Running any business requires the skill of juggling many tasks at once. Every business is a complex mechanism depending on the work done by hundreds of employees. This also means that there are a lot of mistakes bound to happen and each of these mistakes could be the end of your business. It may sound scary, but the best way is to accept that there are issues beyond your control. However, it’s also the fact that rookie mistakes could be avoided by being careful and paying attention to details.
Not thinking about marketing
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Peter Drucker
People without enough experience in business tend to overlook the importance of marketing. There’s a common belief that if the product or a service is good enough it will find its way to the customers without a proper marketing strategy. This is simply not true. The competition is fierce in every industry and young businesses need to find a way to stand out. Marketing moves should be methodical and comprehensive, with special attention dedicated to the consumer base research, prior to creating any content.
“The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people.” Tom Peters
Every company is only as good as its employees. This often gets forgotten. What’s more, companies also have a tendency to express the value of their employees only in terms of paychecks. On the other hand, employees have a lot of other metrics for weighing the boss’ loyalty. Providing the opportunity to upgrade their careers, organizing educational opportunities, and sometimes just acknowledging the good work could be equally important. Team buildings have recently got a bad reputation, but bonding with coworkers and going to work happily could go a long way in terms of productivity and job satisfaction.
Not treating the customers with respect
“Treat your customers like lifetime partners.” Michael LeBoeuf
“If you build it, they will come” is the wrong attitude for running a business. It doesn’t matter how good the product is, the customers need to be pampered and made to feel like their decision to choose your business is appreciated. It’s important to establish a call center right away and to answer all the questions you customers might have. Most of it is now done online, but establishing a telephone answering service is still imperative because some find it to be more convenient for most callers.
Refusing to delegate
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein
Businesses often start as an idea, casually brought up between friends. It takes time for the founders to realize that the business has grown and now depends on a number of different people. This is especially difficult for creative people – they like to have ownership over the ideas and therefore their further development. It isn’t a feasible management style for a larger business organization. It’s important to surround yourself with the managers you can trust from the start. It’s sometimes hard to let go of the control, but that’s the only way for a business to become more than just an idea.
Promising too much
“Keep every promise you make and only make promises you can keep.” Anthony Hitt
This problem is especially damaging for tech startups. Every new idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking and there’s a reason beta versions exist. It’s tempting to market your product as a solution to every problem your customer has, but that means that at some point the customer is actually going to expect just that. When something goes wrong, it’s much better to admit you’ve made a mistake and try to fix it than to dig your heels in. It’s better to undersell your product and over deliver on the customer service. That way you might attract a handful of customers, but at least all of them would love your work.
Personal health and family life
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” Charles Buxton
It’s easy to get caught up in running a business – it is exhilarating and gives you a sense of independence. However, there’s more to life than just work. Taking good care of yourself and spending quality time with the family always must take precedence. When these two aren’t taken care of the whole package that is your life can come crashing down. Don’t avoid doctor’s exams and make sure you take time off whenever there’s a chance for it.
There’s a lot of reasons for a business to fail, but most could be avoided by taking work seriously, being thorough with planning, and always leaving enough time for personal and family life, which is what it’s all about in the end.