Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Don't Be A Business God!

It's the easiest way to fail ...


Have you ever met someone who you thought was too arrogant for their own good? You know the sort, they strut around behaving like they are god's gift to their own business! I know I have met people like that ...

If you think you're a business god then you could be heading for failure!

If you think you're a business god then you could be heading for failure!

copyright: solerf / 123rf stock photo

The problem is that quite often, people in business become arrogant and complacent. I don't know why and I am sure it is not a deliberate choice. I think often it is a slide into a peculiar mentality, a sort of mental haze that makes you ignore common sense and believe in your own importance!

OK, so maybe I am over-exaggerating by calling this arrogance rather than just complacency but this is actually an important issue.

Think of these scenarios:

  • Your business has been going for a few years, you feel pretty comfortable in your place in the world and there aren't any major issues that you need to deal with. Because of this you don't bother with getting regularly monthly or quarterly management accounts (or with a business mentor or going on business development courses, etc., etc.).

    But cashflow has been getting tighter and tighter. Then your accountant gives you your annual accounts and it shows a loss or only a minor profit and suddenly you wake up and you have problems! Sounds familiar? I have seen this situation quite a few times.

  • Or, you have been jogging along in your business and all of a sudden two or more employees leave unexpectedly and in quick succession. Now losing an employee every so often is part of being in business. So losing one is just unfortunate, losing two or more closely together is a sign your business is failing.

    Any business that fails its employees will also be failing its customers and, very importantly for the owners, will also be failing them too! Again, I have seen this happen many times before.

So don't be arrogant or complacent!

But hang on, being really practical here, what can you do, this month or next, to make a difference to your business or to remind a fellow business owner what to do?

Firstly, every business owner needs to check how they are doing by looking at the numbers within their business on an interim and periodic basis. Don't get complacent about your numbers; know them and understand what they mean. It is no good waiting until a few months after the end of your businesses accounting year end to see the annual accounts and realise what the state of your business is.

Every business needs periodic information, preferably monthly but quarterly if you are a stable business. Even the smallest of businesses should get these numbers regularly, because otherwise, you have no means of knowing where you are and, more importantly, of knowing you need to tweak and change things as you go along.

"If you have employees, you need some way of measuring team morale!"

This could be an app or regular survey, it doesn't need to be complicated or expensive and is actually quite simple to do, but this gives you an early warning system. Sure you can go around asking people face to face ... but will you get the right answer by putting people on the spot and will you ask them every single month, month after month?

So have a system, some means of regularly touching base and asking for feedback. Then monitor the feedback and use it as a way of identifying dissatisfaction - and if you have any concerns, have a face to face and private meeting to talk it through and take action.

And every business owner should keep learning! Nobody knows everything and certainly there is always more to learn. Not only that, but progress and change happens all the time - it is a business certainty that change is constant. If you aren't changing, even slowly, then you and your business are turning into a dinosaur and risk going extinct!

How many articles or books on business development have you read in the last 6 months? How many webinars, workshops, lectures or training courses have you attended in the last 6 months?

And finally, I think every business owner should have a business mentor! It might be a business coach, or your accountant or a business person you look up to, but you should have someone who you trust and respect to be helpful, otherwise you will constantly be looking at your business through rose-tinted spectacles.

Get that reality check and don't be sitting on your pedestal above everybody else. Share your results and ask for your mentor's opinion on both them and yourself.

"Do you know someone who thinks they are a business god?"

I bet you do! Be helpful and share this article with them. They might not take notice but equally, they might! If you recognise yourself or your business in the points raised here then do something!

You could always call me on 01234 752 566 and see how JVCA can help ...

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566