Updated: Feb 11, 2020
#1 Pain effects every aspect of their life.
Back in 2009, I was suffering from chronic back pain associated with a spinal issue. Every aspect of my life sucked due to this. I couldn’t sleep and no matter what I did, I could not get comfortable. Nothing, and I mean nothing gave me any relief. This had a huge effect on my attitude, and I was not the nicest person to be around.
Mental pain is as bad as physical pain and, in some cases much worse. The pain I’m talking about here is stress caused by business stuff. You know, stuff like cash flow shortages, employee issues, increased competition, and falling profits. Unchecked, this type of pain only gets worse and businesses tend to struggle.
I realized back in October that the vast majority of our 2019 clients were suffering from this kind of pain. I am happy to report that for many, their courage to address their pain has resulted in some form of relief. This allowed them to look at their opportunities with a fresh perspective and start to feel good about their business again.
#2 Pride is a powerful emotion that propels and destroys.
When someone is enthusiastic about the place they work at, other people take notice. The sense of pride a business owner feels when they sit back and look at what they have built can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Speaking from personal experience, it is the most rewarding aspect of running my own business. Nothing sells new business like confidence! However, this sense of pride can also result in a pretty big ego. Nothing kills new businesses like an over-inflated ego. It also tends to destroy partnerships and highlights a lack of leadership skills.
It is vitally important to reflect on your achievement and feel good about what you’re doing with your life. Just remember humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will.
#3 The maturity to understand your limitations
It’s oh so refreshing to meet someone who has reached a level of maturity that allows them to admit to the world that they don’t know everything. I have met so many people over the years who have read THE BOOK! Do you know the book I’m talking about? That’s right, THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING! That’s not to say that these people are rude, arrogant, or assholes (although many of them are). It’s just a lack of awareness that they can improve in some aspects of their life.
Epictetus wrote, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
The higher level of maturity I’m talking about here is one of our 2019 clients who had become frustrated with where his business was heading and reached out to us for help. In our first meeting, he told us, “I know I don’t have all the answers. There are certain things I enjoy doing and certain things I hate doing. I need your help to get my business running smoother.” A simple, precise, and effective desired outcome. Is there any doubt that this business will continue to succeed? Not in my mind!
#4 It’s really hard to admit that your baby is ugly.
Many business owners develop an unhealthy identity that is based solely on their business. Their identity will feel like it’s under attack when someone says anything negative about their business. That attack will feel a thousand times worse when someone says the company is not worth what the owner thinks it is. The message is clear. YOUR BABY IS UGLY. By the way, most business owners have no understanding of what their business is worth or how to go about evaluating it. What they do understand is the hurt they feel when strangers place a value on their life's work.
What makes a beautiful baby in this context? For me, the answer is great people who are passionate about the company’s products and services. A strong culture based on trust and respect. Products or services that other people want or need to buy. Systems that can produce those products and services in the most cost-effective manner possible. A great leadership team that has a vision for the future that connects with the people and clearly articulates it throughout the company. Strong cash flow and growing revenues.
So, there you have it. The top 4 things we learned from our clients in 2019. And with that, I wish you all a happy new year, and I hope your 2020 is profitable and personally fulfilling!
Don’t forget to check out my new book!
It is about all the things that can (and do) go wrong in business today. How to Destroy an American Business is a fictional tale made of relatable characters whose greed, selfishness, pride, and ignorance lead to the demise of a once-promising enterprise. Available now on Amazon. Click Here!
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