Top 5 Bad Habits of Small Business Owners

Mar 13

Does running your small business feel like an uphill battle? Like many business owners, you’re having a hard time taking your operation to the next level or you’re struggling just to stay afloat. Sadly, you might be the reason why your business is not flourishing because of the bad habits you’ve developed. Perhaps you’re taking on too many tasks or using outdated business practices.

A responsible entrepreneur has to take the time to step back and look at themselves for habits that might be sabotaging the business. Here are five to watch out for:

1. Poor Financial Accounting

Your finances are key to growing your company, but that doesn’t mean that you have to handle it yourself. It’s virtually impossible to run the company and monitor its finances at the same time. Sloppy record keeping, poor billing and collection systems and unfavorable trade terms can hinder your cash flow.

You need to work with a capable accountant or financial advisor if you want to keep your business running smoothly. And contrary to what you may believe, hiring these experts is not necessarily expensive. A lot of accounting firms are now offering packages that allow them to provide better services and value to their clients. But if hiring an accountant simply isn’t feasible, there is also a plethora of affordable accounting software that you can purchase to help keep your business finances on track.

2. Hiring the Wrong People

One mistake that most business owners make is hiring the wrong people. Some employers go for the cheapest ones while others opt for the most experienced. Going cheap might seem like a good deal at first but can be costlier in the long run, especially when you factor in the training they’ll need. Meanwhile, someone with a lot of experience might have an attitude or mindset that’s not right for your team.

When it comes to hiring, it’s better to pick quality over price. Choose someone that really fits into your team and company’s culture. Vet prospective employees carefully and don’t hesitate to offer the highest compensation you can afford once you’re sure you’ve found the right person.

3. Micromanaging or Failing to Delegate Tasks

One bad habit that afflicts many small business owners is the tendency to micromanage or not delegating tasks. Being hands on might be ideal when you first start your business, but once it starts to grow, you have to learn how to delegate effectively. After all, you can’t sustain an 80-hour work schedule forever.

Delegating might be difficult at first but it can be done. You can make it easier by eliminating tasks that are redundant and those that no longer add any value to your business. You should also carefully choose who you delegate to. Don’t just pass the job to someone who’s older or has been with the company longer. Pick someone with the right skills, capabilities, and motivation. You also have to make your expectations clear when delegating. Have a definite schedule on when your staff should check-in with you and what results you want to see. Make sure communication lines are always open so that you can provide answers or direction.

4. Delaying Implementation of a System or Process

A lot of small companies start with virtually no systems or processes in place. You might be able to go without a clear-cut system when you only have a few employees and clients. But as your business grows, you have to start developing it formally. This means creating company guidelines, developing systems and processes and coming up with financial and operational plans. This is crucial in order for your company to scale. Delaying the implementation of a system or process will make it difficult to monitor and assess business growth.

5. Not Taking Risks

Don’t expect your business to succeed if you’re afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Take a look at successful companies. They have thrived because their owners are proactive, forward-thinking and are not afraid to take risks. These companies are always the ones that introduce new services, use the latest technology or experiment with different business strategies. If you have the habit of just sticking to what’s safe then you’ll just stagnate. So take a deep breath and take a risk. You’ve already taken the biggest one – you started a business.

Bad habits can drive away good employees and hurt your bottom line. Take time for self-evaluation and be honest about any habits that might be detrimental to your company’s growth. Once you have identified what bad habits you need to break, you can start changing for the betterment of your company and yourself.

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