7 Signs You Should Not Start A Business

starting-lemonaide-stand-businessStarting and running your own business requires many skills and talents, much more than you need when working for someone else.  Most people that start a business  are quickly overwhelmed when the avalanche of demands that a business requires of its owner comes crashing down on them.

That weight and accompanying stress can really take a toll on you.

From marketing to sales to janitorial services, you will need to wear dozens of hats in the early years of your business.  Some people make it and some don’t.  Below are some of the traits that may NOT make you a good candidate to start your own business.  Some traits on the list can be overcome while others, if you have them, will most likely doom you from the start.


You Cannot Delegate

When you are first starting a business, this isn’t very important as it’s expected that the owner will do everything.  And you should be doing everything, that’s how you will learn the ins and outs of your business and will be able to teach the employees who you will eventually hire.  The problem is that many business owners never get out of this stage.

As your business grows and you start to expand past a one man band, you will need to hire and train new people, who will do things that you used to do.  If you’re the micromanaging, “get out of my way, I can do it better” kind of guy, you may be in trouble.

The good news is that delegating can be learned, though it can be a difficult skill to acquire as you have to learn to let go of things you may want to keep close.


You Are Indecisive

If you are the type of person who spends 10 minutes in line trying to decide what extra value meal to order, you better start to sharpen your decision making skills.  The truth is this, as a business owner you will have to make lots and lots of decisions everyday…….and a lot of them will be wrong.  But you still have to make them.

You will not have time to hem and haw over every little decision, sometimes you have to make a quick decision and adjust as time goes on.  The key is to make your good decisions count and to minimize the impact of your less than stellar ones.  The truth is, is that most decisions you will make will not be great or bad but somewhere in the middle.  The key is being able to pull the trigger with limited information and to trust yourself.


You Are Financially Challenged

Do you know the difference between revenue and cash flow?  If you don’t, you may not last very long.  I admit, this is my weak point.  I like ideas and challenges, not bookkeeping and budgets.  But just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I don’t have to have a working knowledge of it.  If you abdicate all of your financial responsibilities to your accountant, you'll be in for a nice surprise when he tells you that you won't be making payroll next week….ouch!


You Are Not a People Person

An old Chinese proverb says “Don’t open a shop unless you like to smile”.  I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a business that does not have customers, but chances are that yours will.  If you are not good with people, most likely your employees will not like working for you and your customers will not like buying from you.  It might be hard to be successful with that one, two punch.


You Are a Know It All

Nobody likes a know it all.  I had a chief that I worked for in the fire department, we called him “Joe It All”.  He really wasn’t liked or respected.  Even if you are the smartest person in the room, you don’t have to constantly let other people know it.

As a business owner and a leader, your job is to make your employees and your customers the stars of the show.  If you’re the type that always needs the credit and the spotlight, your employees will most likely hate you and will not work very hard for you.  Why would they?, you’ll most likely hog the glory anyway.


You Are Afraid of Confrontation

As a business owner, you will have to step right into the middle of uncomfortable positions.  Whether it’s reprimanding (or firing) an employee, dealing with an angry customer, or even worse….a customer you have disappointed.  As the head honcho, your employees and customers will look to you when difficult situations arise.  If the thought of that gives you a tingling sensation in your belly button, maybe you should re-think being the boss.


 You Are Not a “Learner”

This may be the most important trait that dooms most business owners, though the rest of them do make it difficult to succeed.  Running your own business requires so many skills, most of which you will not have when you first start out.

The most successful business owners are the ones that learn new skills, learn from their mistakes and make learning a part of their daily life.  Ask any successful business owner how much more they know now than when they started their business and they will laugh at the idea of how stupid they were when they first started out.


After reading this article, you’ll probably still run out and start a business, even if you have many of the above traits.  That’s exactly what I did, despite having several of them (I still have a few).  The key is to learn from your mistakes, move on and try to improve a little everyday.

Check out what traits DO lead to a successful business, “Ten Keys To A Successful Business And Life”

photo credit: scottchan

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
7 replies
  1. Sandra Eamor
    Sandra Eamor says:

    Another excellent post. I think it’s also handy for existing small business owners to evaluate themselves against this list once in a while to see what areas they can improve on if they find themselves slipping into more comfortable routines.

  2. Gary Shouldis
    Gary Shouldis says:

    Thanks Sandra, I really think the last one, being a “Learner” is the most essential…..you have to be ready to learn something new everyday. Weekends and evenings is when normal people watch tv and sleep in late, when you own your own business, that;s when you should be learning something new. I gave up TV a long time ago, and I don’t miss it one bit.

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  1. […] don’t know how to delegate. You can learn this skill, but consider the following from Gary Shouldis of 3BugMedia: “As your business grows and you start to expand past a one man band, you will need to hire and […]

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