There are literally thousands of books out there about what it takes to be successful in businessand in life. It can be difficult to distill such a broad topic and the numerous variables that influence our pleasure into a simple collection of concepts that anyone can read and implement.
But there are common threads throughout the innumerable myths and legends that have been chronicled in tens of thousands of books and articles. Books like these will teach you universal truths about humanity that we all know but rarely act upon. Decisions and concepts that we all wish we could understand and implement will be discussed.
You know what everyone understands, though? Fear. In particular, the fear of failure. There are hundreds of books written about this, too. We all understand what it is like to fail and don’t want to do so, especially when starting a business. In this article, we will share with you ten things you should not do if you want your business to succeed.
Don’t ever forget who’s paying your bills. Too much attention is given to internal matters in many organizations. Throughout my career, I’ve worked for a corporation that put an emphasis on rigorous quality control measures and cumbersome internal processes. Therefore, they didn’t listen to their customers or provide them with what they wanted. The results were a drop in revenue and a breakdown in organization.
One way to do this is delivering quality customer serviceby routing your clients to the most competent specialist. And you don’t need to make your receptionist do this: an auto attendantis a tool to greet a caller, provide pre-recorded message and forward the call to the appropriate department.
Many businesspeople are unwilling to take any risks, which can lead them to stall. Services like legal and accounting, for example, have a hard time adapting to new technologies and the decline of traditional business models. Financial risk is only one type of business risk; others include the testing of hypotheses, the creation of novel profit channels, and the quest for uncharted territory.
In some fields, keeping an eye on the competition is crucial to success. In a limited market, where numerous enterprises are delivering the same products and effectively targeting a very small number of customers, competition and getting ahead might be a “do or die” situation.
However, concentrating too much on the opposition can hinder your ability to think creatively and independently. Instead of focusing only on your rivals, you should work to better yourself by raising the bar for the quality of your own services and wares.
If you can’t remember why you started your company in the first place, you’re doomed to fail. Negative customer service behaviors include, for example, ignoring customers’ needs and complaints or providing them with subpar solutions. Make sure that the needs of your clients come first whenever you create new items or offer new services. Assess whether you are heading in the right direction and whether you are making a connection with your customers on a regular basis.
Don’t try your hand at things you’re not good at. You know a lot about what you specialize in, but you know very little about everything else. Do more of what you’re good at and less of what you’re not. Focus on your specialties and let others handle the tasks that are less important to you. Making the error of trying to do everything themselves is a common pitfall for entrepreneurs. There are upsides to enlisting expert help.
Payroll and tax preparation, email management, order processing, and travel planning are all examples of tasks that could be outsourced. If you’re not an expert in a certain field, you should hire someone to do the menial duties that pile up. To continue in this manner is a waste of time. Paying someone else to do the work for you will not be free, but much less time will be used in the process, and you’ll give yourself more capacity to do other things that need your attention.
The primary takeaway should be to focus on one’s strengths while relying on experts for the rest.
In these uncertain and complicated times, it’s best to keep politics out of your life if you can help it. You have your own thoughts about the political system. Don’t make others feel uneasy in the workplace because they hold views that are different from yours. Avoid sharing your thoughts with your suppliers or your customers.
When it comes to business, it’s important to keep your politics in check. It is your duty to ignore the rhetoric and make decisions based on the actual impact that politicians will have on your company. It’s possible you won’t approve of an individual elected to a public office that will have an effect on your company, but you should always act in the best interests of your team and your company.
Those working for you are actual people. They likely have to take care of their parents, themselves, and their families. Believe it or not, they would rather spend time with their families than work for you. When they are in the office, though, they work diligently to increase your bottom line. Never assume anything about them. Give them a good salary, decent benefits such as assistance in refinancing student debt, and, most importantly, an open ear if they ever need to talk about anything on their mind, whether it’s work-related or not. Everyone wants to do as well as they possibly can; it is on you to make sure they have a conducive environment in which they can thrive.
Spending moneyon the latest techor software is a slippery slope many businesses never get a chance to triumph over. Let us take an example. Suppose you set up a post-production studio for films and television. You’ll need software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro. Can you keep up with buying all the updates as they come? Do you also buy the latest iPhone as soon as it is out?
The people who run these tech companies always want you to spend more moneyon their products, which is why the performance of older systems and support for them often suffers after a new update. It’s a ploy to get you to buy more things. Don’t fall for it.
Cool tech advertising has no bearing on whether it will be useful to your business. Think about the cost over five years against the benefits you’ll reap from it, such as more money in the bank, more time saved, and lower overheads. You should invest in technology if you expect a good return on your money. If not, make an investment elsewhere.
When running a business, it’s risky to rely too heavily on any one variable. In reality, putting all of your business’s eggs in one basket is a common blunder and something you need to avoid. Accounting rules require disclosure in financial statements when a single customer accounts for more than 10% of total sales. That makes perfect sense, considering the potential consequences of losing that single client.
The same holds true for the loss of vital machinery. And if you only have one of them, it probably handles all the production. This is why it all comes down to one word: Diversify. Split the risk in half or spread it among other points of interest. Come up with a plan B. Continually weigh up your choices. An undesirable precedent could be set if one were to depend too heavily on a single revenue source.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners, even those with some knowledge of marketing (or so they think), act as if they were wearing blinders and focus solely on the top line—sales. In their view, if more people buy from them, the business will thrive. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Despite the obvious benefits of a steady stream of customers, putting all your efforts into marketing and sales is often a surefire way to fail. Furthermore, most awful business owners are hyper-focused on sales despite not having anything to sell. You need to be able to look at the big picture of your company rather than only focusing on one or two areas if you want to succeed in business.
For example, you need to be sure that the production line is working well. You need to make sure that after-sales services are as impressive as ever. Your business is the sum of many parts working well in tandem. Never lose focus of that, or you’ll bring it all crashing down.
One thing you should keep in mind at all times is that running a business is a process. It takes time to succeed, and even if you soar to the top, there is always a chance of suffering failure and collapse. As such, you need to be constantly learning and making sure that you do not do certain things. This is what we have tried to do here by familiarizing you with some of the most common pitfalls that business owners suffer and showing you some ways you can avoid them.
A business is a dynamic thing, and you, as the owner, are responsible for many things: the satisfaction of your customers, the well-being of your staff, and your standing in the market. It is a delicate tightrope you walk every day, but following the examples we have provided, you should find your balance a little easier. Just don’t forget to take a break now and then. You are not your company. Remember that.