Top 3 Things Killing Your Small Business AND How to Deal With Them

By Karlene Sinclair-Robinson

Over the past fifteen years, I have had the great opportunity of working with so many wonderful small business owners and I love it! They are all unique in their way! Many of them are creators. Some are inventors! Many create companies to make us feel better, enhance our experiences, or simplify things for us.

These small business owners spent thousands of hours bringing their ideas to life and taking them to the market. They often did so at the expense of other areas in their lives and often make sacrifices that many would never understand unless they get hit with the entrepreneurial bug. Their successes are often froth with challenges, setbacks, and even failure.

Many of the challenges business owners experience is external. Finding the right location, hiring the right personnel, or access to enough capital issues are just some of the external challenges CEOs experience while working to increase revenue. Developing revenue drivers and market penetration strategies are critical to the success of small companies.

However, even with all the challenges mentioned earlier, and yes, they could be detrimental to a company’s viability, they are not the only factors that will cause a business to fail. The unfortunate thing is that many of these CEOs are not always aware of these critical issues.

Procrastination Is A Killer

Procrastination is often not acknowledged as a top factor for businesses failing. Unfortunately, many owners of small firms tend to wait till it’s too late to hire, request access to capital, or implement operational strategies that would streamline systematization or creative solutions to market their company. They often don’t engage their markets effectively, or they suffer from ‘analysis-paralysis’ instead of taking action to jumpstart or restart their entrepreneurial journey.

Procrastinating in making business decisions will decimate a company’s pathway to success. It is essential to deal with the issues that cause delays. It’s another thing when one cannot take the steps or actions necessary to implement and do the work of building the business.

Maybe there is a continual process that causes one to procrastinate. The chronic procrastinator has some underlying behavioral factors that must be recognized and understood, so it can be worked on to aid in changing this habit for the better.

Stress is another component in the recipe for procrastination. Sometimes stressful situations stop us from taking decisive action. Stressors can paralyze individuals that often lead to financial crises, organizational mismanagement, or on a personal note, medical challenges.

Fear is the main ingredient in this recipe of procrastination. It could be a fear of success or failure that causes one to operate at an average level. These owners could be much more successful but for the fear that keeps them in a box.

So, they operate at average levels to not have to take on too many clients or accounts, as they are so afraid to fail or succeed. I challenge you to change this habit.


Recognizing the issue is the first step. You cannot fix something you do not understand yet as a problem. Getting things done is essential to build a company successfully. So, take stock of where you are. Identify the factors impeding you in making decisions and taking actions. Define ways to help you increase how well you progress. Use checklists and other systems to help you improve, but most of all, hold yourself accountable for getting things done.

Complacency Can Be Lethal

When a business owner is so self-absorbed in their own belief that their company is doing great, and nothing needs to change, then look out: there could be trouble ahead. If you’re that owner who cannot stand the advancement such things as technology, social media, or even virtual banking processes, you’re in for a rude awakening.

The CEO who will not listen to others and heed sound advice, especially when there are potential shifts in the marketplace, is unintentionally signing off on their business going closing. When one gets so comfortable with where their enterprise is, it can be detrimental to the strength of the company.  

If one stays in this current process of being complacent with the business operations, you should be sure to accept the consequences when they do show up.


Once again, acknowledgment is critical to fixing the issue of complacency. One must accept that they had been complacent in the things they did or didn’t do. You must look for ways to work on improving processes and increase opportunities for ongoing growth. It’s no longer the time for a laid-back approach.

Admitting to one’s self is essential; however, if you have employees, especially those in managerial positions, you should seriously consider looping them in on where you are. You can get ideas from them to help steer the direction you’d like to take the company or simple ways to adjust for the advancement of the company.

When you decide on facing these issues, you will improve the overall financial health of your business. It will help to drive revenue growth, build sustainability for the long term while continuing to support the economy through hiring and other spending operational processes.

Attitude Is A Disease & Yes, and There is A Cure!

Charles Swindoll once stated: 
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home…”

Whether you agree with Pastor Swindoll or not, attitude is indeed a significant factor in life. You can view the cup half empty or half full; it speaks to your attitude. You might have an ego the size of Alaska and the orientation where ‘it’s your way or the highway’ approach to things. 

Some of you might be one of those employers where employee suggestions are never seriously considered because it’s your business, and it’s all about you! Many of you may feel that only you know how to run the company, and no one else can do it. This attitudinal behavior, though stemming from a forward-facing process, speaks to control issues, and much more.  

Often, these business owners are micro-managers. The habit of micro-management is not a new process for the owner. This problem of micro-management is a learned behavior that goes back to childhood, teen years, or even early adulthood. It denotes how the individual might have learned to best deal with the situations they found themselves in that they could not adequately handle. 

The attitude that leads to egotistical behavior will make you the worst boss to work for, the worst friend to have around, or even the family member no one wants to be around. Hiring and keeping great staff will present a significant challenge. It can lead to costly mistakes, including a high turnover rate.


All three identified issues of concern all have one systematic pattern: they all come from a place within that must be addressed adequately, and honestly, before one can move on. These deep-rooted issues are often not yet fully recognized as problems or concerns. The psychological process of not acting, being okay with just getting by, or having the ‘I know it all’ mentality showcases in the mindset challenges that one must overcome. 

Some individuals reading this article will need to seek out professional support to help you overcome these challenges. I suggest taking a closer look at your habits and it is also crucial that you get the support that will help you tremendously over time.

Making changes in your attitude and approach as your progress will help you change life-long habits that do not serve you. These changes will help improve your overall approach to life but you must be willing to get out of your way; get out of your comfort zone. If, and when you are ready to change, you will find that your relationships within your company, family, friendships, and community, will get better.


I wrote this article to help those of you seeking to understand more about yourself and your habits, to get some answers. Recognizing that there is an issue is truly the first step to fulfilling your destiny, so you can achieve what you set out to do. Now that you see the pattern of behavior as a problem, it is necessary to act now in addressing them, or they might become lifelong issues. 

Don’t be afraid of what others will say or think, as you must rectify your issues first. People will see the change in you and connect with you better and at a much deeper level.


Blog post Author: Karlene Sinclair-Robinson has been dubbed “The Queen of Business Financing” and “Business-Knowledge Superstar” with over 15 years of business experience.  She is the Bestselling Author of the book titled: Spank The Bank: The Guide to Alternative Business Financing. Over the years, Karlene has also been featured in numerous interviews and articles on the topics of Small Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Leadership, Women and more.