Interview Patty

Recognizing Red Flags

February 27, 2024

It’s a bright, sunny day – hot even by South Texas standards. But the sun is glittering off the water and there’s nowhere I’d rather be. I spent so much time at the beach in high school, it felt like my second home.

I loved the smell of the sea, the feel of the sand, and the sound of the waves. My friends and I would pile in someone’s car and spend hours enjoying the beach, listening to music, and laughing with each other.

Yes, it was idyllic, but growing up along the coast made us all aware of weather warnings, especially during hurricane season. Red flags signaled strong winds and currents, so most of us didn’t venture into the water.

There were always those daredevils who took risks and ignored the warnings. Were they oblivious to what was happening – or did they think the flags didn’t apply to them?

I’ve wondered about that question for a long time – and how it applies in business.

Today’s Question:

What are the red flag warnings in business that we don’t recognize or choose to ignore?

But Here’s the Twist
. . .

One of the biggest roadblocks we face is failing to recognize, ignoring, or rationalizing away warnings. These red flags are everywhere in business, yet we still struggle.


Believing any buyer is an ideal buyer is a common symptom of what I call The Hope Factor. Like those false hopes we sometimes have when dating, the same thinking can plague us in sales conversations. Hope is not a strategy!


Red-flag warnings start as a tiny nudge in the back of your mind. For example, Vicky is talking with a buyer, and they just described a past experience that makes her curious. She starts to wonder, They’ve worked with three other professionals before me and have given me a litany of reasons why those people didn’t work out.


But instead of tuning into her intuition, she swats away the red flags like annoying gnats. She starts to rationalize. She thinks, But I’m different than those other professionals, so I shouldn’t pay attention to that.


We talk ourselves into ignoring the red flags, silently and in a split second. We ignore red flags, because we want the validation of a sale, we want the money from a sale, and perhaps we want the prestige a particular client brings. Those are all positive aspects of a sale, but we tend to pay a high price later when our initial concerns are proven true.

Now What?

If Vicky tunes into her intuition and stops rationalizing, what would that look like?

  • She would be honest with herself and reframe the situation. Instead of thinking this is an ideal buyer by default, she would question her initial belief.
  • She would trust that feeling alarmed is an important indicator to ask herself questions such as: Is there an underlying problem that makes this person difficult to work with? Does this person have trouble making effective decisions? Did he or she choose the wrong professionals – three times?
  • She would stay in the present day. Our mind runs in circles, thinking about past situations or worrying about future scenarios. We need to stay tuned in to the situation.
  • She would view these red flags as a gift. Our intuition is a superpower that we’ve been taught to ignore. Use it!


When we rationalize and compromise to please others, it undermines what we’re trying to accomplish.

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue

I spot lots of red flags when I’m helping a client position her company for exit. As my client’s advocate, I can bring those red flags to her attention and help her avoid the many pitfalls of an exit.

At some point, you will exit your business, whether it’s voluntary or not. Are you leaving your life’s work, your impact, and your legacy in the hands of fate?

Even if your planned exit is 5-10 years down the line, the time to prepare is now.

Intentionally building value and positioning your company for your exit is a solid business strategy. While you are planning your transition, you will make more money, lift the burden of the business from your shoulders, and find balance between work and leisure.

An Elegant Exit™ requires a new way of thinking, new skills, a simple and elegant design, and an advocate on your side. Contact me to learn more. 

Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/

A Note from Patty...

My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

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