The Curse of Success: What Being Too Successful Can Mean for Your Finances

October 26, 2017

Success can come with riches and rewards beyond our wildest dreams, but is there a downside to getting further than you ever thought you could? Our Accountant in Leeds talk about the curse of success.

We don’t want to toot our own horn, but as far chartered accountants go, we are doing pretty well. We have achieved what many would describe as a success, although of course, success is all relative.

If success means being a billion-pound company, then we’re afraid we’ve still got some way to go. But, in terms of our goals and aspirations, things are looking good. The problem is, though, that it can be all too easy to reach the levels of financial success you want and then start to slow down.

Once you’ve climbed to the mountain ridge you were aiming for, why go any higher? Why not just enjoy the view?

Why You Might Stop Climbing the Financial Mountain

Our accountants work with a number of small business owners across a variety of sectors and industries. We’ve seen it all before and know exactly what the curse of success really looks like.

Before we look at the negative impact of success on your financial health, we have to look at why people stop fighting for success once they achieve enough of it. There are four common reasons for this:

  1. Celebration: Some business owners hit their targets and decide they want to enjoy life outside of business — spend time with family, travel the world, experience a world beyond their office and really celebrate their success.
  2. Resting: Achieving business success can be hard. It can near enough ruin you emotionally, and physically too. Long nights, great stresses, a strain on the person’s personal life; many business owners need time to recuperate after finally becoming a success.
  3. Boredom: After a long slog to the ‘finish line’, some business owners can simply become bored. They’ve put all their time into this one project that they want to do other things. Spice up their business life, if you will.
  4. Laziness: This is by far the most common cause our accountants in Leeds see for halting the climb up the mountain of financial success. Business owners get lazy. They’ve got enough of what they want, so why bother trying to get more?

Now don’t get us wrong; we aren’t here to judge.

Taking a step back from your business, for whatever reason, is nothing to be scoffed at. Business owners who achieve success deserve the right to make their own decisions, but you must be careful about where those decisions lead you.

The Curse of Success and What Happens When You Let Go of Too Much

All of these reasons for taking a step back from a business lead to one thing: detachment.

Soon, you stop investing as much time as you did before in your business — and why shouldn’t you? You’ve gained the success you want, so you don’t need to work as hard as before.

The problem with business finance is that climbing the mountain is sometimes easier than staying at the top. That peak is slippery, and one wrong move can see you tumble.  

The truth is: there really isn’t a curse of success.

The curse is letting success cloud your once powerful business acumen. Trying to let a company run itself, taking a hands-off managerial approach when you are the one who built it from the ground up, is a dangerous game.

Our Director, Russell Smith, has seen this happen many times in the past. Previously, before starting Russell Smith Chartered Accountants, he worked for a different firm and helped run a competition for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.

So many of these winners would go on to crash and burn within a relatively short amount of time. As soon as they thought they’d made it, they stopped pushing and slipped, falling off the mountain of success.

Advice from on How to Balance Success

This is going to be a difficult pill to swallow, but it is, unfortunately, true: You’ve never really made it.

You’ll see examples in history of billionaires going from the top of the world to flat broke. You’ll see companies with branding so famous it reaches across continents, crumble into nothing.

You are never safe.

If there is a curse of success, it’s assuming that you are one.

Success and financial security are imaginary. They are what we define them to be in the moment, but everything can change in the very next moment. A financial crisis can sweep it all away. A poor choice in new management can leave your company scrambling to survive.

Success is fleeting.

To keep your business up and running and to maintain your position on the financial mountain, our accountants from Leeds recommend you invest in building a company that can survive without you — be it short term or long term.

Taking a step away from your business — because you are tired, want to spend more time with the family, have other projects or just can’t be bothered anymore — is fine, but don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the romantic notion that you can do it because you’ve made a success of your brand. If you accept the fact that you are a success, you’ll end up losing it very quickly.

Want to take time out from your business and need help establishing a support structure to ensure it survives without you? Get in touch with our accountants in Leeds today. We can help you produce a stable financial plan to keep things ticking over and keep the company growing.  

0113 337 2130

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