Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Mistakes Small Business Owners Make That Cost Them Money

1. They push a client into making a quick sale now instead of building a long-term, mutually profitable relationship.

2. They do not complete weekly/monthly/yearly Profit and Loss Statements, so they oftentimes do not know what they are making and where their expenditures are.

3. They vastly underestimate their actual costs, especially with regards to implicit costs, those owner-supplied resources (i.e. time, tools, space, car usage) that should be considered in a business development plan.

4. They are blind about their own product in the same way that parents believe that their children are the most beautiful on the planet.  As a result, they fall into such love with their product or service that they don’t update it, innovate or keep up with competitors.

5. They don’t plan for emergencies, contingencies, or failures, such as when you pay a supplier and they don’t deliver or go bankrupt and your money is lost.

6. They think they have to do it all themselves, and as a result, there is no way they can grow beyond the capacity of their own working


  1. Shirley Taylor

    This is so true, especially about not being able to grow beyond the capacity of their own working hours. It is a mistake to think you have to do it all on your own. Being a great leader means knowing when to look for help.

  2. Andrew Szabo (The Marketing Chef)

    Excellent synopsis Mary. All of these are symptoms of poor management which is the main reason for business failure.
    However I would add another for #7 Poor cash management. Cash is the lifeblood of a business. Not tracking cash flows is perhaps the most common stumbling block for small business owners. While profitability is important – it’s a historic index. It’s like observing the wake in the boat. Tells you where you’ve been. Projecting cash flow looks ahead and indicate the rocks ahead of you.
    Keep up the great posts Mary – always learn something from you!


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