that I didn’t have and was able to fill gaps where I just couldn’t perform at the time. As you grow, it’s important to look not only at who you like, but what holes those people are filling. You need to strategically set yourself up for competitive advantage similar to how you would set up your chessboard.
3. You don’t take care of key players.
We are currently in an employee’s environment; there is a lot of opportunity out there, and there has been for a while. Honestly, though, even if that’s not the environment you face, taking care of the people who bring value to you is still the right thing to do. I’ve seen amazing leaders become demotivated because of an owner who takes all the benefit or a boss who takes all the credit when others do the work. Truly get to know your people, understand what motivates them, and take care of them. If their expectations are out of the ballpark, then acknowledge that squarely and try to compromise and set things up for the long term. The alternative is losing or demotivating key players, which can be damaging to the company.
4. You growth hacked your business without putting in things to last.
I’ve seen a lot of companies not invest in their brand at all. They are just focused on quick wins based on some lead source that is extremely successful in the short term but ends up drying up. Because they haven’t thought through how they need to evolve to thrive in the long term, they’re left with slumping sales and a lack of the brand influence that would enable them to ramp up another product.
5. You sacrifice long-term relationships for short-term profits.
People make companies and help them survive over the long haul. However, it can be tempting to do a quick layoff or handle something a certain way to save short-term profits. By doing that, you lose on the chance to create some real loyalty with your people.
6. You value money over your own mental health.
The stress of growth can be taxing on your mental health. I constantly see business gurus screaming “Hustle!” and “Outwork everyone!” But without balance and an awareness of your own mental health, that attitude can take you and your company down a path that is self-destructive.