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Are You Unknowingly Sabotaging Your Business’s Success?

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Are You Unknowingly Sabotaging Your Business’s Success?

Running a Small Business is a roller coaster ride of high and lows. We work long hours, juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and we are usually SO busy working on driving revenues that we rarely stop to sit back and reflect upon how our personality and behaviour may be affecting the success of our business.

Before I go any further, I must preface that I’m neither a psychologist nor behaviourist. These thoughts are solely based on my own awareness of how my own strong personality has affected and shaped my businesses over time.

I have learnt that to build a highly successful business, it takes more than a great idea and strong leadership skills. In fact, its about having a deeper understanding of your own personality, how you behave, how you act and react, how you communicate, and how you are perceived by those that work with you. Because it is our personalities and behaviours that unquestionably influence and shape our business and how people perceive what we do.

I’m sure you’ve all experienced this. Walk into one retail shop and they ignore you, walk into another and they can’t do more to help you. Whilst there are many possible reasons why they are so different, I would argue that the one area we rarely address is how the business owners’ personality and behaviours influence and shapes the customers experience.

Let’s take a look at what I call ‘Silent SaboteursTM, the unknowing elements of a business owner’s personality that can indirectly, (or silently) affect your success (or not) in business.

Attitude – Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

Are you a cup half-full or cup half empty type of person? How do you perceive the events that happen in your business? Does everything have a positive or negative spin on it?  How do you frame things for your employees?  How do you manage your customers – is everything an effort or is everything easy?

Keeping your cup full helps you to maintain a positive disposition at all times so your employees can take your lead.

Resilience – Your ability to cope with stress and adversity

How do you cope with stress and adversity and how quickly can you bounce back from a stressful or adverse situation. And more importantly, how do you frame this for your employees or customers? If you show high levels of stress so will your staff. If you laugh in the face of adversity, then so will you staff, so please don’t underestimate the power of your demonstrating best practice in this area.

Flexibility & Adaptability – You ability to cope with change

How do you react when thrown a curve ball? Do you crumple into a ball and cry or stand up and face it head-on?  Are you open minded and quickly come up with new, innovative ways to solve problems or do you simply say “we don’t do it that way”? Is the language in your organization – ‘we can’ or ‘we can’t’? As the business owner it is how flexible and adaptable you are that shapes how you respond to both internal and external stakeholders and whether you negatively or positively face the challenges in your business.

Relationships – Are you welcoming or uninviting?

How do you approach your relationships with your customers and your employees? Do you build long-lasting relationships that are meaningful or do you struggle to build rapport, preferring to focus on the job not the relationship? What language do you use both verbal and written, is it welcoming or clinical? Don’t underestimate this saboteur because your customers can tell how important relationships are to you from the moment they read the text on your website.

Emotional Attachment – Scared to make the tough decisions

One aspect of business ownership that many Small Business owners struggle with is keeping the emotion from business decisions. Take for example your favourite employee. They light up the room and get along so well with the other staff, they are helpful and friendly and seem to try really hard. But. They fail to do their core task properly causing you and others to fix mistakes or complete the task. Because of your emotional attachment or loyalty to that person you continue to allow them to be second rate at their job and without knowing it, it’s probably costing you lots of money.

Internal Culture –  Utopia or toxicity, you decide

Culture includes the organisation values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits. The beautiful thing about starting your own business is that you have the ability to build your organisational culture from scratch and start as you mean to go on.  It is so exciting building the symbols, systems, beliefs and habits that become embedded in the culture of the organisation. If you get it right in the early stages, your business will thrive… get it wrong and a heap of new problems just landed on your desk. Culture affect staff turnover, so it need focus, time and resources spent on getting it right.

As you can see, running a business is complicated, especially when it comes to dealing with intangible notions such as stress, adaptability, flexibility, relationships, culture and emotional attachment.

True entrepreneurs bounce back from ‘silent saboteurs’ and learn from this experience and go on to make stronger decisions, and build stronger businesses that inevitably make more money. The key is to stay focused on the end goal, share your strategic vision and obtain buy-in from all stakeholders.

By simply being aware that these saboteurs exist is often enough to prevent it from becoming an issue in your business.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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  • Sharon Chisholm
    Reply

    Great article Jules. As many small business owners (particularly soloists) also live with mental health challenges, it is especially important for us to understand our behaviours and emotions and how they impact on our ability to be successful.

    I have learned that when I’m feeling good, I have to harness the energy and creativity and be as productive as possible. When I’m depressed and can barely get out of bed, I have to understand that my cognitive abilities are greatly reduced and I need more rest than usual.

    For me, a deep connection with peers, suppliers and clients is imperative and the relationship is always more important to me than the financial aspect of the job. Working in the mental health field, I couldn’t have it any other way.

    As someone who lives with bipolar disorder, I have to be very careful of my emotional attachments and decision making abilities. When I am manic, every decision seems easy and as though it will be life changing, when in reality it could be the worst thing I could do.

    The more self aware we are, the more likely we are to have success, not just in business, but in life as a whole.

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