In working with business owners over the past decade, I have noticed a number of seemingly minor business mistakes that are a recurrent theme across the board. The cumulative impact of these mistakes, although independent they are relatively minor, can have a disastrous effect on your business success.
Each and every one of them has a relatively simple solution, but the first step to improvement, as always, is to become aware of them. Here, then, is a list of 8 common business mistakes with some tips on how to avoid them:
1) Not Focusing on Your Strongest Skills
If you don't excel in any one area of your business, your core offer and ability to outshine the competition gets diluted. Identify where you can add the most value, master your execution, and do it consistently. Hire staff or outsource areas where you don't want to invest in developing excellence.
2) Not Being Clear on Your Offer
What do you stand for? What can your clients count on from you? Have clearly articulated opinions and confidently stand by them.
How can your clients talk about you in a powerful way if they don't know how to describe what makes you different? Give your clients the experience and language they need to refer you with confidence and conviction.
3) Not Knowing Where to Customize
Customize your offer in areas that have high value and impact! Simplify and automate where the value you add is negligible or not appreciated. If you customize everything you do, you aren't leveraging your time effectively and your business growth potential will be limited.
4) Lack of Structure and Process
Most entrepreneurs have an aversion to structure and processes, believing they will stifle creativity and freedom. In fact, the opposite is true. By creating processes to support your ongoing commitments you free up time and energy to focus on your best opportunities and create more freedom as a result.
Identify and implement 2 or 3 daily habits that will support you in creating the business you want to build.
Implement processes that streamline repetitive tasks.
5) Not Consistently Tracking Opportunities
How many times have you had a great idea that you forget about altogether, or remember many months later? Become strategic with your business pursuits - keep your best opportunities top of mind by implementing a system to track them regularly.
6) Not Responding Promptly to Client Needs
Develop and adhere to policies and procedures that ensure that your clients always get the attention and respect they deserve.
Create a process that ensures that you find out when clients need your attention. Train your staff to know what to do and what information to gather to ensure that you can respond quickly and be fully prepared to address your client's concerns.
Set aside time each day to address just these types of situations, if they arise.
Don't bury your head in the sand! Good news or bad, easy call or difficult, your clients need to be heard and they need to hear from you.
7) Not Showing Gratitude for Client Support
How many times have you made a purchase and the sales clerk hasn't even made eye contact or thanked you for your business?
Your clients are the reason for your success to date. Without them, you would not be in business. Use every contact as an opportunity to deepen your relationship and let clients know that they are important to you.
Be grateful for their support. Look them in the eye and ask them how you might make their experience even better the next time. ... If you're going to ask, be sure to listen and discuss implementing their suggestions, or you will seem insincere.
Design an appreciation process for your clients, both old and new. We all like to be acknowledged and to feel that our business is valued.
Don't forget to thank for referrals!
8) Not Being 'Referral Friendly'
People refer to you because they trust you to help their friends AND make them look good! If your "client experience" is unpredictable, your clients can't trust how you will 'show up' and they don't want to end up with egg on their face with their peers.
Be consistent in the client experience you deliver.
Develop a structured process for how you will treat referrals and the people who referred them.
Acknowledge and thank your loyal clients, friends and family.
Show them how much you value their trust, loyalty and referrals by treating them well when they go the extra mile for you.
Identify and Master Your Strongest Skills, Highlight them, and make them the basis of your Offer. Then Customize and Simplify your Offer to leverage your Strengths and add value.
Build Structure and Process into your business, Track Opportunities more efficiently and ensure that you Follow-up Promptly with clients and prospects.
If you make it a habit to Show Gratitude, and Acknowledge Client Loyalty as a part of your Process, you will generate many referrals ... which is why you need to be Referral Friendly.
Now that you are aware of these potential pitfalls, take a moment to reflect on which are relevant to your situation. Which ONE is the highest priority to remedy? What will you commit to now and what action do you need to take to get started? Who will you partner with to hold you accountable?
If you have the discipline to relentlessly focus on 1 improvement at a time, consistently, over the next 12 months, you will have dramatically happier clients, better quality clients and a more successful business. What's that worth to you?
Live your dream,