Let’s face it – as a small business owner, you are facing tough times in our current business environment. The economy is weak, cash flow is tight, and it’s almost impossible to get a line of credit, or even keep the one that you have. It seems that the current administration views small business owners as their “private bank” to help them fund all of the programs that they want to role out. Additionally, many of your employees are using these things as an excuse for their poor performance and lack of results. Many of these issues are causing problems for small business owners. At the same time, I’ve noticed that many small business owners are burying their head in the sand and not paying attention to what is really happening in their business. Does this sound like you? If so, what is really happening?

What’s really happening is that your business is a direct reflection of you! Yes, that’s correct. It’s time to look in the mirror and get brutally honest with yourself. Here are a couple of things that I’ve noticed in our current environment that may apply to you, along with what you should do about them:

Your business is in trouble, and you are in denial.

Have you noticed that when the economy was booming and credit was easy to come by, that it was easy to make payroll and grow your business? Are you having cash flow problems now that credit is tight? If so, you may be in denial about the overall viability of your business and/or your business model. I’ve noticed that many business owners have been running a poorly run business for a long time, and have been covering it up by dipping into their credit lines. Now that you can no longer do that, it’s time to be honest and take a serious look at your current business situation. If you aren’t able to make payroll and be profitable, then you need to make some changes and tough decisions, or you may find yourself out of business.

The key here is to be brutally honest about the current state of your business, and where you need to be to continue to move forward. This will help you to identify the gap that you need to close, and should allow you to see what changes need to be made.

You foster an environment that lacks accountability.

Do you make excuses for why your business isn’t doing as well as it used to? Do you let your employees off the hook for their poor performance? Are excuses running rampant in your business? If this sounds like you, then you are fostering an environment where there is no accountability. This generally leads to poor performance, and eventually, the failure of the business.

If your business suffers from the lack of accountability, you need to raise your standards and start holding yourself, and your employees, to a higher standard. They will either respond and pick up their performance, or they won’t. If they don’t, there are a large number of talented people that are currently looking for work. Don’t be afraid to remove the non-performers from your staff and replace them with high performers. If you do this, your business will improve. If you don’t, you may find yourself eventually out of business.

You are living in fear.

In the movie Point Break, Patrick Swayze’s character, Bodie, has a great quote:

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to become reality.”

Are you living in fear and therefore and not making the tough decisions that need to be made to turn around your business? If so, not making those decisions is certainly affecting the performance and bottom line of your business. Living in denial, not holding yourself and your employees accountable to creating results, and not taking action as the leader of your business will eventually cause your worst fears to become reality.

If you are living in fear, what you need to do is change your focus from what you are afraid of, to what it is that you want. Once you do this, take massive action towards what you want, and this usually removes your fear. Keep in mind that fear is your friend. It’s there as a warning that you need to take action and change the path that you are on. If you make fear your friend, good things will happen. If you focus on it, it usually causes you to freeze up and not take action.

You aren’t being a strong leader

Running a small business is a challenge, especially in tough times. The businesses that survive and thrive are the ones that have strong leadership. So, if you haven’t been a strong leader, now’s the time to do so. This may require some major changes in how you run your business, your business model, and even the people that work for you. It also may require so additional assistance.

If you are finding that you are challenged with all of the things coming at you, you may want to consider working with a coach or mentor that can support you, challenge you, and hold you accountable for what needs to be done in your business. Most successful leaders today have a coach or mentor, so if you don’t, it may be time to find one!

The time to take action is now! If your business isn’t where you want it to be, then it’s time to stop making excuses and look in the mirror. Is your business a reflection of you, the leader of the business? If so, you can make some changes and upgrades to what you are doing, and it will lead you to a much better place!

Author's Bio: 

Tom Kelly is a Professional Business Coach that specializes in working with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. He can be reached at (773) 907-0921, or at www.businesscoachchicago.com.