6 Most Common Reasons Businesses Fail – Part 6 of 6

by Brian on April 29, 2010

Today is Part 6 of the 6 Most Common Reasons Businesses Fail.

Through my career I’ve seen a lot of struggling businesses, I’ve broken it down to these 6 common reasons why business fail.

  1. Lack of a Common Goal
  2. Bad Hires
  3. Keeping Information Departmentalized
  4. Treating Employees Like Children
  5. Not Knowing Cost
  6. False Pride & Ego

Are there other things? For sure…

  • Not being properly financed.
  • Marketing mistakes.
  • Economic downturn.
  • And a million other reasons.

But the things I’ve laid out in the past 6 posts are common sense things anyone can address in their business right now and see an improvement.

False Pride & Ego

False pride and ego plagues small business owners, especially new business owners.

False pride and ego come from one of two things…

Insecurity or Ignorance


My favorite definition comes from St. Augustine:

“Pride is the love of one’s own excellence.”


The American Heritage’s definition is:

“Appropriate pride in oneself, self esteem.”

Business Owners

A lot of small business owners are afraid to lose control of their businesses, so they try to be involved in everything.

My mentor Jim Taft (not an affiliate link) told me:

“Just because someone owns a business doesn’t mean they know how to run every aspect of it. You have to be willing to trust the people you hired to do the jobs you hired them to do. If not, you’ll go crazy.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting too involved in your business.

For example: If you hire receptionists to answer and route calls, once they are trained, let your receptionists do their jobs.

Don’t waste your time evaluating them once a week. Evaluate them once every 90 days or so, unless an issue arises.

If you hire Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), once they are trained, let them do their jobs.

Don’t waste your time standing over them wanting to know the details of every call. If it’s something you need to know, trust the CSRs you hired will let you know.

Monitoring just to monitor is pointless. You can be doing something much more productive with your time. Stay out of the weeds.

If you have an ongoing training program in place, ongoing monitoring is great…

I feel any other type of monitoring should be for quality assurance, done on a scheduled basis.

Check Your Ego

To be a business owner you need to have an ego. But you have to keep it in check. Being cocky and arrogant may bring short-term success… more often than not, in the long run, it won’t.

Be confident, not arrogant… Confidence is when you know you’re good. Arrogance is when you have to tell other people you’re good.

Having an inflated ego makes that person look and sound like a pompous ass.

People enjoy watching a pompous ass fail.

Don’t be “that” guy or gal.

You can fail.

Not asking for help or allowing people to step in and help you because “you want to do it on your own” is ignorant.

Of course you want to do it on your own… I want to fly on my own, but I get on an airplane… I don’t stand around flapping my arms.

Asking for help is not weak; either is trusting your employees.

One of the best things I learned in the USMC was…

“To be a great leader, you have to be a great follower.”

If everyone is pushing for one common goal and everyone utilizes everyone’s strengths… the chance of a business not only surviving, but thriving, increases dramatically.

As the business owner, the only person stopping this from happening is you.

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