Take the Poll: What’s Holding You Back from Success?

Once again, it’s time to hear from you about what’s on your mind about your business.

Most of us who are small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to reach a point where something gets in the way of growth. At some point, we stall or slow down.

I’d like to know: what’s holding you back from being more successful in your business? What’s preventing you from growing to become a bigger or more successful business, and achieving your dreams?

Let’s cut to the chase — please take the poll:



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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

17 Reactions
  1. Got my vote in. This should be interesting to see how the results turn out.

  2. I’m interested, too. So far, it seems to be two very distince areas . . .

  3. Since I’m still in the planning stages of my business, most of the choices didn’t apply to me, but I hope you don’t mind me voting anyway, as lack of funding is still one of the biggest hurdles that I need to overcome before I can launch my business.

  4. The people paradox was my biggest challenge in my last role- looking forward to the results!

  5. Like any poll, this could probably benefit from additional questions that clarify size of business, stage of development, etc. Otherwise, pictures painted and conclusions drawn might not be all that accurate.

  6. Wow. Interesting results. I would have thought the 2 questions about human assets, combined, would have been the number one thing holding them back from success.

    52% of those responding said…access to credit or sufficient cash-flows is THE one thing holding them back from success speaks volumes.

  7. I wonder if some venture capitalists and business angels are reading this post… It has been my experience from a small business in Sweden that it is hard to raise external capital. I thought it was easier in America, but I could be wrong.

  8. Most of the items in the poll were not reasons (or ‘obstacles’), they were excuses. If I wanted my business to grow, or grow at a faster pace, I know I’d have to do some things that I don’t really want to do, or I’m too lazy to do. The list of obstacles are all easy (or possible) to overcome… after I decide that is what must happen. My point is that the biggest obstacle is the face I see in the mirror. I accept that I am my best friend and my worst enemy. This is not to suggest that I am unhappy with myself; but that I accept the responsibility for what I do and do not achieve.

  9. Well – I have to say that I agree with a lot of what Robert said. In any environment, in any economy there are businesses that thrive. So with lack of cash flow and funding literally blowing every other reason out of the water – is this because they don’t have enough profitable customers or because they can’t run their businesses profitably?

  10. Capital, capital, capital. Without out, you can’t market. You can’t market, you don’t get new business. You don’t get new business, your success is held back.

    I just suck it up, tighten my wallet and keep on moving.

  11. I cast my vote. I’m excited how this poll will turn out!

  12. I like Robert’s comment above – we naturally prefer to frame our failures as being caused by factors external to ourselves and our successes as being caused by our own abilities. In your poll “lack of funding” currently tops the list – but is “lack of funding” a symptom of a weakness in the business which prevents sufficient cash generation for organic growth or prevents potential investors having sufficient confidence in your business?

    Nine times out of ten obstacles to growth are some combination of a weakness in the inherent business model and a failing in the current leadership (including the inability to craft appropriate market positioning and organization development strategies)

  13. I’m also a fan of Robert’s comments. My vote, “managing people” doesn’t translate to internal people issues with our business.

    Our challenge is obtaining new business — managing the external people — that is, getting to the right buyers, then getting a relationship started to then make a sale.

    We have a unique product, and it takes some “existance education,” letting the market know we exist, managing expectations about our product and what it can accomplish for them. In this regard, our efforts reaching out to people, effectively “managing” our potential customers, is often an emotionally exhausting process.

    Thankfully my partner and I have each other, so we share the challenge and keep each other motivated to power through the tough stuff.

  14. Nothing is holding me back. Its a matter of believing that nothing can hold me back is what is holding me back.

    Makes sense? No?


  15. Small businesses are notoriously underfunded so it’s not surprising to see the high number of votes for ‘lack of funding or insufficient cash flow’. It’s hard enough to raise the funds to start up; but growth costs (time, resources and money). As business owners, we need to make choices about where we want to spend our time, resources and money! The decision making process is often what holds us back.

  16. Robert (and others) makes an excellent point about throwing up excuses.

    Sometimes we business owners and entrepreneurs are our own worst enemies, and we can “talk ourselves into failing” if we aren’t careful.

    Still, even though I consider myself success oriented and not given to making excuses, every single one of the items in the poll are conditions I have had to deal with. I just try not to use the items as excuses to have a “pity party” for myself. 🙂

    But on the other hand, not having funding or not having the right technology can in fact cause a business to grow more slowly. Those things affect my business’s pace of growth.

  17. I wonder if the current Wall Street credit crisis has something to do with how many people are responding on the lack of funding choice????