Now I’m commonly asked, “Ben, if you had your time over again, what would you do differently?” And that would be an awfully long video. You know, there are always things we could do better. What I thought I’d do instead is I’d share with you the 7 mistakes I see business owners making. And hopefully you’re not making these mistakes, but if you are, this may help you-- prevent you from making these mistakes.
So mistake number one is oiling the squeaky wheel. You know, there’s always something in your business that will be making some noise. Now it’s not literally making noise, but it’s something that’s dragging your attention away from things that are more important like growing your business or making a plan or working with a customer. And quite often it can be-- now as an example, it could be a team member that is complaining or a customer that is complaining. It could be a supplier that’s trying to get you to follow their agenda and sell you something, some product or promotion. It’s really important that you stay focused on what it is that you want to achieve and don’t spend time oiling the squeaky wheels. So that’s mistake number one.
Mistake number two is that you rely too much on one customer providing the majority of your income. Now you’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. They say that 80% of your income will come from 20% of your customers, or vice versa. What’s scary though is I see some businesses have 80% of their income come from one customer. Now what’s the risk with that? It’s fairly obvious that if you were to lose that customer, you’d lose your income, and you wouldn’t have a business. So 2015, how about making sure that you spread your wing out and you get lots of customers so that your income is diversified. Very, very important.
Mistake number three is that you’re too busy to respond to customer issues quickly. In this day and age, it is really important that if a customer has an issue, they get that issue solved quickly. No one wants to sit around waiting for their phone to ring or their email response. They want you to respond quickly. So if you do have a help desk or a help button on your website or you have a help line, make sure that the email or the phone call is responded to promptly and the problem is solved properly. The longer things get dragged out, the worse it becomes. It’s like if you have a sore thumb. If you’ve got a sore thumb, you only have to tap it on something and it hurts a lot. So same in business. If a customer has a problem, respond quickly and solve that problem quickly.
Mistake number four is not having a plan. And when I talk about a plan, I’m talking about at least some sort of action plan as to what you’re going to do in the business. So what are the next steps or the key things you’re looking to achieve in the next 90 days or 12 months. It could be a marketing plan. It could be a strategic plan. Whatever it might be, you should be planning what it is you want to achieve in your business. And without a plan-- you’ve probably heard this saying before. ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail.’ And so you don’t want to be planning to fail.
Mistake number five: you hold on to bad clients for too long. I see this happen time and time again because you’re worried you’re not going to replace those clients. But let me ask you this, the time and energy that’s spent with clients that are difficult to work with, is that time well spent? The answer’s no. The reality is you could spent that same time going out and finding more of your ideal clients. And I know it’s difficult. I’ve been there myself where you’ve got to cut them loose and say, ‘You know what? You’re not the ideal client for me anymore.’ Or you try and retrain them. You say, ‘If you’re going to deal with me, you’re going to need to comply to these new set of rules.’ And it could be paying on time, not complaining, not negotiating-- whatever it is that bugs you about that person. But you know which clients I’m talking about, right? It’s the ones that when they ring you, you press the red button not the green button on the mobile phone. You know the ones I’m talking about.
Alright, mistake number six: you haven’t put your prices up for ages. Put them up for goodness sakes. Now if you’re not comfortable with that, go back and find my video I did previously last year on putting up your prices. You should be putting your prices up on a regular basis, and you should be comfortable doing that. Your customers should expect it. And you’ve got to do this to be in line with inflation anyways. And I see businesses that sometimes go 4, 5, 6, 7 years without putting their prices up, and then when they do, they only do a little tiny increase. I’m talking about a 5 or 10 percent increase. You can do a 5% increase twice a year, it really lowers the blow. Do a 2.5% increase every quarter. Whatever it might be, come up with a system so you’re getting a 10% increase in your pricing structure every year. Now I know you may be in a price-competitive industry or your business may compete on price. Okay. Competing on price is just a race to the bottom. So you need to work out how to create a uniqueness in your business so you’re not competing on price.
And finally mistake number 7 is that you are a procrastinator. I’m sorry to say it, but most people are. I speak to a lot of people in business, and one of the biggest challenges people having with growing their business is they wait too long to make decisions. They wait until stuff is awesome until they produce it, release it, sell it, offer it. The reality is, yes, you can wait until it’s perfect. But it’ll never be perfect, and you’ll never sell it. Same with decision-making. Don’t be a procrastinator. Act fast, act quickly. Make decisions. You have a 50% chance of them being right. Just get on with it. If you want massive results, you’ve got to take massive action.
So there you go. There’s my 7 mistakes business owners (or you) may be making in your business. Hopefully that’s helped you avoid making those mistakes.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.