There are many reasons that business fail. Poor products, poor marketing, lack of market for the product, poor money management, poor management, the list of causes is quite long.

However, I might be adding another reason to that list one which I haven't heard of before.

Now it could be that it's not a common reason or it could be one that not many people own up to.

To be honest, I thought it was just me that suffered from this, but this morning a good friend and I were talking, and they mentioned the exact same things were holding back their business too.

I was surprised, because, well like me, they were quite extrovert, outgoing and always looked like they were successful.

So what is it that is holding us back and threatening our business.

We don't like to ask!

Now while that might not sound like much, it's a real problem, and it affects us in so many ways.

It stops us from asking people to give us their business.

It's not that we can't sell or won't try to sell, but it stops us from closing. Even when we do venture to that point, we stop at the first sign of resistance.

It's not that we don't believe in our products. It's because we feel that given people buy from those they know, like and trust then if wanted it, then they would buy it.

It stops us from asking for referrals.

This is huge because your network does impact your net worth. Even in my own business, I can see that 60% of all sales come from my network.

But I hate to ask for a referral; partly this is because most of my friends know what I do, and I assume that if they had friends or colleagues who needed my help, they would recommend me.

It's what I do for others, so I just assume that's the way it works. But it doesn't.

Lastly, it stops us from asking for help.

No one can do it all on their own. We all need help in some shape or form. But when you struggle to ask, you can end up struggling with the, even when there is help readily available.

So why not just ask?

A good friend and mentor of mine, Nicholas Bootham said in his book "How to get people to like you in 90 seconds or less" that the number one determining factor in whether or not people are successful is, the ability to speak up.

So I know it's holding me back, and I know that the evidence shows it's the one thing I should do to turn my business around.

Yet I struggle to do it.

I make that false assumption that other people are just like me.

That if they need something, they will buy it.

If they know someone who needs your service, then they will recommend you, and if they see you need their help and they are available, then they will help you.

The problem is complete of my own making too, firstly I don't ask, and secondly I think I give off the signal that I am doing well and don't need any referrals or help.

To be successful I need to get over this, and part of my journey involves writing this article, and that is my clear intention.

I would be interested to know, though, how many other people struggle with this, or is it just my friend and me.

Published on: Oct 19, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.