The personal qualities, behaviors and habits of a business leader can affect their entire company, especially in a small business that depends heavily on one person for direction and guidance. Watch out for these behaviors if you want to achieve business success:

1. Rushing into business relationships

It's important not to rush into any business relationship without thinking it through. Before you go into business with someone, make sure it's a good fit that will serve to move the company forward. This is even more important when it comes to the founding of a business.

As Undefined Creative Founder Maria Radetzky explains, "The best partner is typically someone whose skills and approach are the polar opposite of yours. The first ensures that you are able to cover a lot more ground without additional employees. The second may create conflict, but it will force you both to defend your business instincts and weed out lesser ideas before you waste resources."1

2. Lacking confidence

One of the worst characteristics any business owner can have is a lack of confidence. If you aren't confident in your own products/services and your ability to provide customers with what they want, how can any customer be expected to do business with you, let alone come back a second time? If you are uncertain about a product or process in your company, take action to correct the issue, so that you, your staff, and your customers can have the confidence you need to succeed.

3. Not committing

Another characteristic that is dangerous for any business owner is a lack of commitment to strategies, customer service, and ideals. Running a business takes passion and a commitment to that passion. Customers and employees alike can sense when an owner is not sticking to its vision or committing to its mission. In some cases, this will lead them to look elsewhere to have their expectations met.

From an employer-employee standpoint, a lack of commitment can mean a loss of confidence from valuable employees who may think they're better off working elsewhere. And, customers can take their business to competitors even more easily.

4. Failing to track data

A failure to track various facets of your business is a recipe for disaster. You need to be tracking cash flow, sales, customer loyalty and retention, employee productivity, and any other metric that matters to your company's health. Use applications to help you, but keep an eye on the important things, or it will become easy to fall behind in critical areas. In some cases, you may fall so far behind that it is difficult to recover.

5. Resisting advice from others

You should always be willing to listen to advice from others. That doesn't mean you have to follow it all, but keep an open mind and consider what others have to say, especially if they have earned credibility in your industry or profession. Even someone who works under you may be able to offer advice about the day-to-day workings of your company from their point of view as a person "in the trenches." Admitting you do not know everything, and you need help is sometimes challenging, but it's important not to let your ego stand in the way of business success.

6. Having unclear financial goals

Every business owner needs goals to work toward. Having them means you can focus your time and resources on achieving them, and that's how success happens. Without goals, you are likely to scatter your efforts too broadly so that revenue is not optimized. Set your goals and figure out what exactly needs to happen in order for you to meet them.

7. Ignoring the importance of communication

There is no bigger time-waster than a lack of communication in a business environment. Make sure you and your managers keep the lines of communication open to your employees and encourage them to frequently communicate with you and with one another. This will help to achieve goals and increase productivity by reducing confusion, error, and redundancies.

8. Not being willing to evolve

Business owners must be willing to adapt their business to changes in the environment and market in which they operate. If you aren't taking advantage of new technologies and your competitors are, you risk falling behind in market share as customers flock to the more efficient option. Evolution is not just about technology, however. You must always be willing to adapt to changes in the market and stay on top of trends that can impact your bottom line.

No matter what stage your business is in, it's important to always find ways in which you can improve, and that means not falling victim to any of the behaviors above.



The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC