When I’m asked what every business should know to succeed, the answer is simple.

Your business is a direct reflection of you. As you experience personal growth, you will notice your business will grow as well. The two are connected. Even with a lot of experience in business, there are always new things to learn. I learned that from my first mentor. He was a successful chef and explained to me that even the dish will teach you something in 20 years.

I learned what it really means to take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in my business, the good and bad. This is a personality trait called locus of control. This refers to how much you believe you have control over your life as opposed to believing that what happens to you is the result of forces outside of your control. 

Identify If You Are An Internalist Or Externalist, And Change If Necessary

If you have an internal locus of control, you believe events in your life are primarily the result of your own actions. For example, when you receive the results of a test, you feel the result is because of your level of ability or effort. If you have an external locus of control, you attribute results to external factors like the teacher or the test.

This is the same scenario with business owners. What happens in most businesses is people take responsibility for the good results and blame others when something goes wrong. I was guilty of this for years. But that’s simply a disadvantage — when you blame others, you give away your power and your control over the situation. It’s the most common way to feel powerless in your business, and there’s nothing worse than that feeling. Many failed business owners blame everything and everyone else but themselves. They will even say, “I did everything I could, but if it wasn’t for this or that, I would have made it.”

The Best Business Owners Make This Mistake

I am an internalist, and I am responsible for my business, but I didn’t understand why there were still some moments when I felt powerless. One of my biggest challenges is with my employees. The hardest thing to control in a business is the employees. That’s because they are independent people. They have the right to choose what they are doing, and, of course, they are conscious of their actions.

We are paying them to do jobs. We provide them with safe environments and proper training, so we have some expectations of them. It is normal to blame them when they are not doing their job well and it affects your business and the quality of service you provide.

What really changed my business was when I started taking the responsibility for my employees messing things up. I’m sure many of you can relate to this. I even hear business owners say, “I wish I could do everything myself.”

A team can only be as good as its leader. I truly believe that everybody in my team has something good to offer because that’s why I hired them in the first place. When they are doing something wrong, I have to look at myself first and figure out how I am doing as a leader and what I can do better.

Take Responsibility, Even If You’re Right

For example, I had a cook in my restaurant who was arguing with me about the portion sizes. He didn’t believe me when I said a particular dish gets four ounces of wine, and another dish gets nine shrimp. After all, I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I should know. But instead of playing the game and trying to prove him wrong, I came up with a solution to make the portion sizes more visible and available for everyone and to make sure all my cooks have the instructions right in front of them. In the meantime, we have a recipe binder in the kitchen that has all this information. But I asked myself, “How can I make it easier than having to look in the binder during the dinner rush?”

I had to refocus and not blame my employee for the confusion. After all, it’s my restaurant, and I hired them. I took my own advice and put the responsibility for the situation on myself. My job was to come up with a solution, not prove this employee wrong. Proving him wrong would have been the cowardly approach.

By the very next shift, I had all the dish recipes in short form posted at the top of each cooler door in plain sight. Even the busboy could now execute some of the dishes. Now that’s a win-win situation.

My answer is simple when it comes to what every business owner needs to know: Take 100% responsibility for you your business. Trust me, you will feel more empowered and successful.

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