The Causey Consulting Podcast

10 Signs Your Business is in Serious Trouble

January 04, 2024
The Causey Consulting Podcast
10 Signs Your Business is in Serious Trouble
Show Notes Transcript

One common question I receive from coaching or advisory clients is: how do you know a business is doomed to fail?

Key topics:

✔️ Ownership sets the tone. If you are lazy yet you expect your employees to work hard, you are: a) a terrible boss and b) probably not gonna make it.
✔️ Does rejection crush your entire soul? Do you fly off the handle in a rage or burst into tears at the slightest rebuff?
✔️ Do you need the money or are you a spoiled housecat who won't even bother to catch a mouse?
 ✔️ If you don't believe in yourself and believe in what you're doing, no one else will either.

Links where I can be found:

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 Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey.


Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Welcome to 2024. We made it. If you're listening to this, if you're hearing the sound of my voice, that means we both are alive and well and we have made it into 2024. God help us we'll see what this year holds. Not to sound pessimistic. It's just, it's an election year in the US and I just know it's going to be a plethora of insanity. In this episode, I want to talk about signs that your business is in serious trouble, potentially even that your business is going to fail. Now, I will give my standard disclaimer here. I opine for your entertainment only. And that's it. This is not advice of any kind. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer, you need financial advice, go talk to some kind of certified financial planner or advisor, I'm not telling you what to do. And I'm also not sitting with a front row seat to your business and your finances. So I can't speak for your situation. I'm really talking about what I have observed firsthand over the years that led to failure. And I am still running at a 100% accuracy rate. Whenever I look at a situation and say, I give it three to six months, and this guy's rolling up the sidewalks, he's not going to make it. That's what happens. In less than a year they're gonna be out of business. I don't see this working in less than a year they're out of business and it didn't work. What did it we're not so but unfortunately, I apparently have a pretty good eye for being able to spot failure on the horizon. The great thing about that is if you think about a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, it can make you really good at being able to predict those potential weaknesses and potential threats. And that's important sometimes in gumdrops, lollipops land, we want to focus on the strengths and the good stuff. But we don't always think about where could we improve? Where could we garner more knowledge, etc. I came up with a top 10 list. However, this is not an exhaustive list. And these are not in any order. Whenever I was preparing to record this episode, I just sat down and started jotting notes. And whatever came in what order is the way that I'm putting this out. Because I don't do a lot of intensive prep work. I do in the sense of reading and conducting research. But when I turn the microphone on, I just go, I don't believe in having some highly scripted, let me read off of my script where you like a robot, people tune that crap out, and they want to hear reality, especially if you're tuning in to me, you you already know what time it is. So here we go. In no particular order. Number one, lazy, if somebody just has no real interest in working, I don't even know why the hell they would start their own business anyway. Because on some level, you have to know that it's going to involve some hard work, yet common sense is not common. And so for a lot of people, I think they really don't understand that it will involve hard work. And or they grossly underestimate the amount of hard work. Or they think, Well, it's hard work for other people, but it won't be hard work for me. So if somebody would rather lay around and play video games all day, or if they think I will own and operate a business, and I will hire other people to do the work for me, I will expect them to work hard, and I want them to deliver an outcome for me, while I sit in my office with the door closed and screw off. Or I'm never in the office. Anyway, I'm out playing golf, I'm out having lunch with the swells. But I expect my employees to work hard and put money in my pocket. I'll breeze through just long enough to collect the checks. But I don't want to actually work myself. That's not going to go so well for you. Now you may get to that point, if you become some CEO FatCat of a huge company where you have an executive office with your own private bathroom so you don't even have to toilet with the peons. You might be able to have some liquid lunches and Fridays at the golf course. But if you're an entrepreneur or solopreneur, and you're just starting out, know if you think that your life is gonna revolve around liquid lunches in the golf course. You're probably not gonna make it. Number two entitled spoiled too comfortable. That's literally how I have it written down entitled slash spoiled slash too comfortable. That can be somebody who maybe they grew up in such a way that their mommy and daddy gave them everything they ever wanted. They never really heard the word no, they never had to work for anything. It was just always handed to them. This can also be people I find that have a spouse or a domestic partner that caters to them. They don't really have to work, the business is not really integral to the operation of the home. They're not dependent on the income of the business in order to make it. One thing that I have noticed is that people who really rely on that money, it is bill paying money for them, their their health and well being is on the line, the health and well being of their children is on the line, they're gonna hustle a lot harder than somebody who's like, Well, I mean, we don't really need the money. I honestly don't even like coaching people that are in that situation, because there's no point. They're comfortable. They're like a spoiled fat house cat. And you know what I'm talking about. It's a different from a cat that has lived on its wits, and it will catch a mouse for you. This is a spoiled fat house cat. And it's like, I just don't want to have everybody feed me and cater to me and lick my paws in the sunshine. But I'm not going to kill a mouse for you. No, thank you. People that have that kind of attitude, I want everything done. For me. That's similar to category number one lazy people in some respects, six and one half a dozen, the other someone is entitled, they think the world owes it to them, they get in this mindset of if you build it, they will come. That's bullshit guys, plain and simple. Look at the major corporations that still advertise Google, Apple, Microsoft, AT&T. Even Amazon, there are people that have regular Amazon subscriptions, where each week or each month, certain products are just automatically delivered to their house with no thought involved. Those companies even though on the face of it, it might seem like well, they don't really need to advertise. Everybody knows AT&T everybody knows Google, everybody knows Mehta. Everybody knows Amazon, they still advertise anyway, that should tell you something, if you get into this spoiled mentality of all I have to do is build a website and put together a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and everybody will just come to me and do business with me because I like exist, you're probably not going to make it. Number three, the busy idiot. You may have heard Gordon Ramsay talked about this before on some of his shows where an owner or a head chef, somebody in the kitchen is just running around like a crazy person. They're busy, you can't say that they're sitting in the corner pecking on their cell phone playing. They're trying, there's effort there. It's just not being put into anything meaningful. I feel like I can speak to the busy idiot phenomenon because that happened to me many times in my first iteration of self employment, I felt like the busy idiot, I can remember many times falling asleep with my laptop in my lap and still open somewhere around midnight, and then getting up at five, to do it all again. And living on caffeine and sugar to try to make that happen. Lord knows I couldn't do that now with my heart issues and the medication I take, my heart would just blow out of my chest, I'd be dead in less than a week if I tried to do that crap. Now, sometimes nature slows you down, I guess. But I was a busy idiot. I was over here and I was over there. I also call into my practice screen mouse mode. I'm over here. And now I'm over there. And maybe this will work. And I'll talk to this person and all enrolling this webinar. And I'll do this and I'll spend his money on Oh, it's like you're all all over the place. It's difficult to settle yourself down. And really get into deep work and meaningful focus because you're freaking the eff out. So if you find yourself more often than not in busy idiot mode, where you've been scurrying around and you've been doing something, but you don't have a damn thing in terms of results or productivity to show for it. You might not make it. Number four is spending too little or spending too much. I know that when we're starting a business in the in the very beginning, we may very well be on a shoestring budget. I remember reading this horror story about this guy who wanted to branch out on his own. He had been working for a pretty well to do law firm in whatever city he was in. And he wanted to go out on his own. And he had it in his mind. Like I want to cater to these upper echelon people and everything needs to be top notch. And I remember reading that in particular, this one detail sticks out in my mind because it was so unbelievable. He spent $10,000 Just on his work desk. So he ran up an incredible amount of debt, trying to make his office space look very posh, very lush. And he didn't make it. So there is something to be said for being conservative in your spending habits. I am a big proponent of that I have been guilty of spending too much. Now. I never went and got a $10,000 mahogany desk or whatever the hell that guy did. But Whenever I would be in busy idiot scurrying mouse mode phase, I would go from coach to coach guru to Guru program to program, there's got to be somebody out there that has a magic bullet that has a magic pill, it


has a magic cure, there's got to be somebody who's gonna help me. So I spent money that I didn't have. And I really misunderstood what was going to happen at tax time, because I thought that all of these tax deductible items that I was purchasing would really help with the IRS. And spoiler alert, it didn't. It really didn't, it did not go as far as I thought it was going to. I remember expecting a big fat refund, and my accountant being like, Well, hey, we did a great job, because you don't owe and you're not getting anything back, we're completely solid. And I sat there in the chair thinking, Oh, shit, shit, I thought I was gonna get like a five or $6,000 Check easily to help Tide me over. And now I'm being told I get nothing. I don't believe in spending money that you don't have with the hope that maybe somebody's program, or maybe somebody's software or whatever they're promising you with the hope that it will pay off. On the flip side, if you really can't even put together a shoestring budget, I'm not sure that you're gonna make it. There are plenty of free resources for you to get started starting a blog getting a website together. I mean, if you're willing to get one of those free websites where you can't even customize the domain, and you do all of it yourself, you can get a basic start that way. At some point, in order to legitimize the business and to look legitimate to your clients, you will probably have to get out of the realm of free resources. That might not be happy news for you. But at some point, you're going to need to get into a rhythm of reinvesting some profits back into the business. As I said, with the analogy of advertising, even Amazon, and Google and meta advertise, you're going to have to have some kind of budget towards marketing and business development towards continuing education, potentially, for legal fees. If your business is in something that's hyper litigious, you're going to have to be willing to put some money back into the business, if you can't do that, if you're not willing to do that, you're probably not going to make it. Likewise, if you have champagne wishes, and caviar dreams, and you want to buy everything under the planet and put yourself into a massive amount of debt, you're probably not going to make it. Number five is often or always unsure of what to do. This is another sign of trouble. If I am in a strategic advisor or a coaching capacity with somebody. And most of the time, they seem to be a deer in the headlights, there's just not whatsoever that sense of improvise, adapt and overcome. Like, they're not even clued in enough to do a basic Google search on something that tells me they're probably not going to make it. If you are in an industry, or you've started a business, and you have no idea what the hell you're doing, you get up in the morning and you sit there and stare at a blank computer screen thinking I have no idea what I'm going to do today. That's a problem. And I would just humbly ask if you have no idea what you're doing, then why would you set out a shingle and start a business in an industry you don't know anything about? A point to ponder a question to contemplate. Number six would be giving up easily. Somebody that doesn't have much grit, the first time that they hear no, or they get a rejection, the first time that somebody is rude to them and acts like a turd on the phone or shuts the door in their face and says, eff off and go away. They just fold like a piece of paper and their whole day is ruined. I've heard Barbara Corcoran say that she can tell whether or not an entrepreneur is ultimately going to succeed by how long they spend feeling sorry for themselves. After something goes wrong. Do they get up, dust themselves off and get back to work? Or do they want to go cry in the corner for hours or days or weeks over one rejection that people don't want to go off and just completely fall to pieces over the slightest misfortune are probably not going to make it. If you if you just see a roadblock, and you think well, okay, all right. I can't get past this. I guess I'll just sit and do everything the hard way. I want somebody else to come and do it for me. I'm just going to say her like II or and say Oh bother. You're probably not going to make it. In the business world. There's going to be something challenging that gets flung at you on a regular basis. And if your default setting is give up and sit in the corner and cry, you're going to be in for a really miserable existence. Number seven is taking everything personally. So when you get those rejections, do you get really angry and fly off the handle? You know, as soon as you set the phone down or as soon as you delete the email, do you sound like a pressure cooker of obscenities? That bastard that biatch I can't stand this, do you go into a rage? Do you fall apart and start crying? If you are in that mindset, where every single person you talk to, in your mind is a biatch, or bastard. That's a problem. Over the course of time, that attitude will wear on you, and you will feel so miserable. Now, I'm not saying we don't have those days, if you work in anything that sales related, you 100% are going to have days like that, where you come home, and you're like, Man, I think the human race is completely effed. I just think that we are in terrible shape, and we are not a good lot. You're gonna have days like that. If everyday feels that way, if most days feel that way, if you're just always putting up hills, I know why that's a problem. And a lot of it comes back to how are you taking things, that person on the other end of the phone that acted like a complete turd, you don't know what's going on with them, maybe their spouse filed for divorce, maybe they found out that they have an illness, maybe they overdrew the checking account for the fifth time this year, you don't know what happened before you made that phone call. And so deciding that they hate me personally, they have something against me personally is not going to serve you well. Number eight, doesn't actually believe in the business. This is similar to not knowing what you're doing. If you're setting out a shingle and going into business, and you don't believe in what you're doing. You don't believe in yourself, you don't believe in the industry, you're just hoping to make easy money. Or you're going out thinking nobody's going to notice it's almost like reverse impostor syndrome. I don't believe in what I'm doing. I think this is all one giant shit show. But I don't think anybody else will notice. I think other people will be gullible and pay me money, you're gonna be in for a really bad time. If you don't believe in what you're doing, you don't believe in yourself, you think it's all a bunch of fraud or a bunch of hot air and nonsense, you are probably not going to make it. Number nine, burned out slash doesn't want to anymore. Maybe you have been in an industry where you worked for somebody else. And now you want to try it on your own. But you get out on your own and you realize I just hate the whole ball of wax. It's not that I'm burned out on doing this job in an office, it's that I'm burned out on doing this job, periodic TA. If you've reached that point of I don't want to do this anymore. You need to have a real conversation with yourself. And if you feel like that's too difficult to do on your own, you might want to include a therapist or a counselor to help suss that information out of you to help shepherd you through that process. But being trapped in a job a nine to five Monday through Friday job that you don't like that's bad enough. But if you get trapped in a 24/7 business, or you're working 60 hours a week instead of 40, and you're miserable. It's not a good way to live. If you conclude, I really, really don't want to do this anymore. You need to honor those feelings and figure out what's at the root of them. You would be surprised the number of clients that I have had in a coaching or an advisory capacity over the years that when it really boiled down, when you really distilled it down to the root issue. They didn't want to do the business anymore. Sometimes they're scared. I don't know what my parents will say, I don't know what my spouse will say, I don't know what my clients will say. They get very, very wrapped up in the opinions of other people. But when it all boils down, they don't want to do the job anymore. That is most definitely a point to ponder, are you burned out? Do you deep down really not want to be there anymore? Finally, last but not least number 10 has no commitment to the business and or the clientele. I know that we have had such a huge backlash against hustle culture, and rightfully so.


I think that bosses and FatCat CEOs who expect employees to care about their business as much as they do and to work and be there well basically living there like Lord Elon telling people just go ahead and bring a sleeping bag and stay here right over. That's That's stupid. If you yourself as the owner operator if you yourself as someone who is operating a freelancing desk to benefit yourself if you don't get the damn anymore and you have no commitment. That's a problem. Not about hustle culture and working 100 hours a week, but you're gonna have to work some. If you're the kind of person that every time there's a Sunday afternoon, you're gone, you're just not gonna sit there and do the work. You don't care about the clients. You don't care about giving them a good deliverable. You don't care about deadlines, you don't care about your reputation, you don't care about your reviews, you just want to get some money. I just want to hustle up, get some easy money and not really care about what's going on in the interim, that's going to be a problem. There may be some times where you have to work in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Or there may be a Sunday afternoon when you'd really rather be out at the local swimming pool or out at the local golf course when you have to sit there and work and you have to be disciplined enough to do that for yourself. Because if you no longer have a boss saying if you slip out here at two o'clock, it's your job, you're going to stay till five bucko. You have to be that person for yourself. There may be times when you can compromise, you know what I will go out and enjoy the sunshine for a couple hours. And then I will make that time up tonight after the kids go to bed. I'll stay up a little bit later and make that time up. You might be able to do that. But you're gonna have to have the discipline and the follow through to do that. So if you find that, really you don't have any commitment to the business, you don't have any commitment to the clientele, your customer service is absolute dog poop, you're probably not going to make it. Again, not an exhaustive list. There could easily be a follow up to this episode at some point. But hopefully this top 10 will get you started. As your food for thought. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.


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