By Cliff Ennico
Ah, summer. A chance to lie on the beach, do some camping or outlet shopping, and . . . do some “big picture” thinking about where your business has been and where it’s going.
Getting away from the day-to-day grind and distancing yourself from your business actually helps you run your business better. I find that when I’m not spending my day answering phone calls and e-mails from clients and my mind is free to wander I often come up with some pretty darn good ideas. I also see lots of things I may be doing wrong.
Here’s something to think about: are you trying to kill your business? I’m serious. Some business owners are their own worst enemies, looking at the world in ways that almost guarantee failure down the road.
If you really want your business to fail, here are 10 surefire ways to do it.
1. Look at the world the way you want it to be, the way you think it ought to be, or the way your schoolteachers or professors told you it would be – not the way it really is. Believe people when they tell you your idea is terrific, and don’t listen to “negative nellies” who criticize you. Don’t be “cynical” because nobody likes cynical people.
Believe everything you see and read in the news media. After all, they’re professionals, so if they’re saying something that contradicts your personal experience, they must be right and you must be wrong.
2. Don’t be aggressive in pursuing your business goals. Spend lots of time researching and thinking before you take any action, and be so nice to your competitors and your customers that they walk all over you. Being pushy and demanding (especially of yourself) is not normal, and people will think you are crazy, antisocial, or, even worse, “ruthless”.
You should worry a lot about what other people think about you – after all, as Willie Loman says in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”, success in life is always about being popular.
3. Choose a business because it is interesting; you are an educated person and must use that education to be successful, or else you are a failure. Never mind that many successful people in business never finished high school (or in some cases grade school).
Given the choice between a personally fulfilling business and a lucrative one, choose the former. The personal satisfaction you will get by being creatively stimulated all the time, and/or knowing that your daily suffering and sacrifice is helping to make a better world, are far more important in the long run than paying your bills.
4. Don’t bother to learn anything about accounting or financial management, and never measure your results. You can hire accountants to do this for you, and success in business doesn’t really depend upon the numbers anyway.
5. Go it alone; because it is your business you must do everything yourself. Do not bother even getting started in business until you are comfortable you can be your own lawyer, accountant, engineer (or designer), marketing and financial expert.
A visionary is worthless if he or she can’t master every little detail of the business. And detail people are worthless if they cannot appreciate the strategic vision of the business. Strive to be both a visionary and a detail person.
6.Give away lots of stock in your business to everyone you know – it doesn’t cost anything, and isn’t it better that lots of people have a piece of the action?
7.If you learn something about your business that will give you a competitive advantage, tell the world about it, especially at an industry conference or “networking” session.
8. Choose a business that requires skills, money, other resources or a personality that you do not currently have. You can always get these from other people. Besides, isn’t that half the fun of small business – doing the impossible?
9. Confuse your business and your personal lives – don’t bother distinguishing the two because you are simply too busy. Actually, what are you even DOING going on a vacation? Bring all of your technology along and check it every few minutes. If an employee is “watching the store” while you’re away, text him every hour or so. You can never trust these people, and they will never develop if you don’t ride herd on them every minute.
10. Forget what it was that made you want to start a small business in the first place – in the long run it doesn’t matter what success means to you as long as you’re successful. If you even have the time to think about your personal goals, you aren’t working hard enough.
I see businesses fail every day because the founders have adopted one or more of these attitudes. If you find yourself agreeing with any of these statements, make a commitment to change your thinking. Now.
Cliff Ennico ([email protected]) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2015 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Follow him at @cliffennico.