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The Biggest Risk To A Small Business Is Its Owner. Here’s Why.

Small business owners are ultimately responsible for the success of their company, which is why they can also be the biggest threat.

Image of a small business owner who is unknowingly the biggest threat to her company

When your first startup begins to show signs of success, it almost feels like becoming a proud new parent. You were there when the idea was conceived. You stayed up late at night thinking about all the potential of what your business might become one day. You even got all giddy with excitement when the business landed its first customer.

This is not an uncommon experience for green entrepreneurs who manage to turn their brainchild into something that produces real-world value. This is because new business owners who built their concept from the ground up typically had to pour their whole lives into making it work. They had to continue going to their day job that paid the bills. They had to use funds from their savings to help support creating the startup that had no revenue of its own. When they weren’t at their day job, they were tirelessly spending late nights pouring their own time and energy into building the business just so it could exist. After weeks, months, even years of this grueling effort and time away from family and friends, it is no wonder why hopeful entrepreneurs sometimes become emotionally attached business owners.

Unfortunately, this often results in a similar problem that occurs with over-emotionally attached parents: Not being able to let go when it is in “the child’s” best interest. One of the most common ways this malfunction surfaces in business is through what is called the “Self Enhancement Bias.”

Self Enhancement Bias: Bad for Supervisors. Dangerous For Business Owners.

Often, business owners who fail to delegate or resist putting a proper resource in place do so because they are operating under what psychologists have called the Self Enhancement Bias. This term essentially means that the manager or business owner is biased towards work done by themselves, or with their direct involvement, regardless of objective results. A bias like this can be troublesome if you are a supervisor. But if you are the business owner, it can turn you into your business’s biggest risk. Without anyone above you to help put your bias in check, you could wind up unnecessarily bottle-necking productivity by running minor decisions and tasks through you instead of focusing your energy on the things that help your business grow.

So how do you spot whether you are being bias vs being constructive? By constantly revisiting the question, “Is this the most valuable thing I could be doing with my time?” With more affordable contract and professional services available than ever before, there is no excuse for you to be involved in menial tasks. Even answering your business’s phones can be affordably tasked to live phone answering service providers who have professional teams of virtual receptionists that can answer your calls 24/7/365 so you can stay focused. The key is to stop accepting yourself as a limitation and start looking for ways you can recapture your time and then reinvest that time in other areas of your business.

Final Thoughts
Delegating doesn’t always come naturally. If you are like many other entrepreneurs who willed their business into life, the idea of letting someone else represent your brand or do your work may be uncomfortable at first. However, deep down, you know it’s unreasonable to do it all yourself and still expect your little company to grow up into a national or global enterprise. The good news is, when you accept delegation as a necessary part of growth and choose your resources wisely, the success you’ll experience will be well worth the effort.

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About David Kent

A writer at heart and entrepreneur by trade, David started his first company at the young age of 22; providing marketing services for a variety of events and businesses before being recognized and picked up by a National sport clothing manufacturer. After putting a few successful years of marketing and brand management under his belt, he ventured out seeking new challenges building and running eCommerce businesses. Having spent nearly his entire adult life at the company helm, David now enjoys writing articles to help other business owners by sharing some of the hard lessons he has learned along the way. When he doesn’t have his nose to the grindstone, you can probably find him cooking up something strange and healthy in the kitchen or training for the next obstacle course race.