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If you run your own business, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the kinds of decisions you can make that will increase your chances of success. There’s no doubt that knowing what will boost your success is important, but it’s only half the story.

You could end up sabotaging yourself if you don’t also know the kinds of things that could end up ruining your business. Here are five things you should be on the lookout for that can end up destroying everything you’ve worked hard for.

An Audit

A lot of pieces go into managing a company, especially when it comes to cash. Regular audits are important, but they can also spell disaster.

If you don’t know what an audit will entail, which means you didn’t plan for it throughout the year, you could find that your finances are in real trouble. Just like it’s easier for students to keep an A than it is to earn one starting with an F, so too is it easier for a company to remain in business when they don’t wait until an audit to hear the bad news.

It’s not just finances either! A SOC audit could uncover some real problems with the internal controls of your business and how your business works with vendors. It’s important to plan for audits throughout the year so you aren’t faced with a huge surprise when it is finally conducted.

Not Hiring, or Not Supporting, the Right Employees

Many businesses go the way of the dinosaurs simply because they don’t hire the right people. Experience counts, but it isn’t the only thing you should look for. You should look to hire employees who have soft skills that include:

  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Writing skills
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Persuasion

You also have to think about ways you can support your employees. If you don’t keep your employees interested and engaged, they’ll start looking for a job elsewhere, leaving you with the need to hire, and train, new employees more often than you should.

Not Reading the Small Print

When was the last time you read the small print when creating an account on a new website? Or when a service provider updates its privacy policy? There’s no doubt that reading this kind of information is a real drag, but it’s an absolute must if you own a business.

For example, if you don’t read the small print, you may not realize that your website developer owns the intellectual property of your website. That can spell disaster if the company goes under and they take your website with them.

Whenever you work with a third-party vendor, make sure you read the small print. It will also ensure you don’t uncover any surprises when your company is audited, as was discussed above.

Theft

Theft is something that many businesses deal with. The most common form of theft takes place when a company doesn’t hire the right people. Those people then steal cash from your business.

That isn’t the only kind of theft you have to worry about. You also have to worry about business identity theft, especially because it’s more likely to end up sinking your business than basic money theft.

Competitors in your industry can steal your intellectual property and develop products and services before you do. Business identity theft can include an outsider using company information against you, and it can also mean ruining your taxes, which can take years to untangle with the IRS.

Not Having an Overarching Vision

When you first started your business, you probably had some grand goals in mind. Unfortunately, as the day-to-day stuff takes over, you’re more and more likely to forget about that initial vision. However, it’s that vision that can help make sure your business remains successful.

It all starts by making sure you have a solid business plan with goals and actionable objectives before your doors even open. Then, you need to schedule times throughout the year to visit these goals and assess your progress.

You might discover the goals you have aren’t propelling your business forward, and that’s okay! It won’t spell disaster for your business if you’re able to come up with new goals that fit your vision.

Sometimes, knowing what kinds of things can ruin your business can help you figure out what you should focus on. By keeping these five things in mind, you can conquer whatever challenges are thrown your way.