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Why your business doesn't love you back

Many small business owners fall out of love with their businesses. Over time, what you once felt passionate about has become a source of disillusionment, pressure, and stress. In short, you've gotten sick of your business -- and your business may be sick of you as a result.

Here are six reasons why your business may have fallen out of love with you:

1. You check out the business dating sites. 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 think a lot about starting other companies, or trying a side venture... and you pay a lot less attention to your current business. A wandering eye impacts results, professional relationships, and employee morale. You may 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 actually worked. "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, and use "we" whenever you do something positive. Your mistakes are your fault -- your successes are due to the support of your employees.

4. You grow your network rather than sales. Networking is sowing seeds. Selling is 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.

5. Your snagged 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 by all the attention, 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 the 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 flounder. A big idea is unlikely to transform your business, but executing lots of small ideas can create and sustain a great business.

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