The 7 deadly sins of running a business (and how to avoid them)
16/03/2015 / Comments 0
Nobody likes to admit their flaws but identifying where your weaknesses lie could help you to make improvements, especially where your business is concerned.
Here we highlight the seven deadly sins of running a business and offer tips to help you avoid them.
1. Pride – It isn’t all about you
It’s OK to be proud of your successes and want to shout about them a little. Of course you want potential customers to know what you’re capable of. But companies who do nothing but sell are missing a trick when it comes to marketing their business.
With thousands of businesses seeking the attention of potential customers, the social and content marketing landscape is becoming overcrowded. This is why offering non-promotional and shareable content is vital to stand out from the crowd. If all you do is sell you are going get ignored and dismissed.
Instead of talking about your business all the time, try to create and share valuable content for your target market that helps educate your audience and build relationships. If you can do this successfully this, it will position you as an expert in the field and could translate into leads or purchases in the future.
2. Wrath – Let go of the hate
It can be easy to hold feelings of hatred towards those who have created obstacles on your way to success. That funder who said no. The customer who refused to pay. The competitor that under cut you. The newspaper that gave you bad press. But, if you spend too much time focusing on negative experiences and feelings you could be damaging your business and missing out on potential opportunities.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that flying off the handle is not good for business. Learn to control your anger and deal with problems in a diplomatic and professional manner as all behaviour reflects on your brand. If someone says no it may be a setback but instead of wasting time being bitter, try to learn from the experience and use it to help you do better in the future.
3. Greed – Focus on improving experiences not profits
When your business is succeeding it’s natural to want to try and do even better. If you’ve made 10 sales today you’ll probably want to aim for 12 tomorrow. And in many cases stepping up your goals and aiming higher is good for business. But sometimes this need to achieve more can escalate into outright greed and when this happens it could hamper your business.
Greed can lead to a decline in business as customers will feel undervalued and will look for better customer service elsewhere. With the digital landscape levelling the playing field your business is likely to be competing against more and more businesses so keeping your customers happy and offering value to them could be the difference between success and failure.
Instead of focusing on ways to make more money, concentrate on ways to improve customer experiences and your current offerings. If done correctly, this will increase customer loyalty and your revenue because ultimately if you’re helping your customer you’re helping yourself.
4. Lust – Do you really need it?
Lusting after all of the latest technologies can be a dangerous trap. Especially in today’s digital age, it can be tempting to always go after the latest developments, changing your phone each time an update is available, and redesigning your website each time something new is developed.
If you have the money to constantly upgrade then great go ahead. But if your cash flow is limited sometimes you need to learn when to say no.
When considering investing in something new, whether it’s machinery, property, staff or a new website always ask yourself what impact it will have on your business. Do you really need it in order to be successful? And do the ends justify the means?
Keep a list of all the new things you’d like to try that will cost your business money and prioritise them in order of which ones will have the greatest positive impact on your business.
If you really can’t do without, make sure you source the best funding available to meet your specific need. Take a look at these 10 ways to fund your business for ideas on new sources of finance.
5. Sloth – Overcome the power of procrastination
Laziness is possibly the most common sin of all. Slothful business owners who fail to perform important tasks such as credit control risk going under.
Especially in the early stages of business, it’s important that business owners are prepared to dedicate plenty of hours into making their business a success. Whilst time and resources may be short as you struggle to get up and running, there are certain tasks that you can’t afford to skip, including keeping your finances in check as a healthy cash flow is vital for success.
Overcome the power of procrastination by setting yourself action steps. Keep a list of the things that you need to do. Having it in writing will provide a roadmap to success and help you to keep on top of things.
You could also try writing down how much time you spend doing different tasks each day. This will help identify areas where you are spending too much or too little time and allow you to adapt accordingly.
If your procrastination stems from not having enough time to do all the things that you need to do, consider hiring more resource or outsourcing some tasks.
6. Gluttony – You can’t do everything
It’s natural to want to oversee everything to make sure it’s done correctly, especially in the early stages of business when you’re still finding your feet. But putting too much on your proverbial plate could be doing more harm than good.
You can’t do everything by yourself and you definitely can’t do it all at once. Many small businesses have failed because they tried to take on more than they could handle before they were ready.
Learn to delegate and prioritise tasks. Which tasks have the highest importance? Is it essential to the success of the business? Employ staff you trust and know you can rely on so no matter what the task is you know they are capable of doing it.
If you can’t afford to take on employees consider outsourcing instead, this could give you the expertise and manpower needed to grow with the flexibility to scale effort up and down as needed.
7. Envy – Tame the green-eyed monster
A sense of competition is good but when it becomes painful or resentful it could have a negative impact on your business.
Use your competitors’ successes to propel your own business forward. What can you learn from what they’re doing right? Can you apply this to your own business? And is there a way you can improve on it?