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Thursday, January 19, 2012

6 ways to fail your business


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 CBS News

By Jeff Haden
(flickr.com user The Doctr)
(MoneyWatch) 

Sure, businesses fail -- but are you failing your small business?

Here are six ways you could be failing your business:

Your eye has started to wander. You're bored with your business because, well, things have gotten a little stale. … You're thinking about forming other companies, or starting a side venture, and you pay less and less attention to your primary business. In the process results, relationships with customers and suppliers, and employee morale all suffer.

You focus on the wrong line. When revenue is down it's natural to focus on cutting costs, … Instead of focusing on the top line and growing sales, you cut and cut and cut until nothing is left. Sometimes it is impossible to save your way to profitability, and focusing on top-line growth is the only long-term answer.

You use "we" at the wrong times. You know there is no "I" in "team" so you try to say "we" -- but at the wrong times. … Use "I" whenever you personally make a mistake, and use "we" whenever you do something positive.

You network rather than sell. Networking is like sowing seeds. Selling is like harvesting crops. … Network some of the time -- sell all the time.

You're in it for glory. … You should serve your business. Your business should not serve you -- and especially not your ego.

You can't stop searching for that one big idea. … Most companies succeed through hard work, attention to detail, and consistent execution. Ignore ideas and small improvements while you search for that one incredible breakthrough and your company will fail. A big idea is unlikely to transform your business; executing lots of small ideas can build a great business.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
  • Jeff Haden Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business from managing a 250-employee book manufacturing plant. Everything else he picked up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest CEOs and leaders in business. He has written more than 30 non-fiction books, including four Business and Investing titles that reached #1 on Amazon's bestseller list. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Haden.
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