These People Will Destroy Your Business

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on June 21, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple

Over the years I’ve observed successful businesses owners and entrepreneurs helplessly fail as their businesses are driven into the ground by someone else. It’s rarely a malicious act, since people tend to spend time with people they want to be with. Frequently, business destruction occurs because friends, colleagues, clients or some other well-meaning person in a positive relationship with the entrepreneur tanked the business accidentally. If you have these people in your life, beware!

  • High maintenance clients who are focused on your rate. If you have clients who require a lot of hand-holding, who constantly ask for free services, and who call you back to go over invoices in detail, you’ve got a business-destroying problem on your hands. They may be the nicest people in the world but they can take away from other customers who cost less to manage and are therefore more profitable. If a clients gets too demanding (even if their demands are disguised as requests), revisit how much you do for them for free.
  • Vendors with whom you are too closely tied for critical situations. As a business owner, you probably have vendors who provide you with any number of services. And it’s often nice to work with just a few people who know what they are doing rather than spread yourself too thin by trying to manage a whole bunch of people. But you need to watch your vendors carefully: If you are extremely reliant on them to come through (because they provide you with several critical services) make sure their own business is in good shape. You don’t want them dropping the ball for too long simply because they can’t keep their own house in order).
  • Employees who just warm desks. The world somehow has balance: There are entrepreneurs who dream of living a life of unfettered freedom and there are employees who like the consistency of employment. We need each other in order to coexist in perfect harmony. But sometimes you get an employee who likes the consistency of employment without the hassle and sweat of actually doing work. They are a drain on your revenue without contributing to your business. Unfortunately, if you run a small office, it can be extremely difficult to do anything about them.
  • Decision makers who have a different view than you. Decision makers could include majority shareholders, partners, COOs or CFOs (if you’re the CEO), or other key people on your management team. You need everyone moving in the same direction but if they feel that the business should go somewhere else, you’ve got a potentially bad situation if they start making decisions that run counter to how you feel the business needs to go.

Businesses frequently fail from these people because these business-destroyers are cloaked in good relationships. They get close to entrepreneurs and usually have the best intentions and positive feelings toward the business owner and the business. But, as you can see by reading descriptions of them; their views are just not aligned.

One of the most difficult things you’ll have to do as an entrepreneur is identify and remove these people from a position of influence in your business.

Good luck!

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