Beating The 7 Unforgivable Business Mistakes

So you have a nice little (or is it big) business humming along

Yet, no company (or individual salesperson) should ever be on cruise control. To that end I sat down and came up with 7 deadly business curses.

The 7 Unforgivable Business Pitfalls

Every day you learn something new when you’re a business, if you don’t you’re sleeping or not in the game. Sometimes you learn the hard way, sometimes the lessons are easy.  So to give you a little short view point here are seven tips to help you avoid falling into some of the more common business traps.

1. Manage the stress



Being in business can be very rewarding but you are on the hook for everything, especially if it’s you are a sole proprietor. While working on your business dreams, you work long hours and have the stress that your business isn’t making any money. Or that if you are not a roaring success you doing something wrong and your friends and family will look at you as a failure
 
We get it, it’s stressful. But handling the pressure becomes second nature when you know how, and there’s plenty you can do to help ease the burden:
 

  • Take time out when you need to - retain a balanced lifestyle will help you focus better when you need it.
  • Be sure to make time for family and friends – they all want to help you succeed.
  • Don’t let initial setbacks get you down – keep a long term view and don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself.


There's also no need to do everything yourself. Remember to Delegate. Using outside advisers and services make you stronger and building business networks for helping you manage your business effectively.

2. Lock in revenue streams


Many small businesses suffer peaks and valleys in their revenue streams. One month you’re flat out on a project but broke, the next month the projects over and you have money but no work.
 
A small business owner has a lot to consider in regard to money and cash flow
 
The business might be expanding or taken on staff or moved to bigger premises quicker than planned. As a result you now have a bigger payroll and greater overhead. In severe cases this extra load can cause the business to fail if you out pace your cash flow.
 
Here are some solutions to help you keep afloat:

  • Keep your focus on continued cash flow, even if you have to delegate other responsibilities.
  • Continue marketing at all times – especially when you’re busy.
  • Be wary of expanding too quickly – have sustainable long-term revenue streams locked in first.
  • Think about contracting out instead of taking on permanent staff and overheads.
  • Create good systems to ensure your business runs efficiently.

3. Do market research


Many businesses fail simply because they haven't done their homework – and that means market research.
 
It may be fine to go with your gut instinct, but sooner or later you if you are really going to grow proper research is the only way.
 

4. Target your market


Once you know that you even have a market for your business, the next step is to target your marketing to that audience. Yes my personal favorite, find your NITCHE.
 
Customers can’t buy from you if they don’t know about your product or service. You can waste a lot of time, money and effort marketing to people who are not likely to buy from you no matter how good you and your product or service is.
 
A good TARGETED marketing plan will help you avoid that and get the best return for your marketing dollar.
 
Case study: marketing choices
 
A start-up cartridge recycling company decided to spend ,000 a year marketing through various media including (in order of spend): newspaper, leaflet drops, shop signage, vehicle signage and online.
 
The business then decided to take a 'How did you find us?' survey, which revealed:
 

  • 36% were existing customers
  • 22% were referral
  • 21% came in as a result of online ads (mainly Ad Words) (I caution you on using Ad Words but sometimes they do work)
  • 10% saw the shop front
  • 7% came from the leaflet drop
  • 4% responded to newspaper ads. In fact, almost the opposite to their priority of marketing spend.

They have now changed from newspaper advertising (sorry Daily Herald) to a customer loyalty and referral campaign, and a bigger focus on online ads and social media and moving to organic search and way from Ad Words.
 

5. Retain your customers


You work hard to attract customers, so doesn’t it makes sense to keep hold of them. Some businesses fail because they spend all their time attracting new customers, while ignoring those they already have.
 
To retain your valuable customers and to also gain referral business put a customer retention plan in place. Think about the lifetime value of your customers and how to get them to spend more.

6. Make your website work for you


Online marketing is an important tool for almost every business - and a key part of that is your business website. It doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg or even your 1st born but, you just need to be smart about the way you use it.
 
From selling your products and services to enabling your business to be found by new customers, being online is a must. Here’s why:

  • Your website is ‘open’ 24/7 - so potential customers can browse, research, and if you have the facility, buy online from you whenever they want, not just during your ‘physical’ open hours.
  • Reach people worldwide - a website also means you can attract international customers, giving you worldwide opportunities.
  • Better customer experience – people like buying products or services online, the option of an online booking system, and even if you don’t sell your product or service online, customers like researching before they buy.
  • Reduce costs – this is especially true if you’re doing all your business online. For example, if you’re selling a skin-care range, you’re saving on shelving, displays, rent and rates.
  • Develop a customer database – you can use your website to build up a database of leads. Providing you have the right privacy statements and opt-in functionality, you can use the contact details you collect to send e-mails and to profile and analyze your customers – another valuable marketing tool.
  • How to build a website for your new business is a useful article to check out.

7. Build a successful culture


Think about how you motivate employees and stakeholders to get them to help you achieve your business goal.
 
Remember that your people - including you - are your biggest asset. Keep your people happy and they’ll ensure you stay competitive – and attract more great people to your business too. It’s a win-win.
 
Ensure your business has a vision that everyone can believe in, and offer their input. Give them responsibility, recognize and reward them when they do well.
 
You might also consider providing key staff with either a profit sharing, or some attempt to reward consistent effort. Even setting short-term goals and rewarding people with a half-day off can work wonders.
 

Maintaining or starting a business should be one of the most exciting and satisfying journeys you’ll go on.

If we here at Larson & Associates are able to help you with a Targeted Marketing and Teleprospecting plan using email, direct mail, content development all the a powerful phone follow up system give me a call at 847-991-1294 or email athoward@larsonassociates.ws

Larson & Associates
Making good business great and great business even better

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