Most business owners are smart people but, like most smart people, they can do stupid things.
So here are seven stupid things you should stop doing that are hurting your business:
1. Stop saving a wage because it’s costing you a fortune: many business owners save a wage by trying to do everything themselves, but that can end up costing you big. You might think you are saving time and money, but the reality is you are probably on the losing end of both.
Remember, poor people spend time to save money while the rich pay money to save time. This should be your attitude in business. Learn what your time is worth, then outsource or hire someone. You’ll be amazed at how this actually frees up resources so you can start o work on the things that will make more money.
2. Stop ignoring the numbers in your business and what they are telling you: Do you know when you break even in your business? What product makes you the highest margin? What’s your cost of getting a new customer? What time of day do you start to make a profit? How many months into the year are you earning profit? These are the questions that every owner needs to know to become a profitable commercial enterprise.
If you don’t’ know them, you are literally flying blind in your business.
3. Stop ignoring technology and how it can help you and your business: Thanks to technology, it has never been easier for small businesses to reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones.
Whether it’s through marketing or another aspect of your business, technology can leverage your resources. Your stubbornness or unwillingness to learn how to effectively use technology is costing you… so start the process of mastering these great tools and making them work for you.
4. Stop discounting: Most businesses advertise based on price, but if you’re a discount company, you will only get discount customers.
Start adding value instead, and start to focus on building a system for getting repeat business, which is where your profits long term really are.
Raise your profit margins where you can, and your price points. You may lose some customers, but I’ll bet those customers took up most of your time with complaints, price negotiations or service issues.
Also start asking your customers what they care about beyond price. What other features of your product or service might they want to see? How do they use your products or services, and do they ever recommend your company? These questions could hold the key to never having to play the “discount game” again.
5. Stop working on unimportant distractions and focus on what matters: The two most important things to focus on in your business are how to generate more cash flow and profits.
Most business owners don’t want to do this work because they see it as hard to do, or they don’t know what they are doing or “how” to do it. Instead, they fall into administrative work that is usually easy and can seem productive.
However, if it doesn’t generate cash flow or profit, this “activity” ends up being detrimental to the long term health of your company.
As the leader of your own business, you need to understand your role and what you need to do, as well as what you can empower your employees to do.
Remember, your role is to build the business – not to answer customer emails or phone calls.
6. Stop blaming others and start taking ownership of your own business: Simply put, no one can care more for your company than you.
So… does your team do a good job? Could you take the next three weeks (or months) off and still have a business when you got back? Is your team accountable? If you’ve answered “no” to any of those questions, you must understand that it is really your fault. Why? Because your team is only following the lead that you’ve set for them.
Excuses, lack of accountability and other cultural problems stem directly from the leader.
So start to develop a culture of ownership, responsibility and accountability. You may lose a team member or two, but you’ll start to get better results.
7. Stop flying “solo” and become accountable to someone: If you start holding others accountable, shouldn’t you start having someone hold you accountable as well? After all, who’s there to make sure you follow through? Finding a mentor or working with a Business Coach is a great way to become accountable to yourself and your business.
Most importantly, you will work harder and smarter if you have someone looking at your business objectively who can also help you measure your progress on a regular basis.
Article author Brad Sugars is Founder and Chairman of ActionCOACH, the world’s number one business coaching firm.
Ref: my business magazine August 2010