Enemies of revenue: How to keep yourself from limiting your own business

Date: November 7, 2017
Author: Kristin Zhivago
Green car front seats with an off-white steering wheel

If you own or manage a business, I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can be your own worst enemy. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and CEOs, whose personal behavior dictates the decisions that are made and the direction that the company takes. The strengths and weaknesses of the leader infect the rest of the company. Before you can keep your weaknesses from limiting your revenue, you need to identify them, so you can start to change your behavior.

In my years as a revenue coach to company leaders, I have found that these were the biggest revenue-limiters.


If it’s all about you, it won’t be about them—your customers, employees, vendors, and employees. If it’s all about you, you’re going to behave like a jerk.

Jerks always think that they are fooling everyone, but no one is fooled; it just takes some people longer than others to see the reality.

I will say that this is the toughest limiter to remove; being self-centered is a decision made in daycare or kindergarten; as in, “I’m not going to let anyone take advantage of me; I’m always going to be the one who comes up on top.”

It takes a major life conversion to leave this frame of mind and want to help others. Best of luck.


“Fear not” is very good advice. Truthfully, there is nothing to be afraid of, because if you just always do the next right thing, no matter what life throws at you (and life throws *&^!* at everyone), you’ll make it through to see another day. You’ll solve the problem. You’ll be able to keep moving.

We get fear force-fed to us all day long, because it’s what sells. These days people “buy” (or consume) fear more than they buy and consume food.

But if you take good care of others, your living and working lives won’t be fearful. You’ll be surrounded by people who love you back, and have your back.

In business, fear takes many forms, but the most common one is fear of the new. Business changes fast now; we’re living in the age of apps, and new tools pop up like popcorn in a microwave.

No matter what you’re doing now, there is probably an app for that, one that will make the process go faster. If you get stuck on a legacy system or process, and cling to it stubbornly even after better systems come along, your business is going to suffer.

Why? Because a new, upcoming competitor won’t have any such reluctance, and they’ll start to out-perform you, setting a new standard of excellence and meeting new customer expectations.

Embrace the new. It pays in the long run.


When I was hired as a rent-a-VP, where my assignment was always to turn around a marketing or sales department, the single most frustrating and opportunity-killing characteristic was  leadership indecisiveness.

While the CEO is afraid to move, for fear of making a mistake, or looking stupid, or “not having enough data,” or whatever, everything relating to that decision comes to a standstill inside the company. No one can move ahead. Meanwhile, the world outside the company—competitors, customers, technology, and trends—keep moving forward, fast.

You always have enough data to make a decision, especially if you start small. Find a way to test the concept. Find a way to keep moving forward. You can always backtrack and change direction when you get more info.

Thinking the new stuff is beyond you

There are a lot of business owners now who don’t think they won’t be able to learn the new stuff.


Learning as much as you can, as fast as you can, is not only fun and invigorating, it’s the #1 key to success—especially in today’s economy. (#2 is never giving up.) With all the information available now on the internet, you can pretty much learn anything about anything. No one and nothing can keep you from getting smarter about any subject under the sun.

And you do need to at least understand this stuff, if you’re going to manage it. I can’t tell you how many Very Sad Stories I’ve heard from business owners who have “taken their word for it” (whoever it was) when it comes to their digital marketing, and they suffered mightily for it.

Many thousands of dollars and hours later, they still had nothing to show for some specific effort that was supposed to bring in revenue, and they lost opportunity that went to competitors. If you haven’t already, please read my article on digital marketing, which will help you avoid having to tell your own Sad Story one of these days.

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