Making mistakes in your business can be costly both in financial terms and in wasted use of time. Unfortunately it is easy to get caught up in the rush of everyday tasks and to overlook these errors that can gradually creep into your business habits. If you are making any of these mistakes it is relatively easy to put corrective measures in place but what exactly should you be looking out for?
Focusing on sales instead of customers
Have you ever been so focused on getting someone to buy from you that you forgot that you are building a lifetime relationship with them? Because that’s what a customer is – someone who you will sell to or get referrals from for the lifetime of your business.
They are not the person who is going to mean you can pay the bills this week, they are much more important than that. They are potentially going to help you to pay bills for the rest of your life. But that will only happen if you show them that they matter to you much more than the sale.
They need to know that you care about giving them value for money and that you want them to be comfortable, happy even, that they chose to buy from you and your business. They want you to see them – the person – not the dollars attached to them.
If you forget to focus on the customers and instead focus on the sales you might find some success in the short term but you will be losing the support of your most likely fans in the long term.
Customers matter and if you show them that you understand that and will do whatever it takes to look after them then the sales will grow. And they will keep growing as they tell others about how well you look after anyone who buys from you.
So if you are making this mistake in your business then you need to refocus, maybe by doing some follow-up calls to check that the sale was to their satisfaction or by offering a genuine thank you in the form of a little extra value. Remember the customer comes first and the sales follow.
How is your stress management going?
When you are busy and trying to deal with too many tasks it is easy to find yourself staying at high levels of stress without doing the important things which you know will make sure that you are looking after your health and ultimately your life.
You know, like eating well and exercising and getting enough time away from work. All those important things which help you to manage stress and ensure it doesn’t create health issues for you.
And the reason that this mistake in your business is often overlooked is that you may think that stress is not impacting you and that you can’t afford to stop or take time for looking after yourself. Unfortunately you are wrong. Stress impacts everyone – we are not supposed to spend lots of time every day in fight or flight mode. And if you choose to ignore the impacts don’t be surprised if your body stops working properly and health problems make sure you have to take a break.
But rather than allowing that to happen you need to schedule time regularly to exercise in your favourite way (no lying on the couch is not a form of exercise) and to ensure that you eat the right mix of foods to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Caring for yourself is caring for your business. The more energy you have the better you will manage your workload and the more successful you will be at pleasing your customers.
So if overlooking stress management is a mistake you are making in your business then stop right now and focus on your schedule because fitting tasks in to manage stress is going to be imperative to your future business success.
Have you stopped checking and counting?
When business is progressing well and you have lots of tasks to do and customers to satisfy it is easy to stop doing some of the essential measuring that you need to do in the business. Like whether you are spending your marketing budget in the right place and attracting the right customers. Or whether you are allowing wastage to creep in because you are just too rushed to be careful enough?
If this is a mistake you are making in your business then you need to remind yourself why counting and checking is so important.
Most successful businesses achieve success by constant small improvements which make incremental positive changes. But this can only happen if you know what your business is doing now and have a level of improvement to work towards. And the only way you know what is going on now is by measuring.
You need to have a set of measurements or metrics which you check every week or every month to look for changes both negative and positive.
For marketing it is going to be how many of your adverts led to buyers clicking on your website or app or social media selling page and how many of them followed through by buying from you.
For cashflow it is going to be how closely your actual expenditure and revenue matched your forecast so you can anticipate any requirements for more funds before you are over-stretched.
You may need to think back to when you first started your business and spent time measuring everything – likes, followers, clicks and those all-important sales. What did you used to measure and what should you be measuring now?
You need a benchmark to develop plans for improvement against and the mistake you may be making in your business is forgetting the checking and counting.
Have you forgotten to keep learning and changing?
You might have a successful business but the secret to maintaining its success is to keep learning about your business, your industry and other successful businesses. And, to take that learning and use it to constantly improve your business.
The more successful you are the busier you are and it is easy to omit scheduling time to extend your knowledge and to incorporate this knowledge into strategies for staying one or more steps ahead of your competition.
But the minute your business stops improving and moving forward it will start to slip backwards in comparison to other businesses. You might not notice it at first because the pace is slow but once you do notice it there is often a very long climb to get back ahead of the pack.
If this is a mistake you are making in your business then you need to break the cycle and start ensuring that you are setting aside time every week to focus on what is changing for your customers, for your competitors, and for yourself. Then decide what action steps you need to take next week and next month to bring new ideas into your business to meet these changes.
No industry is standing still – especially right now – there are always new trends, new ideas, new techniques which you could decide to incorporate into the way you run your business. But if you don’t take the time to keep learning and changing then this mistake could be very damaging for your business.
When you started your business you probably kept a tight rein on your spending of time, money and energy to ensure you had the best opportunity to become profitable. But once you became more successful you may have begun to forget to check on how these vital resources were being used on a daily basis.
Do you find yourself having too many meetings? Do those meetings take longer than they should because there is no direction, no agenda for what needs to be decided in them? How about your productivity – are you too busy dealing with problems to be able to use your most productive time every day wisely? And are you ever surprised at the end of the month that there isn’t more money in the bank?
We all have the same number of hours every week but it is amazing how some people can achieve so much in their time while others seem to just watch time race by in a blur. One of the biggest differences in these people is that they understand their bodies and brains and recognise when they do their best work and what works for them to find answers to problems which are bothering them.
Whether it is a case of getting up earlier and going to bed earlier or the exact opposite they are utilising how their body clock works rather than how everyone else’s works.
Do you block out time to exercise, to have relaxation and to fuel your body in the way that you know gives you maximum energy? Have you learnt what to do when you need to open up your creativity for problem solving? And are you tracking your actual spending against your forecasted spending to ensure you are not wasting money?
If you answered no to any or all of these questions then you are making the mistake in your business of wasting resources but fortunately with just a few changes you can get back on track and use them to be more successful, happier and more profitable.
Have you developed some poor habits?
How good are you at avoiding distractions? Are you putting off some tasks which you don’t enjoy but which need to be done?
Being distracted and procrastinating are 2 poor habits which can gradually develop as the reality of your own business sets in. You might find you are constantly busy but not actually achieving enough productive work every day or you may be struggling to get started each day and wonder what has happened to you.
You are definitely not alone when it comes to slipping into habits which are not serving you well. There are very few people in the world who don’t have some poor habits – that’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular.
However, your business needs you to overcome any poor habits that have developed and to instead replace them with some great habits which will bring you next level success.
Habits such as tackling the most important task first every day, scheduling instead of having lists which have items that are constantly being moved to the next day and having routines which connect your brain to the pleasure of starting the working day (at whatever time you choose).
These habits need to be reinforced regularly at first and rewarded so they become pleasurable. It takes time for a new habit to become so established that you can avoid returning to old habits. If you need some help with changing your habits then I recommend you read Atomic Habits by James Clear. He clearly explains an easy and proven way to build good habits with sometimes tiny changes.
How many of these mistakes are you making in your business?
Sometimes it is hard to admit that you are not actually doing the best you can in your business but by reading this far and thinking carefully through the answers your brain has agreed to then you are making a great step towards change.
You do need to take action though or otherwise this has just been a distraction rather than a notice to change.
So, what are going to do to stop making these mistakes in your business and how soon will you start?
©Robyn Forryan 2020
The Biz Coach NZ