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9 Warning Signs You May Need Help

By Bill English, Partner

Most entrepreneurs have several characteristics. Among the more prominent is a level of confidence – some would say arrogance – that enables them to believe they can beat the odds when taking a risk to win. Most of them are pretty good at what they do: They are competent at a trade, skill, craft, or they have a novel idea that can be monetized.

In the early years of a business, the entrepreneur wears many hats – sales and marketing director, product development, CEO, controller and so forth. But as the business grows and expands, the entrepreneur is tested in ways that MBA programs can’t teach and either the entrepreneur has, or doesn’t have, the maturity to develop alliances (both inside and outside his/her business), deal with conflict, develop trust and make wise decisions quickly. The personality – the character – the personal dysfunction of the entrepreneur will dictate the success or demise of the business.

Here are eleven danger signs one can check for before such tests pop up, not presented in any particular order, but numbered for easier reference. If you see three or more of these in your business, find help to fix them. If you see four or more danger signs, you need help right now.

1) As Your Success Has Become Obvious to Others, Your Business Has Become More About You, the Founder

Yep, when you started out, you were customer focused. You were customer centric. But over the years, you’ve made money, you’ve won awards, you’ve gained public recognition and notoriety and you’ve heard the praise – really heard the praise. So, you start using your business to create perks for yourself: tickets to sporting events that are not business related, massages, golf lessons, a new car, personal vacations written off as a business expenses, new toys, larger office – all if it contributes to the perception by your employees that your business is now about you.

2) Most Decisions, and Certainly All Important Decisions, Must Route Through You.

You think that no one can make good decisions without you. When something goes wrong, you blame people and talk in terms of “what’s wrong with” him or her. Perhaps they aren’t trying hard enough. Forget the fact that your micromanagement pushes employees underground who end up doing only what they are told to do – confirming your suspicion that they are substandard talent. When you look at all the people you’ve hired, you don’t have one single leader who can manage your company. Not one. And you blame your employees for this, not yourself. You don’t understand that you’ve gobbled up all the leadership in the organization and have stifled your employees’ development... MORE

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