It's not easy being the owner of a small business. First, simply getting a business started and running well can be a real challenge. Putting together the cash you need to get things rolling--and hiring talented and engaged employees--is often a difficult task.

Second, the numbers are stacked against you. As the U.S. Small Business Administration points out, only about 50 percent of businesses survive long enough to celebrate their 5th anniversary. Third, some owners simply make mistakes that end up costing them big time. While some mistakes can be turned into positive learning experiences, others may eventually lead to the death of their business.

For the past 6 years, Brother International--the maker of printers, scanners, and other office gear--has conducted a survey of small business owners. In its latest survey of 500 U.S. small business owners of companies with fewer than 100 employees, Brother uncovered the 4 worst business habits of small business owners. These 4 bad habits include:

1. Taking on too many roles and responsibilities

No one person can do everything required to run a business--and to run it well. It's just not possible. Learn how to let go, and to delegate key responsibilities to your people. Not only will you free up more time for yourself to do the important things that only you can do, but you'll provide your people with valuable opportunities to grow.

2. Not taking enough time off

When you're a small business owner, it can be incredibly difficult to let go and leave your business in the hands of others--even for just an occasional long weekend. This is a recipe for disaster. We all need to take time off, unplug from the business, and recharge our batteries. Schedule regular vacations, and make a habit of leaving your work behind.

3. Not separating work and personal life

It's increasingly hard to separate our work and personal lives as smartphones and social media increasingly dissolve the wall between the two. However, it's incredibly important to set aside some non-work time every day for those you love--and for yourself. When you do, you'll come back to your work energized and better than ever. And you'll build your important personal relationships with family and friends.

4. Micromanaging

No employee likes an overbearing boss--including, I'll venture, yourself. You don't like being micromanaged, and neither do your people. Give them clear assignments and goals, train them well, give them responsibility and authority, and then get out of their way. The results will surprise you.

Published on: Jul 16, 2015