6 Reasons Your Business Hates You

Sadly, many people grow to hate their businesses. (You may be one of them.) What you once loved has become a source of disillusionment, pressure, and stress. You're sick of your business.

Those feelings may not be one-sided, though. Your business may be sick of you, too.

Here are six reasons why your business could hate you:

  1. You've entered the Ashley Madison zone. You're bored with your business because, well, things have gotten a little stale. You don't want to necessarily leave your business, but what's wrong with a little variety, right? You consider forming other companies, or starting a side venture... and you pay less and less attention to your business. Your wandering eye impacts results, interpersonal relationships, and employee morale. You think you're being discreet but you're not fooling anyone -- especially your business.
  2. You focus on the wrong line. When revenue is down cost cutting is a natural area of focus, especially if you don't come from a sales background. Instead of focusing on the top line and growing sales, you cut and cut and cut until nothing is left but hurt and resentment. Sometimes it is impossible to save your way to profitability, and focusing on top-line growth is the only long-term answer.
  3. You use the royal "we." There's no "I" in team, so you try to say "we" but it comes out at the wrong times. "We worked through the weekend" sounds good -- unless you stayed home while employees put in the time. "We need to eliminate all these errors" sounds good -- unless you're the only one who screwed up. Use "I" whenever you personally make a mistake, use "we" whenever you do something positive.
  4. You network rather than sell. Networking is like sowing seeds; selling is like harvesting crops. To survive your business needs sales, not handshakes and business cards. Spend all your time networking on the golf course, at restaurants, and at social events instead of getting out and selling and revenue gets neglected. Want your business to love you? Find your inner Mortimer Duke and "Sell! Sell! Sell!"
  5. Your married a trophy business. Does your business serve as an extension of your ego? Is your business just a status symbol? Is your business on display for the greater glory of you? Initially your business might be flattered, but eventually it will want to be loved for its inner quality, productivity, and value. You should serve your business; your business should not serve you.
  6. You can't stop hunting for that one big idea. Innovations and breakthroughs sometimes build great companies. Innovations and breakthroughs are hard to develop and even harder to deploy, though. Most companies succeed through hard work, attention to detail, and consistent execution. Ignore the small stuff while you search for an incredible breakthrough and your company will sink. A big idea is unlikely to transform your business, but executing lots of small ideas may build a great business.
If you've started to hate your business take a look around: It might hate you back. If so, start repairing the relationship now. If your business fails the "settlement" may cost you a lot more than half.

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Photo courtesy flickr user DownTown Pictures, CC 2.0