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How to Ruin Your Business in 5 Easy Steps

Updated: May 22, 2023

Focusing on nothing but money will keep you directionless and unaware of the challenges and obstacles until it’s too late

So…you’ve decided that you want to completely upend all of the hard work and mental energy that you’ve expended into getting your business venture off the ground. Maybe you’re just starting…kicking ideas around, seeing what strikes your fancy. Or, perhaps you’ve already laid some groundwork and are up and running. Either way, the good news is, it’s not too late to ruin your business! With little to no effort, you, too can become a failure statistic in the realm of small businesses, and all by following a few simple pointers.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has identified that only 50% of new businesses have a chance of lasting for five years or more. How would you like to be in the “failure” portion of that statistic? You can do it! And you’ll have lots of company as well. It really comes down to embracing a skewed perspective and looking at things with blinders on. If you can manage to do that, you’ll be well positioned to lose your bearings and get hopelessly off course. One of the most important things you can do to create this distorted view of things is to completely ignore what others who’ve gone before you on this journey have to say. Disregarding advice, lessons learned, and practical experience stories will virtually guarantee that you not only get to duplicate the mistakes of others, but that you can enjoy the pitfalls and mistakes that are unique to your journey, too.

Another important thing to keep in mind in order to sabotage your business is that focusing on nothing but money will keep you directionless and unaware of the challenges and obstacles until it’s too late. Get past all of the preliminary setup elements of starting a business, and then purpose in your mind that nothing at all is as important as making a buck. The more you chase money, the less money you’ll have to worry about chasing, and the entire thing may soon be a moot point if you manage to simply make your business implode because of your lack of focus on what really matters. This, coupled with refusing to take any practical advice from those who’ve advanced beyond where you now are, is the fastest route toward complete failure. But, to further your chances of crashing and burning, there are five basic steps you can follow to ensure that you never come within a mile of real success or stability:

Step 1: Start your business without defining your purpose. If you know how to do something, just let it at that. Don’t investigate further to figure out how you can translate that into a workable business model, or what will be required from a logistical perspective to actually make that an operational reality in the day-to-day. If you couple this approach with a blatant disregard for the proper documentation of all of the processes and procedures necessary to carry out your work, you’ll create a chaotic, disjointed, environment doomed to unravel. In this approach, the critical elements of your operations will exist only in people’s heads, and, when the day finally arrives that you suddenly, unexpectedly lose a significant team member, your entire organization will be instantly immobilized. This can help you to further aimlessly amble without any real clarity as to what you’re doing or why you’re even doing it.

Step 2: Don’t build a staff of like-minded people. This one’s easy – simply post a job position on an employee recruiting website and arbitrarily take the first people who apply. Pay as little attention as possible to the integral elements of any resumes submitted, and, when it comes time to actually schedule interviews, be sure that you approach them as nothing more than a formality. Rush through the interview without asking any pertinent questions that would provide any perspective on the type of work ethic the job candidates possess or even why in the world they want to come to work for you in the first place. One of the great byproducts of this is that you’ll absolutely crush any chance of ever developing a cohesive business unit, and you can pretty much kiss collaboration goodbye.

Step 3: Fail to determine your market niche. This is best accomplished by simply presuming that you are wonderful and that every product and service you offer will be exactly what the consumers in your market have been waiting for. Pay no attention to those who talk about the importance of location or geographical relevance – just find the first rental property in the first place you can and throw caution to the wind. Make absolutely sure that you don’t invest even 5 minutes into exploring what everyone else is doing in the local market. To ensure a complete lack of consciousness, it’s also important to pay no mind whatsoever as to whether or not you’re duplicating the services of other businesses. Just plow ahead and operate under the belief that everybody will want what you have to offer, even if that’s completely removed from reality.

Step 4: Don’t invest in developing your infrastructure. If at all possible, try to operate every day like it’s still 2005. Be mindful that you don’t accidentally invest capital into new technology or equipment, and shy away from any kind of modernization whenever you can. If at all possible, try to live in the fear of new technology – be suspicious of anything that carries the potential of improving communication, consolidating business operations, and creating unity within your team. Keep people as unproductive as possible by having them use outdated and labor-intensive methods for doing their jobs. This will also carry with it the benefit of rendering you completely inconsequential to your competition and allow them to pull even further ahead of you than would have normally been possible.

Step 5: Ignore what your clients or customers have to say. This is the biggy – the last thing you want to do is to gather any kind of feedback from the people you serve. If you were to somehow find out what kind of experience they had when doing business with you, you might suddenly find yourself in the unenviable position of having to make changes. This could mean having to actually tweak the products or services you offer or needing to develop a new delivery method. You can avoid any possibility of this by making it virtually impossible for your clients or customers to even get in touch with you. Be certain to not have any social media presence whatsoever, and, if possible, don’t even have a basic website. And, whatever you do, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER provide those you serve with any type of survey. The less you know, the better.

Pretty ridiculous, huh? And yet this happens over and over again. Intelligent, creative, hard-working people launch business enterprises only to see them completely blow to smithereens. And the great tragedy is that all of this is easily avoided. The poor choices entrepreneurs make are often completely invisible to them, and this causes a gradual downward trajectory that’s almost impossible to pull out of. Not being connected and open to the viewpoints of others both causes and fuels the deterioration of the enterprise, and any realization of what’s happening will usually fall into the “a day late and a dollar short” category.

The remedy for this mess is pretty straightforward – networking, cultivating a healthy team dynamic, providing a proper structure for everyone in the company to offer input, clearly documenting how everything is done, and finding creative ways to communicate the mission and vision of the business to the community it serves are the best elements of a platform for a stable company. Don’t simply get past the preliminary setup steps for launching your business – invest in purposefully looking at the bigger picture. If you do that, you may well discover that the greatest success is simply knowing who you are as a business and ensuring that everything that should be done is being done, each and every day.


To gain a deeper perspective on the overall health of your small business or nonprofit, visit to to download your free copy of the PDF, “Taking Your Organization’s Temperature.” In the meantime, visit or call us at 240-329-9387 if you'd like to schedule a Power Hour to discuss your business development needs today! Then, make sure you check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. Each episode is designed to inspire, empower, and transform you and/or your organization.

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