The Vicious Cycle that Stagnates or Kills a Business

If as the entrepreneur, you are the key resource in the business, you are inviting stagnation. If you keep the master plan close to your chest and do not delegate or share with your team, you will stifle your business. The “dream” will end up becoming your prison as clients become your boss. You will hand over your keys of prosperity and sustainability to the clients you serve.

While a vital client can bring great profit, over-reliance on them can offset loss due to the law of diminishing returns. It won’t matter what you put in when this law hits the post optimal limit.

Taking on obvious risks directly such as unplanned events may seem admirable, necessary and in the line of the business. It is however unsustainable, as it is not designed to be the modus operandi.

Ignoring compliance requirements such as tax, licenses and other regulations is the best way to set up shop for failure. The entrepreneur, much as a building would, will have to shut down for renovation – that is compliance.

Your core team is an essential determinant of the success of the business. Lack of competent managers is enough to ground you, bringing about haemorrhage. How do you do your recruitment? How soon can you replace consistently inefficient personnel?

Lack of systems, policies, processes and controls is the best way to let growth opportunities and success slip off your fingers. Think of it as a sure way to rule yourself out of the game without anybody disqualifying you if you lack these things. The team can be stuck and can’t make decisions. Scaling your business becomes difficult. They release you into the next level.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Moss

A business that gets caught up in this downward spiral needs a radical transformation in order to stop itself. See the following signs as you evaluate yourself and your business:

  1. Fire-fightingconsistently will distract you from the consistency of building your operations – you won’t have the time to establish yourself or your business correctly. Fire-fighting leads you to rush the execution of work and portrays sloppiness. #DeathToRepeatBusiness #WhyAlwaysMe?
  2. The business may be demanding and time intensive; but having no personal timeis detrimental. If there is nothing of yourself to put into the business any longer, then how will it take off? A whole person needs to delicately balance their personal life and career. #BurnOut #NeedATherapist.
  3. As necessary as it may seem, this song shouldn’t be on replay. The soundtrack title is “Debt! Debt! Debt!”Its lyrics are composed of cash flows eating into your capital. No matter how good it may sound, you will not thrive with it being on the top of your playlists continually. #CreditBlacklist.
  4. The uncertainty of closing down at any time ushers in insecurity, which you may be able to handle well, but if your staff cannot take, will spell trouble as they seek security. #SecretJobApplication #Here’sMyResume.
  5. Perpetual fear of regulatorsand compliance officers is another invitation of harmful uncertainty. The lines are clear: you will either comply and thrive or take shortcuts and be cut short. #BehindBars #LegalFees #Penalties.
  6. The risk of severe stress related illnesses will kill both energy and focus. Don’t allow the work ethic to kill your body slowly. #WritingWills.
  7. Major discouragement may arise when you compare your personal lifestyle to that of employed friends. You have to come to terms with the lifestyle of entrepreneurs. It involves a lot of discipline and sacrifice. Such comparisons will dissuade and side-track you; beware of it.

Is it Possible to Avoid the Vicious Cycle?

Well, yes, you could do the following:

  1. Invest in high quality staff aligned to your values. Redefine your recruitment and training to suit your vision and core principles. Aim for self-driven people, but once you get them, you must invest in the people you work with.
  2. Separate yourself and the family/friends from the business. Dragging your family into this arena only introduces needless competition. Think about this: would you hire yourself? Do you have what it takes to run the business with all that it requires? Separate personal finances from your business finances.
  3. Put a vision for the business towards which everyone is working. Let it be clear, tangible and simple to understand so that no one is left out.
  4. Put in the necessary systems and controls by pre-defining how everything is done in the business. Don’t wait for crisis to change; be proactive! To achieve these outcomes, see the above steps above.
  5. Ensure all compliance requirements are religiously met. The opportunity cost of compliance is far more beneficial than that of lacking the same. Compliance is what will enable you as a plane to take off; all systems go.
  6. Don’t rely on one key customer or few clients. Spread your reliance and ease the burden on each of your clients so that you are able to keep track of present and potential (out of the existing) networks.
  7. Join the Entrepreneurs Hub to learn this and much more.

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