Here are five business mistakes you may be making right now and their impact. Even one of these mistakes can have a significant effect on your ability to grow your business.
1. Lack Of Long Term Thinking
Many owners of small businesses tend to suffer from a lack of long-term thinking. Typically short-term survival, coupled with a lack of cash flow, become the driving forces of decisions made in the business.
Consistency in many areas of the business is neglected, at great cost. Without long-term planning and structuring of the business management descends into firefighting and knee-jerk reactions to external events.
The only way to stop this wasteful and unproductive activity is to make time for analysis of the real causes. Once these are established then a series of activities and tasks can be put in place to make sure these problems don’t arise again. If this long-term approach is adopted, then over time you stop bouncing from issue to issue and settle down into predictable and productive business.
2. Stop Start Marketing
A typical symptom of an absence of a marketing strategy or plan is rollercoaster revenues and profits. The business owner may market and promote the business vigorously for a short period of time. However, once sales start rolling in it’s all hands to the pump to service the demand.
Of course, once or your attention is focused on delivering your services, marketing activities tend to be neglected. Once your customers have been attended to, then you turn your attention back to marketing, as sales have stalled or dried up completely.
Tactical approaches to marketing produce piecemeal and unpredictable results. Without an overarching strategy, and a consistent approach to implementing it, your ability to grow your business will forever be compromised. Smaller businesses are inclined to discount heavily or take on inappropriate work when sales are slow. This is a recipe for disaster.
3. Poor Delegation
A a business grows it becomes necessary to delegate certain tasks or roles to employees in order for the business owner to ascend into a leadership role. Ego and mistrust of others abilities can sometimes play a part in the owner not wanting to let go of his many responsibilities.
Of course this results in the owner doing all the work themselves and eventually becoming stressed and burnt out. What is needed here is, of course, a change in mindset along with setting up of the right processes, systems, training and personnel selection that will enable delegation to occur smoothly.
Poor delegation leads to a number of issues such as:
- Differing expectations between boss and employee,
- Inefficient work methods and an increase in mistakes and rework,
- Frustration for the business owner because the employee doesn’t get the same results the owner would have.
Often poor delegation accounts for the business owners lament of “you can’t get good staff these days”.
4. Lack Of Control
Running a business without an understanding of your financials or performance indicators is risky. Some business owners may not even know what their financial position is from month to month, let alone week to week.
At an early stage in your business you should identify and implement KPIs for both strategic and tactical measurement of key areas of your business. KPIs may be used not just for financials but also for staff productivity, marketing and sales, production and customer satisfaction, to name a few.
I recommend a dashboard of 3 to 5 key indicators in each area of your business. Tracking how your business is performing day-to-day empowers you to make timely decisions based on fact, rather than guesswork.
5. Doing It All Yourself
Becoming a top business leader requires a significant degree of personal growth and development of critical skills. Significant achievement always involves help from others. As a business grows it requires restructuring, new technology, funding and a myriad other inputs that may require skills you do not have.
Building a team internally to run your business is one thing. You also need to look externally to expertise and skills that will help you grow your business. This entails building another team that may consist of an accountant, solicitor, marketing consultant, web designer and an IT guru to help you create and manage your business systems.
Great businesses are not created and run by one person, rather they are run by an integrated team led by the business owner.