9 Traps For Business Owners

I read an interesting article on Gallup News the other day entitled How Entrepreneurs Sabotage Their Businesses. The author highlights 9 traps that startups typically fall into:

  1. Relentless focus on profitability
  2. Overconfidence
  3. Unfocused creativity
  4. Need for control
  5. Ineffective delegation
  6. Misplaced commitment to a selected course of action
  7. Entrepreneurial myopia
  8. Ineffective networks
  9. Confirmation bias

This contains a lot of useful insight, so I recommend you go read the article. And if you want more, they can point you to the underlying research.

From what I’ve seen, there’s an important distinction to be made here. First, there’s the things you DO. Limiting actions include most of the things on this list.

But then there’s the things you ARE as a business owner: Your frame of mind, your worldview, and so on. When I work with clients, I often help them to tease apart these two aspects. It often results in surprising insights.

Take, for example, unfocused creativity. Many entrepreneurs become enamored of innovative ideas and new concepts – I have this tendency myself. As a result, they tend to start many projects but struggle to complete them when it gets to the boring and methodical bits.

You can control this tendency by addressing what you DO: Creating an accountability mechanism for your project plans, having a process for quickly assessing and filtering new ideas, and so on. But if you don’t recognize that this is an important part of who you ARE, you may become deeply frustrated.

So I start by helping my client to recognize that this is a valid, useful, and honorable frame of mind. Not always in the best interest of the business, but that makes it no less valuable. If this is something which is core to your satisfaction, then let’s look for how best to channel your energy:

  • Apply this skill to certain specific parts of the business where innovation is valuable
  • Exercise it outside the scope of the business, perhaps through hobbies or volunteer work

I find that this often creates a healthy business AND a happy business owner. It starts with recognizing and understanding your own skills and desires.

Carl Dierschow
Small Fish Business Coaching Fort Collins

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