15 Warning Signs That Your Business Sucks

warning sign

Let’s face it: you’ve wondered if your business is going to succeed or not time and again. You keep on pouring your heart and soul into your business, but for some reason you aren’t making a ton of money.

Well, the sad part is there is no sure way of knowing if your business is going to fail or succeed. But these warning signs should help you determine your odds of succeeding.

1. You’re not making a profit

It’s easy to say that you have to make money, but in reality that isn’t true. You need to be making a profit. Bringing in a million dollars a month is useless if you are spending a hundred million. That means you would be losing ninety-nine million dollars every month.

Successful businesses make profit. And although you may not be profitable right now, you have to work towards it.

According to the Small Business Administration, most businesses fail in the first five years because they can’t make a profit.

2. You haven’t talked to a potential customer

Do you think your business is cool? Who cares what you think! All that matters is what your customers think because they are the ones paying you.

If you haven’t talked to a customer yet, you’d better get off your ass and do so. And, more importantly, don’t just talk to one; talk to a few.

3. You don’t love what you do

If you love your business, you are more likely to spend more time on it. And if you spend more time on your business, you are more likely to succeed. If you’re just in business to make money, there is a higher chance that you’ll get burned out and/or won’t work as hard.

Working 40 hours a week just doesn’t cut it when you own a business. On average, entrepreneurs spend 61.1 hours working each week.

4. You can’t take criticism

When a friend or a family member gives you feedback about your business, don’t get angry. Listen and try to really understand what they are saying.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to do everything they are telling you to do, but you have to at least listen. Who knows, one day they may give you advice that will change your business.

5. You don’t care about your customers

Customer service and support is something that can make or break your company. If you don’t care about your customers, they won’t come back and buy from you again. Remember, it’s typically easier to get repeat customers than new customers.

A good example of great customer support and appreciation is Zappos’ team. They have great return policies, and sometimes they’ll give you free next day air shipping.

And if you don’t think customer service is that important, Zappos was so good at it that it ranked number 7 in customer satisfaction in the US.

6. People don’t talk about your company

Word of mouth marketing is the best way to grow your business. If no one is talking about your company, then you aren’t doing a great job.

Advertising and paid marketing are great, but the organic stuff is what really helps a business grow. For example, people use Google because they heard about it from someone else. Since Google first came out, it never paid for advertising.

Out of all the marketing methods out there, word of mouth marketing is ranked as the most effective.

7. You’re not agile enough

The demands customers have change over time, so you have to adapt to them. If you aren’t agile, you won’t be able to adapt quickly enough, which means your customers will start going to your competitors who are adapting to their needs.

If you want to be agile, you have to learn about the 3 types of agility: strategic, operational, and portfolio.

8. You aren’t cheap

Lack of capital is the number one reason most businesses fail. This is why you have to be scrappy. Do whatever it takes to save a buck as long as it doesn’t cost you more than it is saving you.

In the business world, there are always ups and downs. Plus, there are some things, like recessions, that aren’t in our control. If you don’t save while you are making a good amount of dough, you won’t have any cash to get you through the tough times.

Ergo: Save money when you can.

9. You don’t know when to spend money

It’s good to be cheap, but sometimes you have to spend money to make it. For example, paying more money for talented employees is a lot smarter than paying little money for mediocre ones. Mediocre employees can lose you millions of dollars by making the wrong decisions for your business. If you don’t believe me, just look at how Zappos lost $100 million.

10. You don’t have a good lawyer

Lawyers are worth every penny. A good lawyer can save your ass from a lawsuit or protect you when a customer refuses to pay.

Never skimp on legal fees, and make sure you are working with a partner at a good law firm. If you can’t afford their fees, you can always bargain with them or come up with a payment plan.

11. You hate to delegate

If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll be limiting the true potential of your business. If you can’t trust your team to help out, then things will never get done quickly.

Plus, I don’t care how smart you are, you’re not a jack of all trades. You might as well delegate tasks to people who are better at doing them than you are.

If you don’t know how to delegate, read this.

12. You keep making the same mistakes

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. You just can’t keep making the same ones over and over again. If you learn from your mistakes, you’ll save a ton of money and time.

If you really want to learn from mistakes, you should learn from other people’s mistakes. Everyone makes them, so you might as well learn what to avoid using other people’s experiences in failure.

For example, you could always learn from my million-dollar mistake.

13. You hate taking risks

Sometimes you just have to roll the dice and take risks. Playing things conservatively doesn’t always work.

Switching up business models, laying off a whole department, or even moving your company location are just a few risky things that you may have to do. It’s too hard to predict what these risks will be for you, but when the time comes, you have to be willing to take them.

If you hate taking risks, there’s actually a risk associated with not taking risks.

14. You’re on your first business

If this is your first business, you’re likely to fumble a lot. I hate to say it, but 78% of first-time entrepreneurs fail. The odds just aren’t with you because you are stepping into a new territory.

And even if you are on your second business, your odds don’t increase drastically. Instead of having a 22% chance of succeeding, you’ll have a 34% chance of succeeding.

15. You can’t focus

It’s better to do one thing really well instead of doing a hundred things at a mediocre level. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Skype, and 37Signals are just a few examples of companies that did one thing really well.

Yes, later on they did start expanding their businesses, but, at first, they focused on mastering that one thing that set them apart from others.

You too need to focus your business and just do one thing really well. Don’t expand until you’re really good at doing that one thing. If you lose laser focus, you can jeopardize your business like Legal Zoom almost did.


I wish I could tell you that everything is going to be okay and you’re going to do well, but I can’t. The odds aren’t in your favor, so you have to look for the warning signs above and act accordingly.

Best of luck with your business! If you have any other warning signs that you want to share, leave a comment. 😉

P.S. Do you want to improve your business? click here.


  1. Great post Neil!

    Reading through the list, you are right on with each one. Perhaps you started with 5 warning signs, then you found yourself at 10 . . but you just couldn’t stop there and had to include 5 more.

    Certainly this is not a complete list and I am glad to see the Profit Warning Sign as #1.

    One more that perhaps is actually touched on in your 15 . . . Don’t blame the strategy if you suck at execution.

    Thanks again,


  2. Bradley Gauthier :

    Another great post!

    While all these signs are dead on, I strongly believe in number 6. Word of mouth is huge! Especially in the beginning. My initial clients came from absolutely no marketing. But rather my first client telling other business owners of my abilities.

    Thanks again Neil!

    • Brad @ Email Marketing City.com :

      Word of mouth is very important to the success of businesses – One more reason to keep your customers happy.

      After all, without customers you wouldn’t have any business! 🙂

    • Word of mouth is like free marketing. Satisfied customers will spread the word and you don’t have to spend money on publicity so much.

      • In fact, first business growth is totally depending on word of mouth based since the company will have low budget in marketing and advertising. They can only rely on this type of free marketing to grow at initial stage.

        • Email Marketing City.com :

          Well, that really depends if you are sinking any capital into the projects, then you might be able to utilize other marketing methods as well 🙂

        • Yes, eventually you’ll have to keep building and growing.

        • All business life depends on word of mouth. It can help you when you start your business but it also can help you improving your business and will bring you new customers all the time.

      • Email Marketing City.com :

        I agree with you there, word of mouth is a very powerful tool in any businesses marketing efforts.

      • Word of mouth is also good quality marketing…credibility is very high.

    • Word of mouth can spread like wild fire if done correctly.

  3. One I’d add is:

    16. Your staff and/or co-founders aren’t with you

    With startup companies, I’ve come to believe that staff/fellow founders are 60% of the battle.

    A strong and united team doesn’t guarantee success by any means, but a weak divided one means failure.

    • Nora McDougall-Collins :

      You are so right! I believe that there was a previous post about “bad hires” being a big reason why businesses fail.

      • Email Marketing City.com :

        Although, if someone isn’t working the way you thought they would – would it just be easier to fire and find a new person? (I’m talking about employees not startup partners 🙂 )

        Will all the freelancing websites I don’t imagine that would be too difficult.

      • You really need to be selective with who you bring on board.

    • I don’t think Neil is going to change his title with 16 now.. Anyway it is a good point to consider too. It is like a football team. We can’t score goals or win the game if one of the team member doesn’t do the job right.

    • This is why you have to choose your partner carefully because based on this relationship the business will succeed or fail.

    • I totally agree with you. It is hard to work when the people you work with are not on the same page. I have had this issue and it comes with people with big egos and really good friends.

      When they are your friends they feel like to feel the power and do what they want and not stay according to plan. If you tell them lets stay focuses they get defensive.

      So I guess a really good strategy on how to succeed is how to keep people on track without insulting them.

      • You need to learn techniques of how to reward your employees and such to keep them motivated and pushed.

    • Interesting thought, I’m going to have to go with you on that.

  4. Yogesh Sarkar :

    Great post Neil, I too am guilty of at least 3-4 of these signals, if not more! Hopefully I will be able to change course soon and not let my businesses tank.

  5. Dwight Zahringer :

    Good points Neil. More importantly is the point to hire good people. They are your business, the face customers see and interact with. If they suck and don’t care then that will transcend to the customer which will blemish your brand.

    • You are absolutely right Dwight! I often interview more than 100 candidates to choose one right person for a job in my company too. The time spend on interviewing these candidates is much worth when they can do more than what we expect.

    • People should learn that good hires will make the business work and bad hires won’t. This is why you have to choose carefully who are you hiring.

    • Yes but it’s your fault if they suck. You need to do a better job qualifying them.

  6. Need to add “Good Accountant” to #10…otherwise, great post!

    • Hahaha.. I think he missed that one. Currently, we are using auditing firm that manages our account. Of course, they will do their best to reduce our taxes, if not I would find other firm. A good accountant will definitely be a choice for affordable company.

    • lol, good point!

  7. I think the sign “You don’t love what you do” is the most dangerous one, either it’s business or job. It always sucks.

    • If you love what you are doing you will spend more time in it. Most people pay for hobbies. What if you web startup hobby starts making you money?

      I think you have to love it!

    • It’s true. I’m the type of person who hates to do routine job. I often fails in my new business because most of the time I got boring and tend not to do the job even I have plenty of time and resources. Luckily, I find a good solution by hiring some professionals to do this boring routine jobs.

      • lol, that’s very fortunate considering most people can’t 😉

      • It is great to hear that you have hired professionals for doing the boring routine jobs. I would always want to do that because I really like working on my site except that boring part of it but at the same time I do not want to give the share of money that I have earned in a long span.

        • Well it’s definiltely ideal for any scenario, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time before you get to that level.

    • Especially in the internet realm, it’s very important.

  8. Rich Angstadt :

    Neil, thanks for including so many helpful links in the post. There’s a lot of great research to back up your points.

  9. Dave Schappell :

    I think the trap many web startups fall into is the “we’ll build a lot of traffic and someone will buy us fallacy” so they don’t focus on generating revenue and happy customers, and in turn, profits. Until too late. It’s at that point that some make it across, but many others burn out in a horrible spasm of energy 🙂

  10. Shaun Sinclair :

    Hail to No.6 because the paid for stuff causes illusions, especially early on. Hockey stick growth curve FTW

    @ No.13 Its a good thing that I’ve been a nutcase since birth. Spontaneity FTW for life 🙂

    To all our successes….

  11. #13 you have to make smart risks. I think that is what that should be. You cannot just through money at something without thinking it might work.

    For instance I spent over 1.5 k on the design and some backend integration of my website. I had the visitors but did not have the community behind it.

    So I took the chance and paid for it when my business was only make 1/8 a month of what the total was. But great investment because now I have many members.

    So I think smart risks are good. Dont be stupid and take risks.

    • That is a risky step to take. If I get 1/8, I wouldn’t have investment that much at first place. You must be brave!

      • Yea but I saw the light. In my risk I make my money back in 8 months if nothing happens.

        This is a side business not my full time job and do not depend on that money so this is why I can take this risk.

    • Exactly, it’s sometime even scary but it’s about the risk you’re taking.

  12. Houston Web Designer :


    You are a champ. What a nice post you have written.

    These show true ethics a business owner should have otherwise there is no way one would succeed.

    Truly recommend this post to everyone !

  13. Deyson Ortiz :

    As always, thank you for sharing.

  14. Well said Neil. Most businesses fail as they’re unable to keep up with their core customers’ expectations and fail to listen to them. Just linked to your post from HowToPlaza.

    ~~ Sarah ~~

    • I feel sorry for your business failure. As long as you learned some valuable lesson there, you are on your way to the success. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks buddy… yes it’s very difficult for companies to stabilize.

  15. Well thanks for point of view. You’re for the most part right.

    Doesn’t really mean “business” or your “business” sucks. It just means you have a while to pull it together.

    Best find people who are interested in growing it.

  16. Great article. If I start a business, I will keep in mind the #14. That my first business will fail.

    Should I start a little business as a sideline just to practice because it will fail ?

    • You can always start with small steps. My father always advice my not to take big step in business. We don’t know how deep the water might be. So, keep it slow and steady.

      • Don’t necessarily start 2, just focus on building one and learn from your successes and failures.

    • Do not count on failure man. Start something that you think will work and try your hardest on it.

      For the side business I totally agree you should start it on the side that way if things do not work out you can learn from the experience.

    • Lol, might as well not even try #1 and start at #2 right?

  17. I worry when I work too much. Like why am I up at 1am in the morning. Rule #3 answers my questions. 61 hours. Now I shouldn’t feel so bad,

    Great tips…thanks

    • If you love what you do, then it shouldn’t feel like work 🙂 61 hours or 100 hours, it is all good!

      • Shaun Sinclair :


        Building muscle for hardgainers is the niche I am in. But it just happens that I have been wildly passionate about that for the past 12 years. And it so happens that it is a profitable niche. WIN, WIN!

        Work… I’ve never even heard of that word before. What is it???

      • Exactly, that’s why it’s important to do what you love.

    • Dude after my day job…. I love to work on my side job….. It is funny when I talked to my friend I am starting in another side business and I called him after work today and I ask him whats up what are you doing.

      He says “Working on our side project”
      I say ” Dude man you enjoy your weekend”
      He says “Working on this gets me excited and is my weekend”
      I say “We are one of the same my friend”

      But tomorrow I am going to party for the US to beat Ghana!

    • Lol, well that works perfectly. You work that hard because you’re committed!

    • Daniel - How To Make A Website :

      The best thing is to wake up eager to start working indeed.

      I imagine needing to force myself to work, it would suck.

  18. I think a lot of companies are started without even any research being done into the niche or that the business owner has no interest for the business.

    Go something you love!

  19. Cookies & Java :

    Agree strongly with the point about word of mouth marketing and it’s value.

  20. Winston Muller :

    Hey Neil, great post! First time visiting your blog, its beyond superb, keep up the awesome work.

  21. Irma Solakovic :

    Neil, I think it’s great you decided to help all of us who are planning on starting their own bussines in future or those who already have one but I have to say, tose are the facts most of us already know.:)
    I mean, it’s obvious you aren’t succesful if you spend more then you earn but…What if we try to run a bussines and do what we like, and we’re happy doing it but it doesn’t realy make some profit? You said we shouldn’t do something we don’t like but you also said if it’s not giving you money, leave it.
    I got really distracted by the fact that not all of people like engineering, for example, which is kind of guarantee for wise and safe future…you know what I mean.
    There’s no such things as predicting a succes. I think that in the end it all depends from how lucky we are..:)

    • Winston Muller :

      I think its true, success is not certain, but if you arm yourself with the knowledge and tools, success becomes a lot more attainable.

      I am always reminded of the quote attributed to various golfers, when someone said “Wow, what a lucky shot.”, and he replied “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.”

    • Irma Solakovic :

      hahaha:) good one;) How can you practice selling books for example:P hahaha:D

    • Michael Zwick :

      Luck certainly plays a role but there is a lot of truth to the statement that “luck is the residue of design.” While some or all of the fifteen signs are obvious, too many people overlook the obvious.

      I highly recommend reading Jim Collins’s excellent book, “Good to Great,” which showed the commonalities of companies that were for a long time good relative to their industries and the economy and then went on a sustained period of excellence. One such commonality, which Neil highlights, succeeding at the one thing you do best before branching into other things, seems so obvious yet too many ignore at their own peril.

    • The good news is that the more you put yourself out there, the more lucky you’ll be.

  22. sell textbooks :

    Great Post Neil! I have also found that it takes a certain type of person to really make it big out there. Many people have the potential but they lack the strive and motivation. Basically there are two types of people the ones who can and should lead, and the ones who should follow and take direction.

    • It does take a certain person… a person that’s determined. However, anyone can do it if they want.

  23. I’d like to give kudos to point #9, knowing when to spend money, as many small businesses don’t understand the importance of investing in marketing, even basic things, such as promoting yourself, your wins, the great things your customers are doing with your product, your thought leadership, etc. Often, owners can become overwhelmed by how to start marketing their business, because they lack the know-how, but there are some simple basics, such as writing press releases about all the great things you are doing, and posting them on your site, sending them out to your customers, giving them to your sales teams as a tool for a call blitz, etc. So don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started, you can be ‘scrappy’ as the author points out. A few smart marketing basics will go a long way!

  24. iPhone app developer :

    One can go on adding to the list. One thing is certain – believe in your idea and pursue it relentlessly. Someday, somebody will buy from you. If not, do soul searching and introspect to find where you failed. You will surely get the answer.

  25. Johnny Optimist :

    Good list as always. With so many different ideas / businesses out there as well as very different individuals trying to make it, it is always good to see a list that can apply to most businesses where anyone should be able to find something that applys to their situation.

  26. Lovely post! Most people mistake profit for turnover. You actually have be making a solid profit in order to call yourself successful.

  27. Michael @ Niseko Consulting :

    Neil, fantastic post – your comments highlight all the key aspects to running a successful business.

    One more item to add:
    #16 You’re not growing
    All entrepreneurs should focus on constantly expanding their business(es). In most markets, a stagnant business (whether it is making profit or not) is giving the competition an easy ride – keep expanding and they have even further to catch up.

    Agree with @Todd Mintz about having a good accountant too.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Email Marketing City.com :

      Growth is only possible if people know about your business or services – that’s why marketing is so crucial to any business, especially if the niche is undefined.

    • Yes Todd makes a good pont. Also I do agree with you in growing. Like a flower, if we’re not growing constantly, we’re dying.

  28. Sally Vaishnav :

    Great list. Every business owner should review this periodically to make sure they are not derailed. I particularly liked #3. if you don’t love what you do you are not going to succeed no matter how hard you try. I recently wrote a blog post titled “Are you giving your heart or just hands to your business” addressing similar issue. You can find the full post here – http://www.angelbusinessadvisors.com/blog/2010/06/are-you-giving-your-heart-or-just-hands-to-your-business/

  29. Hey, Neil,

    I agree with every one of those reasons. If you aren’t getting anywhere, crying because others say you suck, and are being a jerk to everyone, you may well just quit your business because it already quit on you.

    Great post, keep it up!

  30. Hi,
    Good stuff. Also probably one is better off even if one is doing very, very well presently to keep pondering on the above points so it can be avoided.

    And now hope to see 10 points on what you can do when you see those signs.

  31. latest gadgets :

    As far as business goes, one most important quality I feel is essential is “Patience”. You should try not to give up till you think that you have chosen something which is not going to click.

  32. This is a great way to guage what is going on for you and your business. You can keep it private but no matter what you’ll know what the answers are and where you stand. I work with self-employed and smalll businesses and this simple list is a good tool to pass on – it makes things more objective for the client.



  33. After some time a great post Neil

  34. Web Design LA :

    I think this list is not enough for a business now a days. Much more should be added. But yes this are basic things to be kept in mind. But after all this post has some innovation in it. What all say?

  35. Website Development in Kildare :

    Thanks Niel for sharing such lifetime tips and experiences with us… I keep waiting for your new post every week. This post took a little more than i expected.

    Anyways … again a great post. I think i need to be more scrappy and spend less until spending gives me relatively larger returns.

  36. Thanks Niel, I loved the post and I must say that few of these points are not only for our business but also for everything that we do in our life.
    I can relate to three-four points instantly which I really need to work upon to prevent my business from going down.

  37. Andrew @ Blogging Guide :

    Great List…The most important thing for me would be to be able to take care of customers. Customers are the lifeblood of your business, without customers you won’t have any business.

  38. Neil I got a question for you about #3.

    Taking criticism.

    When people tell me what they do not like about it or how I am running things I always defend myself on why I am doing it this way. So I take the criticism but I will show them why I am doing it this way. Is that wrong to handle the criticism that way? I do end up sometimes getting into arguments about that.

  39. Small Business Resource :

    I think one of the key takeaways here is that you need to let your customers (or potential customers) help define your product or service. A lot of unsuccessful businesses I’ve worked with fail because they don’t listen, accept and adapt to the customer’s needs.

  40. Web Design LA :

    I think “failure” is also a key for successful business. Until you don’t fall you do not realize where you were wrong and how not to repeat it. If you see most of the top entrepreneurs fall many times in there career.

    • Failure is a very good lesson for you to learn and understand from. It’s where you can polish and improve your skills.

  41. yeah those things are very important, the ones i find most important are, making money and enjoying what you do

  42. Ayush Kumar :

    Awesome Patel, you have mentioned almost every single point to be successful in business. I like 15th point, its very imp to concentrate on one business, I need to learn this 🙂

  43. Pascal Green :

    Great stuff there. Some real helpful but brief tips for the entrepreneurs! Makes you think and look at your own.

  44. awesome post. no. 15 is one of the best for me; you can probably come up with thousands of innovative ideas for the world, but all your funds, effort and energy will never go anywhere if they are not focused on one core thing you do best.

  45. Plumber Sydney :

    ther are so many first time business owners that fail. I think your 78% stat was pretty accurate. I have personally gone through the same experience as im sure most of you have. Good post. Thanks.

  46. choosing your goals and career in life is unusual but dealing to the person whom to be your partner is significant because, time may tell if the deal will achieved a higher percentage of failure, training is important and all of the point are true and knowledgeable. its not just enjoying what you do but be you to gained and set mind goal.

    • Yes because you’re stuck with what you do for the rest of life….might as well do something that counts.

      • Plumber Sydney :

        To add to that – if you are doing it for the rest of your life, you might as well be doing something that makes you happy…

        • I agree… if you’re stuck with it, don’t be miserable. With the options available to you, do something you enjoy.

  47. Harsharan Landa :

    Having a Daily To Do List puts your plans in order and helps keep
    your business to stay in line. As soon as you start to cross things off, you become a step closer to succeeding.

  48. I like your #8.

    Save cash for the tough times.

    Recessions occur more that you may like to think, have a look in Wikipedia and see for yourself. Its roughly every 3-4 years, that’s when you get to buy up your competition or their client bases as their going out of business.

    I’ve seen it before, business in trouble. You walk into their office the furniture is better than they have in their house, and art work is not a good investment for a business. You can’t pay the bills with it. An when they go bust it all gets sold at auction for a fraction of it purchase price.

    The frugal business owners are in the crowd buying up the items at a fraction of the retail price.

  49. çizgi film İzle :

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  50. hermes handbags :

    It’s good to hear that you only lacks 3-4 signals there. At least you are doing good with other 11-12 signals there

  51. Learn WordPress :

    I agree about the focus. It can be really difficult to focus on one thing, especially with so many things out there to do. I use to constantly jump from idea to idea and it made it really difficult to make any progress. Once I settled on one thing and stuck with it I finally started to see the results.

    • XD Web Solutions :

      Yeah, I sometimes struggle with trying to be a “one-stop shop” but then I just bring myself back to the basics. Once I establish myself in my market and field, then I can focus on adding complementary ideas 🙂 Good luck to you!

    • Exactly… when you have your entire focus on something, you can push it further.

  52. iPhone covers :

    How about “You only have one sales channel.”

  53. XD Web Solutions :

    Neil, I just HAD to read this article because I wanted to make sure my business didn’t suck! 🙂 However, I can say that in the beginning, I truly had a hard time trusting that others could do certain tasks the way I wanted them done; hence delegation was hard for me. But I did finally (and quickly I must add) learn the art of delegation and now have more time to focus on what I love to do most. So hopefully this article can help other entrepreneurs learn the error in their ways if they find themselves exhibiting some of these characteristics in their business. Thanks!

    • Delegation is a very important art to learn. Great that you were able to pick it up.

      • Plumber Sydney :

        That should be delegation and ‘outsourcing’. The combination of these really gets any business going ahead at full steam!

        • It’s a skill to be able to delegate effectively. Doing it though can help you drastically increase your business.

  54. iPhone 4 Case :

    Without risk there is no reward. I love taking risks and have been doing a lot more of that lately.

  55. I use to be 11., couldn’t delegate or lose control. However, I recently was able to hand over all web design and development and it helped 10 fold.

    • Net Age | Web Design :

      Delegating was something that took me along time to get comfortable with. Now I love it, as it serves to free up my time and energy. That initial letting go and trusting is terrifying though!

      • It’s a bit challenging to “let go” but once you do and you learn to do it right, you’ll go to the next level.

  56. Jeen Hao | Earn Money Online :

    Great post! I think you hit your readers (include me) awareness button! No questions, these are the mistakes that we should and must avoid.

  57. William Boren :

    Warning Signs That Your Business Sucks. You don’t spend time reading and studying educational resources to grow your business.

  58. Net Age | Web Design :

    I haven’t visited your blog for a while, Neil and you’ve been rather busy in my absence! From personal experience I can relate to criticism, and having to take it without attaching emotion to it. Never take criticism aimed at your business personally, but do make it a personal mission to improve on whatever shortcomings have been pointed out by a third party.

  59. James Glisson :

    Great Job!

    Admittedly, we are nailed on #1 above. We first published our site on February 14, 2010 and are not profitable yet. Your tips are helpful.


  60. Best Ski Resorts :

    Support for customer management and better customer service is the most important pillar of a good deal. They are the only source you deserve. So if you are not completely concern. They do not return or does not refer to you and what is not good business.

  61. Player Profiles :

    Best you should change the webpage subject 15 Warning Signs That Your Business Sucks to more better for your blog post you make. I liked the blog post yet.

  62. Google does one thing well? Not so sure…
    Seems like they have a finger in everything now, and doing a lot of it well (although, perhaps not all).

  63. centrophenoxine :

    Many factors are responsible to make your business successful, Even your every points are very important , But according to me if your are polite every where then you could be successful businessman. Because aggressive person get lose everywhere. So stay cool to be a perfect businessman

    • It’s hard to be “perfect” as everyone always has something to improve. That’s what helps you stay on your toes though.

  64. Very good article Neil, as they say – “one of the important things a good business man who know is when to shut down a business, coming to terms that it is not viable” . It is very hard though when you spend so much time and love on it, to wrap it up and call it quits. Guess it needs a lot of resilience.

    • Yeah, shutting down shop isn’t a failure in all senses. Lost opportunities can lead to new opportunities.

  65. Marine Chandlery :

    I think 9 is the toughest, when you don’t have much money spending it is difficult, but I guess that’s what separates the successful businessman from everyone else.

  66. College textbooks :

    Great tips these are definite signs that you are going in the wrong direction

  67. This might be like most things in life where people’s judgement is clouded by denial and inability to face the harsh truth. I guess that’s why business in general is so hard because the more detached one can be from common human traits (such as morality, friendship, trust), the better their chances at success are.

    • That’s the essence of business. But I would argue the point on morality, friendship and trust…you definitely can work those in.

  68. Hi Neil

    Definately good information to take into consideration. My opinion into these excellent 15 warning signs.

    1. If you cannot make any money at all, we need to change our direction. Sometimes a mentor will help.
    2. There are many ways to talk to customers or in fact even try to find a customer. Perhaps setting up an 0800 number and divert the 0800 number to your cellphone.

    Also the important thing is to advertise in a local directory or online. Possibly set up a call centre to drive traffic. Absolutely a winner. Then again you need to have a good product.

    There are also ways to go cold calling. For example I sold medical insurance for 2 years cold calling down the main streets of Wellington just by dropping into each shop and introducing myself.

    The product always sold because people had either been in hospital with no medical insurance or had experience a close family member go through an operation. People always bought from me because I enjoyed interacting and communicating.

    3. I believe in working hard and smart. This also ties into having a passionate for your business. This also can tie into making it big in a proven workable business. If a business works for example Internet Marketing. I see nothing wrong in throwing your line into the teeming fish waiting to bite or purchase. Why? because it works and has been proven. I suppose you can call Internet Marketing as one of the Evergreen Markets where millions of dollars are flowing from your website to your bank account.

    4. I believe in teaching people correct principles and let them govern themselves. I also take time to listen to constructive criticism. I mean it has to be constructive and not destructive. There is enough negativity in this world to divert peoples attention away from there goals. It is happening right now to millions of people. The key to overcome this is read good books or listen to inspiring people who will uplift, edify and inspire you. Negativity is a pattern of unwanted thoughts that creep into your mind from different mediums. For example I went to watch the latest transformers movie. My opinion. It was too violent. All I can hear in my mind was a lot of banging, fighting and the odd bad words. I wasted my $16.00. When negative thoughts start creeping in, play some inspiring music or sing an uplifting song. This will drive the neagtive thoughts out.

    5. I have figured out after so many years of customer service relations that if you can help a customer achieve his needs and wants you have won half of the battle. If you can follow up after your sale by asking how the service or product is enhancing there lifestyle you will have a repeat customer coming back for more.
    Another aspect of advertising is the 7 day right of return. Customers can return the product if not satisfied after 7 days. However this can be avoided if all the benefits were explained at the beginning of the sales process. The key is explaining the quality product or service.

    Thanks again Neil for a great post.


  69. great article .. I just love it

  70. sell textbooks :

    #13 is the stickler for me. 15 years ago, I would be willing to take safe, calculated risks (such as increasing my advertising budget without knowing if I’d get a good return, but figuring I’d get a good return because I knew they were a good advertiser, etc.). But nowadays, I find it hard to take any risk at all. I wonder if it an “age” thing? The older one gets, the less they want to take risks? Whatever the reason, what’s the solution?

  71. Great points, I completely agree. Keep up the good work 🙂

  72. Great article, Neil. I used to take criticism as something bad, as something made to harm me – until I learned to look at it from another perspective also; to see that I can grow and develop, get better and learn new things. I had to learn that criticism can lead to something good and not to take it so negatively and destructively.

  73. *with number 1, even if you’re not making money, if you’re not becoming rich in *SOMETHING* e.g contacts, readers, subscribers etc. than that’s more of an indication that you’re failing more than anything.
    Because of course it takes time to build up an email list or get that product out and such.

  74. Online Mastering :

    yea these are all reasons to get out of business entirely

  75. hey neil,
    it’s a very informative article indeed.
    Most of the people including me, have done lots of such mistakes. and i agree with you that positive words of mouth are most important.

  76. Good points Neil. More importantly is the point to hire good people. They are your business, the face customers see and interact with. If they suck and don’t care then that will transcend to the customer which will blemish your brand.

  77. mens fashion designer :

    Thanks for the new stuff you have exposed in your text. One thing I would like to discuss is that FSBO connections are built after a while. By presenting yourself to owners the first saturday their FSBO is usually announced, ahead of masses start out calling on Friday, you generate a good association. By sending them methods, educational products, free reports, and forms, you become a great ally. If you take a personal fascination with them as well as their circumstance, you develop a solid interconnection that, oftentimes, pays off once the owners decide to go with a representative they know and also trust – preferably you actually.

  78. NY Contractor Signs :

    Great stuff is available on this blog. My thinking is that, First of all you need to make your Business sign because it’s the biggest safety of your business than create strong plan before proper implementation.

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