You might not think the owner of a computer services firm would face the same day-to-day problems as someone who runs a childcare center. But in reality, no matter what type of company you own, certain universal challenges are almost guaranteed to crop up.

In my 17 years as a business coach, I’ve noticed several issues that business owners tend to encounter over and over. On the surface, each situation may look different, but on closer inspection they fall into a few specific areas.

Common pitfalls for business owners include:

Not having clear goals. Are you too wrapped up in the day-to-day workings of your business to think about where you’re headed? Classic mistake. When you know what you’re aiming for, you have a much better chance of getting there. Take five minutes right now to think about what success means to you and your business. It could be anything from achieving a certain income level to being able to sell out and retire. How do you measure success? From that vision, start creating the steps that will get you there.

Not prioritizing. In his book The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker says the key question is: “What needs to be done?” Make sure you’re accomplishing the things on the top of your priority list, rather than wasting your time on the items near the bottom. Setting annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily priorities will help you achieve your goals.

Losing focus. The most frequent lament I hear from business owners is that they’re pulled in too many directions. Stop trying to multi-task! Being single-minded in your approach (i.e., concentrating on just a few tasks) will get you farther, faster, than trying to do too many things at once. (See 6 Ways to Beat the Distractions That Keep Your From Getting Your Work Done.)

Under-, over-, or not communicating. Stressful situations, as a rule, work against good communication. People either get drawn into the drama and become emotional, or they avoid the conversation altogether. When the stakes are high, paying extra attention to communicating in a clear and calm manner will serve you well.

Trying to go solo. While you may have been told (or you may think) you have all the answers inside yourself, don’t believe it. You can’t always see the situation from every perspective. Whether you’re part of a business team or the sole owner, don’t isolate yourself. Connect with other business owners and networking communities to create a support system you can turn to for advice, ideas, feedback, and direction. Find an experienced, certified coach who can help you address your unique concerns and find the best answers.

Neglecting self-care. Don’t leave yourself out of the equation! You may be tempted to roll out of bed, skip breakfast, and forgo your workout so you can spend more hours at work. But you can keep this up for only so long, and then you start to lose. You are at the center of all you do. If you falter, everything else will suffer. Likewise, when you are strong, everything you do will be stronger, too. What can you do today to take care of you?

One more thing I’ve noticed: There is no one simple answer for every challenge you face as a business owner. Ideas and solutions emerge only when you explore new perspectives, use different strategies, and attempt tactics you haven’t tried before. Ultimately, stretching yourself in this way will help you grow both personally and professionally.

Author's Bio: 

Andrea Novakowski is an executive coach who has been helping clients align their professional goals with their personal values since 1997. By tapping into Coach Andrea's knowledge, tools and skills, clients are able to meld career development and personal growth to reach higher productivity and deeper levels of job and personal satisfaction. Visit to download your eBook, “Top 7 Tips of the Week for Business Owners,” and to request a complimentary coaching session.