hall of fame
Dan Antonelli

What happens when business owners are blinded by their past successes and can’t see beyond their ego? They get beat out by those hungry for strategic expertise that will move them to the next stage.

These “Mediocre Business Owners” rationalize past success as a justification for today’s complacency. Unfortunately, this lack of proactive planning often returns to haunt them. This complacency runs through an owner’s psyche, impacting nearly every decision. Successful business owners don’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they keep an eye on competitors, pursue innovation and get help when they need it.

Poor branding or logo design is one example of a problem that stymies a business. Countless small businesses continue to underestimate the impact of branding on their bottom line. One of my favorite quotes around the office is, “Success in spite of a poor identity is not a valid reason to perpetuate it.”

Success in spite of a poor identity is not a valid reason to perpetuate it.

In some cases, the mediocre business owner simply avoids or fears change. After all, why fix it if it isn’t broken? They worry that reinventing their (mediocre) brand identity might confuse customers and negatively impact their business. They hesitate to adopt new technology because it’s an unknown. They pour thousands into their old Yellow Pages ad because “it worked before.” As a result, they maintain the status quo rather than embracing the ideas offered by qualified professionals and business mentors.

Sometimes, the mediocre business owner is just defensive. Rather than viewing negative employee and customer feedback as helpful, they are easily offended and insist upon doing things their way. Successful business owners value negative feedback and utilize it as a catalyst for future growth.

Seeking advice from professionals outside your realm of expertise is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength. After all, running a small business requires an owner to wear many hats, and how can one reasonably expect to be an expert at everything? Unfortunately, the ego of a mediocre business owner prevents them from understanding this.

For the mediocre business owner, the truth hurts too much to acknowledge.

Moving your business forward isn’t about surrounding yourself with a team that tells you what you want to hear and massages your ego. For the mediocre business owner, the truth hurts too much to acknowledge. It’s easier to simply ignore or refute it. David Ogilvy famously said, “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it.” I can tell you for certain that our agency’s best work has been produced while working with clients who trusted us enough to let us do our job.

Don’t be blinded by your own success or your own ego. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of experts, and in turn, watch your business grow more than you ever imagined. Or choose the status quo, and watch successful businesses owners — who surround themselves with a great team — slowly chip away at your market share.

The content in this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Entrepreneur offers advice, insights, profiles and guides for both established and aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.

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