1 – Ignore the Competition.
Customer loyalty is based on LOYALTY towards the best satisfaction of their needs, customers go where they get the best products, services and prices, and with greater comfort and payment facilities, even when this implies breaking business relationships of many years. .
It is essential to constantly monitor what the competition is doing (good Benchmarking !!) and not hesitate for a moment to “borrow” their good practices / ideas (obviously here we are not proposing industrial espionage or plagiarism, or anything against any law). Furthermore, a ” key to success ” would be that every week you dedicate some time to devising new methods, procedures, products and/or services for your company!!!!!
2 – Ignore the needs of your customers.
This could be called a “Deadly Sin”. Attracting customers costs a lot of money and effort, but once they come to you with a proper marketing strategy, you have to work much harder to keep them.
Since the clients that will leave the most profits to your business are the oldest clients.
Customer Service must be a key aspect of your company. If you don’t care about your customers, you can be sure they will find someone who does!
3 – Careless, ineffective or non-existent marketing.
A company (let’s start from the base that offers a competitive and useful product / service) has only two generic ways to earn money; one is increasing sales, and the other is controlling costs and expenses.
Now, first things first, there is no business if there are no SALES. In addition, the well-known popular saying that some products or services “sell themselves” is simply that, A SAYING.
If you don’t have time, desire or experience to do a good Marketing of your product (or service / company / or your person…), you SHOULD hire someone experienced to do it for you.
Marketing is what keeps your products selling, keeps revenue “flowing” into your business. It is essential to do it and above all “do it right!”.
4 – Cash Flow Problems.
Well I guess you are thinking (how obvious, especially if your business is in a country in crisis/recession like Argentina), the issue I am raising here is that you must be a MASTER in managing your Cash flow ( cash flow). You must know where each penny comes from and where it goes in your company — and this even when you have more than enough working capital, if you do not control it efficiently it will make your company falter.
In addition, you must learn to make realistic projections of your funds, to anticipate your needs, to evaluate the strategies to follow, to manage the future of your company.
5 – Inadequate or Nonexistent Planning.
Well, here is another of the Deadly Sins! Unfortunately, something very common in new companies (and not so much…) especially in Latin America, where it is culturally not common to do Planning (in SMEs, and in some large companies as well) – because even when they carry out cycles of planning, budget, etc, this is usually taken as a mere formality – wasting the potential of these tools).
Fortunately, thanks to the Internet boom, globalization, and advances in communications, in recent years these concepts are becoming popular knowledge.
It is increasingly common to talk about Business Plans, strategies, SWOT analysis (SWOT), Strategic Planning, etc.
Concepts that are nothing new, but that still today in the conception of many people are things “For Big Companies!!” , and by stating this they are ignoring the fact that it is precisely against these large companies that their companies will be competing for market, resources, etc.
Every company should guide its actions by a business plan and a strategic plan. Writing a Business Plan is different from doing Strategic Planning, for simplicity (although not strictly correct) one usually writes a business plan when starting something new – a company or a new product/service within a business. The strategy points more towards business growth, where, for example, within said planning I can foresee the launch of a new product. For which we will then make the corresponding business plan for its development and launch. As for strategic planning, it is not necessary to manage very complex strategic plans, you simply have to start by setting specific goals, with deadlines and that are measurable,
6 – Procrastination.
Being the owner of a SME, and even more so of a micro enterprise, (or about to start one) you will surely have found that the tasks, stationery and office work, are stacked growing at surprising rates, as if they had ” own life”, and it is a common mistake to go leaving them aside, postponing them while one does more interesting things….
Postponing these tasks, unfortunately and inexorably, will cause your debts to also begin to grow at the same rate, you will pay interest, fines, closures, etc. That can eventually overwhelm you, make you necessarily divert the focus of your business since your time will have to be used to solve these problems or at least, you will have to pay someone to solve them…
Time, money, demands, it is a cost that can be too high for a start up (not to mention if it is combined with other factors…).
7 – Incompetent Employees.
Hire employees who are essential to your operation. When you hire employees, make sure they are well trained (or train them) so that they are capable of fulfilling their specific functions, in general they will be the ones who are present in the moments of truth in front of your clients.
Above all, take special care to create an excellent work environment, since happy, motivated and capable employees are the only source of sustainable competitive advantages.
(ah! and don’t tell me that the problem is money…we all know that, but there are many -economical- ways to improve the work environment, starting by hiring the essential people, less / more capable / better payments, and a whole series of things that exceed the scope of this guide, but that we will write about at another time).
8 – Rigidity / narrow-mindedness.
It doesn’t matter in the least if you are a genius, decorating houses, making affidavits, cooking, building computers, designing systems, etc. That is not enough for your decoration company, accounting firm, systems consultant… to be successful.
A common quality of those who start successful businesses is that they are experts or adept at MULTIPLE tasks or occupations, from salespeople, to marketing and management control specialists, from creative designers to race marketers.