When Business Owners are Too Proud to Take Advice

This is a very common and extremely damaging trait for a small business owner. I have seen more than a few business owners who think they have to be right all the time. They think that if they accept someone else’s input that they’re not the genius business owner they think they need to be.

One case was a coffee shop whose coffee was mediocre. They were the only coffee place in town though, so it was harder than usual for them to not do well. But any input was shrugged off. The place stayed looking out of date, the coffee stayed okay, their baked goods stayed a little dry and certainly far from making you crave them. But they wouldn’t admit they had a problem. They always blamed some outside factor which may be at least partly true, but how you react to outside factors can have at least as much of an impact as those factors themselves. The denial that they were responsible for their own success (or lack thereof) caused a long, slow decline toward going out of business.

Sometimes it’s the owners themselves. Some are rude and nasty. It blows my mind how bad some owners can be to their own customers. And I’m not talking about not putting up with an unreasonable customer who deserves a taste of their own medicine from time to time (even that has to be done professionally), but just a complete disregard for their own customers and then they wonder why their reviews are so mixed or business is declining.

Others are wonderful to customers but nasty to their own employees. This will drive away any employee who can find another place to pay them about the same amount of money.

Take criticisms to heart, think about it critically, and see if they’re right. If you aren’t the cheapest restaurant in town, then people not happy about the price should be expected. They want the cheapest and that’s just not what you are, you cater to people who value quality over cost per pound. Walk around your business and pretend you’re a potential investor. Look at the business critically. If you wanted to invest in a business, why wouldn’t you invest in yours? Is the look out of date? Does the selection give an unclear message about who your customer is? Do the staff care that customers are there or do they avoid them? What are you proud of? What are you embarrassed about? This perspective can help you recognize where you have opportunities to improve. Most importantly, act on those opporunities.