Success Unfiltered Podcast

red flags

Do you see any red flags in your business? What about those hidden red flags? 

Maybe it’s accepting a less than ideal client. Or perhaps an investor who just isn’t the right fit for your business.

Those red flags are like a wakeup call for you in your business: they are at that moment where you realize things aren’t quite right.

When we’re so invested in business, creating, and making our dreams happen , it’s hard to pay attention to those red flags. Let alone try and spot them before they happen.

Payroll has to be made, and investors need to know what’s going on with the top line revenue. Customers are asking for new products that don’t quite fit with the mission of your business, or they’re asking for services that distract you from your main mission.

You may accept a client who pays you $50,000, but the cost of doing business with them is so much higher, because they end up taking all of your time so you don’t have time to serve other clients. 

When I still had FITzee Foods, I often ignored those “wake up calls.” AKA red flags. I’d choose to see those red flags as if they were another color, maybe green flags, and push forward.

Choosing to see those red flags as a different color, like green,meant that I didn’t make the best business decisions, and I ignored those wake up calls that I had been given, which ultimately ended with my closing FITzee Foods after almost 10 years in business.

Anna David, a freelance writer for many years, heard a constant round of NO’s as she pitched countless editors. As she heard NO after NO, and found herself working with less-than-ideal-clients. She learned how to recognize warning signs, and see them instead as a wake up call and redirection towards the best choices for her business.

But how can seeing and understanding red flags help you in your business? Here are a few things that will help you. 

How to See Business Red Flags

Ever miss a red flag?

We’re often so deep in our business that we don’t see (or maybe ignore) the alarm signals that are going off right in front of us. In fact, we like to look at them as if they are a completely different color, or just an indication of an obstacle to be overcome.

The key is to be on the lookout and ready for those red flags!

NO Can Be a Business Red Flag

A NO can be a great red flag. In fact, many times those NO’s are a redirect into a better direction for you.

It’s hard to see those NO’s as warning signs. If you’re an entrepreneur, you know what it takes to survive. You have to be, as I say, “annoyingly persistent” or “professionally annoying.” Us entrepreneurs know that you have to learn to never give up, if you want to reach your version of success.

A Bad Fit can be a Red Flag

If you’re dealing with a less than ideal client or investor, that might be a red flag.

In fact, choosing to work with a client or investor that is a bad fit can cost you thousands of dollars. 

You may get a lot of money in the beginning, but the cost can be much higher. What if you began working with a less than ideal client, and missed out on the opportunity to work with an ideal client, simply because your client roster was full with less than ideal clients.

If you’re working with someone who is a bad fit, you’re also signing up for a lot of stress! Save yourself the trouble and work only with the people who are a good fit for you.

Embrace Business Red Flags

Anna David said something profound about red flags: “They’re God protecting me, and directing me away from the wrong choices.”

Whether it be a bad client, or choosing the wrong investor, that information is there to help you find the best YES for your business.

In fact, leaning into them, and the lessons that they are teaching you, will help you to be able to make the best business choices. Instead of fighting harder in the face of NO, what would happen if you stepped back and looked at what the NO was trying to tell you?

Maybe an investor just said NO. Or maybe you had a failed launch, or NO one bought the course that you had spent weeks creating…

Pushing harder may not be the right choice: it might be time to evaluate what that NO means, and what you were meant to learn from it.

How to Respond to a Business Red Flag

Hearing NO is hard. In the world of entrepreneurship, we all have to learn how to handle NO and rejections. Constant NO’s and rejections are hard to deal with.

You can more easily handle those NO’s and rejections when you know who you are, and who you are best suited to serve. 

If you’re facing a NO or even just some red flags, here are a few important things to remember:

  • Know yourself.
  • Know what you want to accomplish in your business.
  • Know who you are best suited to serve.
  • Know your boundaries.
  • Don’t deviate from your path. Stay on track and say NO more often.

Don’t be afraid to take time to evaluate those business red flags and what you can personally learn from them. You’ll experience hard times in your business, investors who call at all hours of the day and night, and customers who may not be the best fit for you and what you have to offer.

In Conclusion

What do you do when you see a business red flag? Do you take the time to evaluate what the red flag means for your business, or do you take it as a cue to push forward harder in your business? If you’re facing a business red flag, I’d like to challenge you to take time to review what that red flag is trying to tell you.

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