It’s said that 8 to 9 out of every 10 businesses fail inside the first two years. As time wears on to the 4-year mark, another of the 50 percent remaining also end up finding their way to the business graveyard. These and other statistics can easily scare off even the most brave among us.
Incompetence, lack of experience and outright incompetence are the 3 biggest reasons cited for business failures that occur outside the startup level (source). The struggles are many, the road long and unsure.
As an intermediate (ie., not a complete noob) entrepreneur, your success hinges 100 percent on your ability to get things done – to do whatever needs to be done and watch over those doing the stuff you can’t do yourself.
You basically need to be on the ball each and every day. There’s no room for excuses. You have to be in-tune with your mind, know what you want, and get up every day ready to go out and get it – no matter what it takes. As many an old saying has alluded to over the years, you are your own worst enemy.
You have to know your limitations and fight off the following 3 personal demons inside you before they end up killing your business:
Apathy is a big concern for those who’ve been at it for a while, and now find that everything just feels stale. You started off great, but now you’re just going through the day-to-day motions. Your business is no longer inspiring. You’ve lost your passion and drive – there’s an obvious disconnect between you, your goals, and quite likely you and your staff.
This indifference toward your business is akin to depression; a problem that sets in when we’re no longer driven to push forward in life. Once you’re in this place, your business is likely soon to fail, regardless your current level of success in your industry. This, because an apathetic mentality won’t permit you to innovate, allowing problems to fester and competition to move in and take what’s yours.
I promised to tell you about this warning sign. However, there’s no way anyone can tell you how to feel more connected with that which was once a passion, but now feels more like fly on the wall of your life. You simply need to find a way to reconnect, or sell the business off and move on to something that excites you.
Alternatively known as procrastination: Purposely avoiding that which you know you need to be doing, in exchange for something utterly meaningless that fills time. Once you’ve procrastinated enough, it becomes what Eric Thomas refers to as “A culture.” A habit much like smoking or drinking alcohol that becomes so second nature, you don’t even realize you have a problem – until it’s too late to do anything about it!
I believe this is why people who make and follow to-do lists are so successful at staying on point with their careers and businesses. In fact, being a religious list maker is probably the only way to truly ensure you don’t dilly-dally your way into bankruptcy – aside from getting a J.O.B. and answering to a manager!
Unless you’ve retired with a nest-egg you know will see you through til death, there’s really no room for feeling overly contented. Not in any aspect of your life and certainly not in your business. Contentment stops you in your tracks, prevents you from growing.
Keep in mind that this is different from happiness. Those who’re happy will continue to push forward to make sure they don’t ever slip into despair. Those who feel contentment become complacent and have lost their resolve – they feel they’re on top and can never be pushed off.
This feeling also usually proceeds some kind of monumental success, but is also the biggest reason for many of the riches-to-rags stories we’ve all heard. Like the lottery winners who find a way to blow through $30-million in two years, or basketball players who retire after twenty years (at $100-million a year) and have to come back to the sport at 40 years of age cause they’re broke.
The answer to fighting this personal demon is to avoid becoming too comfortable. Continue to push into uncharted territory as much as possible. Don’t get too big for your britches or suddenly decide you only have to work when the desire hits you.
It’s up to YOU!
The 3 personal demons above are factors that each entrepreneur has ultimate control over. Failing to keep them in check will always result in avoidable failures.
Not allowing yourself to slip into their clutches will keep you on your toes and ensure your business is always moving on an upward trajectory.