When business addictions occur and take hold, they are just as damaging to a business as a personal addiction is to an individual.
The reward for taking responsibility for your addictions are manifold, including creating positive learning experiences. As consequence, the rehabilitation of the business owner and managers and their business allows all parties to move forward to achieve their full potential.
The following are a number of business addictions which can be overcome if steps are taken early in their lifecycle.
1 Debt – once it is owed, whether you realise it or not, allows another party to control your destiny. Yes, there is good and bad debt. However, justification can always be given to restate bad debt as good debt on the grounds it was deemed necessary for the survival or growth of the business when it was taken out.
Once the concept of debt is accepted as a positive, it can become addictive. Unfortunately, the ability to reduce or eliminate debt always occurs at the most inconvenient time, i.e., when interest rates are increasing, or when you need to refinance, or have to sell valuable assets to repay it.
2 A focus on minimal cash in the bank -– may mean you run out of cash. As many businesses soon found out during COVID, or as technology companies are now finding out, without cash you may not have a viable business.
Banks supported by the RBA, offered such low interest rates in the past, they made saving an unprofitable exercise in the eyes of many people. Cash in the bank is often deemed to be lazy or an insufficient use of resources. In reality, cash is there waiting for an opportunity to seize a profitable prospect. As Charlie Munger says, “The big money is not from buying or the selling, but from waiting.”
3 A failure to protect reputation - in action, the loss of reliability or integrity is another way to lose business and/or increase costs for your business.
4 Growing to scale – is deemed to provide power and profits, however scale does not always lead to profits. What can also happen is that existing and profitable customers or clients can be forgotten in the rush to attract new customers.
5 A refusal to look at history – as we know this can be fatal as the lessons from the past are forgotten, or deemed not to be currently valid. Surviving business downturns and growing a business often comes back to understanding the lessons of the past.
6 A digital only focused business – in many cases may not survive long term. Most businesses require human interaction at a number of levels to survive and achieve their full potential.
7 Potential – believing it leads mostly to success is not always right. Too often however, potential leads to a loss.
When business addictions become entrenched, they are just as damaging to a business as a personal addiction is to an individual. Therefore, it is important to identify whether you have any business addictions. If there are, you need to take action as early as possible to understand if any negative outcomes will occur to your business.
Accepting and working on business addictions is part of the process of rehabilitating business owners and managers and their business. If this is achieved, all parties can move forward to achieve their full potential.