Keep your feet on the ground so you’ll avoid the pitfalls of arrogance.
Business is growing and your bank account has plenty more commas and zeroes. Customers from faraway places are demanding your product and service.
And investment banks are beginning to inquire if you’d consider selling your company, or go public through an IPO.
Be careful. The more success you have, the more you’ll need to adapt to new risks and unforeseen challenges. Running a small business with thousands of dollars in revenue is different when your company achieves millions in sales and profitability.
Here are ways to keep your feet on the ground so you’ll avoid the pitfalls of arrogance.
Stay true to your core values
Remember where you came from. Discipline, hard work, and customer service are what brought you success, so you have to continually practice these fundamentals. Keep doing what makes your customers happy and keep striving for operational excellence. Resting on your laurels will lead to mediocre results. And if you’re not careful, your hard-earned business may go to your competitors.
Reject the notion that success is eternal
Success (or failure) is never final — just ask the people who worked at Enron. What matters is that your company continues to serve a vital need in the marketplace. And always remember that some upstart venture or kid working in his basement are trying to kick your ass. Whether you realize it or not, threats and risks surround your business. Being humble empowers you to properly assess the risks as you chart your course and take your business to the next level.
Keep the wrong people out of your circle
As your net worth grows, you’ll also need to mature as a person. Stay away from the wrong crowd. There are people who’ll entice you to use prostitutes; gamble your money; make risky investments; use drugs. Whatever.
Level-headedness is the antidote to vices. Remaining humble gives you the mental and emotional capacity to handle abundance, flattery, and overconfidence. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, you must respect the burden. Running a larger organization creates more responsibilities, and more employees are dependent on your company for their livelihoods.
The value of money is in its use — not in its possession
Sure, you now have wads of cash in the vault. But money in itself is a static tool unless you put it to good use. Being humble helps you realize that your bank account gives you the ability to make greater contributions and to add more value. For example, you may decide to buy new equipment to grow the business. Or you may decide to make matching contributions to your employees’ retirement accounts.
Buying a Ferrari to impress people you don’t really know only diminishes your net worth by that much, and it serves no other purpose than to allocate your disposable income to unnecessary expenses instead of making worthy investments or contributions.
Excellence calls for always doing your best
Coaching legend John Wooden said, “Never try to be better than somebody else but never cease trying to be the best you can be.” Similarly, you should strive for business success in order to serve people — namely your customers, family and other stakeholders. When people see that your efforts lead to a greater good, they’ll encourage you to achieve even more.
No one likes egomaniacs who work hard but only for selfish ends. These people have sharp elbows, and despite their material possessions, many are lonely and unfulfilled. Business excellence calls for doing your best to improve sales and profitability while helping and serving your stakeholders.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. — Psalm 37:11
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.