Experience is by far the best teacher. But with the luxury of modern day mass communication, people no longer have to learn everything from their mistakes alone. Advisors and experts are quick to talk about what entrepreneurs “should be” doing to be successful but often leave out their hard won experience and tips on what “not to do.”
Lucky enough, the Internet is flooded with hundreds of articles outing some of the biggest mistakes frequently made by businesses. We chose some good ones:
Forbes: Avoid the “Double Helix Trap” – Called a boom and bust cycle by Forbes contributor Dorie Clark (citing author Barry Moltz), a major trap businesses get caught in is neglecting sales and marketing efforts during busy times, leaving them short of prospects when the load lightens up. Clark and Moltz suggest focusing on a more consistent approach to communication and lead nurturing, staying in touch over longer periods of time via social media and email. Clark recommends providing prospects with educational information and resources regularly– building credibility and brand recognition.
CNBC: Trying to Do It All –This CNBC article titled The 10 Biggest Mistakes Made By Small Business Owners says a good recipe for failure is trying to be all things to your business. The article suggests that, like any other person, entrepreneurs cannot be good at everything. Typically, they have one or two talents or strengths that should be identified – and remain their focus. Other tasks within a business should be delegated. “Great companies are built on the foundation of exploiting a few strengths, not on trying to be masters of everything.”
Time: Not Knowing When to Pivot – “Many successful business ventures have come through calculating a new route,” the Time article explains. And too often it’s resistance to this change or poor timing that causes businesses to fail. It’s not uncommon that as a business plan unfolds, changes in the original course will need to be made. Instead of approaching these times with close-mindedness and inflexibility, entrepreneurs should stay pliable and willing to make changes to do whatever it takes to stay on the path to success.
Inc.: Pricing Too Low – Brian Hamilton, CEO of Sagework shares his stance on pricing in his Inc.com article The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes Businesses Make. “…it is almost always better to sell fewer units at higher prices than to sell more units at lower prices. High prices protect your margins and also enhance your brand,” writes Hamilton. He recommends conducting deep industry research on pricing and positioning price points close to an industry average. He also recommends focusing on a solid product or service differentiator to create a scenario where the business can demand higher prices.
Fast Company: Trying To Sell To New Customers Rather Than Taking Care of Old Ones –
Too many times once the sale is made, or a contract is signed, businesses move on to the next prospect, neglecting to nurture existing customers for up sells and referrals. Word of mouth, referrals and reputation can be the most lucrative avenue for a business in attracting new business which makes taking care of the customer, and giving them a delightful experience, of the utmost importance.
AMEX Open Forum: Not Knowing What Problems Your Prospects Want You to Solve – Business owners and sales people live and breathe their own products and services, so it’s not uncommon for them to be focused and informed on the intricacies of their industry. The problem is, often that’s all they talk to the prospect about and fail to identify what problem their offering will solve for the customer. The best knowledge a business can be armed with is the pain points of their customers. Forget about all the bells and whistles of your company or product, instead think about what you can do for the customer.
About the Author
Rachida Essadiq, Director of Marketing at NTC Texas is a successful five year marketing veteran, running events and campaigns for large to small enterprises and non-profits. She specializes in blogging, social media, branding/ identity and search engine optimization, striving to provide NTC Texas customers and fans with entertaining and valuable educational resources to find success in all areas of their businesses.