Owning and running a business requires that you get over the limitations that others live under. But balancing the determination to succeed against believing that you have to have all the answers, costs many owners the success and lifestyle they desire.
I have found that most owners suffering the pain and anxiety of an under-performing business do so because they subscribe to the “Unwritten Ownership Rule”. They falsely believe that it is solely on them have to have all the answers, ideas and solutions. As a result, they live in their own personal hell, stuck between the need to do better, and the reality of not knowing how. So they keep grinding, trying to figure it out, but falling farther and farther behind where they wanted and expected to be.
The gap between reality and expectations contributes to the problem. Most owners start their company because of a particularly skill or passion they have. Too often, they expect to be a good business owner because they are highly skilled in another area(s). There is a huge difference though in being a skilled technician and well-versed business owner. Effective ownership is a learned skill, which is at the root of why owners unnecessarily struggle.
The challenge is knowing when to push through and figure it out on your own and when to get help. Here’s a good rule of thumb for recognizing when it’s time to get help:
- When your daily workload is filled with putting out the same fires over and over
- When the volume of issues that you handle are so numerous that you often can’t get to your daily business growth and improvement activities, and
- when you are so mentally spent that you can’t think clearly about growth opportunities or keeping an eye out for lurking threats to your business.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room for a minute … your ego. Opening up and letting someone know that you need help, even when suffering through long periods of under-performance, can be tough. But no points are given for holding the line, while things around you are going sideways or worse. Businesses fail, that’s reality. How many of the owners that have closed their doors, if given the chance to do it over again, would gladly face the pain of admitting they didn’t have all the answers instead of the pain of quietly going down with the ship. Don’t allow your pride to override your good sense.
The truth is, we all have pride and strengths. For owners, their strength is often self-reliance and an “I’ll Show You” attitude. But, even our best attribute can become our biggest weakness when we lack self-awareness. Don’t let your “I’ll figure it out” attitude get in the way of your ability to succeed. Stop, access your situation and your actions. Then remember back to the reason you went into business and get about finding the help that you need to make your vision and dreams come true. As you decide your next step, let me remind you of a lasting truth. The same line of thought that created your situation will not yield the answers to change it. Take action! Find the help you need to turn things around. And start enjoying the journey of building your business and your life.