Some business owners are like ostriches. They bury their heads in the sand. I have talked with owners who owed millions in debt, were 120 days late on their accounts payable, and couldn’t price and order correctly – and they still looked at me like I was crazy when I said they should sell and get out.

What was I talking about? They had no problem. Hell, the company had lived on this precarious edge for years. This time was no different from any of the other bad spells. It would all be over soon. After all, they had always recovered before.

If you own a business, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have enough money in the bank to pay one month’s worth of bills?
  • Are my sales going up or down?
  • How are my margins?
  • Is my bank considering pulling my line of credit?

If you don’t own a business – and we all do, really, because we are all a “business” of a sort – then check your bank balance against your credit card debt. Are you living over your head?

The most successful businesses recognize when they have a problem and do something about it, quickly. Whether it’s to a new strategy or to a completely new venture, they move on.

[Ed. Note: The best way to keep your head above water? Start your new business on the side, while keeping your day job. Begin your own business for under $100 right here.

Author and businessman John L. Herman Jr. (“Herman”), who has owned more than 20 companies, has become an expert on why businesses fail. The above article was excerpted with permission from Hermanisms: Axioms for Business and Life. For more information about Herman and his business writing, please visit Hermanisms.com.]