It’s usually easy to identify the good companies from the bad, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always so binary. There can be companies who are, on the face of it at least, robust enterprises, yet which still have a couple of underlying weaknesses that can compromise their long-term success. The good news is that the general strength of the company means that it’s usually just a matter of rectifying a couple of the mistakes that they’ve been making.
In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the most common mistakes that businesses make. If you’re a business owner, then it’ll be worthwhile taking a read through, identifying any of the mistakes that you’re currently making, and then working hard to put them behind you. They won’t necessarily be things that you’ll want to spend your time on, but they’ll have an overall positive impact on your business -- and that can have a big influence on the future of your company.
The way that companies set themselves has evolved in the past few years, but there are still plenty that structure themselves in the traditional way. It makes more sense to set up your business so there’s a horizontal management structure, rather than a vertical one. The latter usually happens naturally, since the business owner is there from inception, and slowly adds more components.
In that structure, everything flows downward from you. This can be good for keeping a grip on your business, but it can be bad for your company’s prospects. By having a more democratic approach, you’ll be putting the future of your business in the hands of all the whole organization, rather than just your hands. A lot of businesses fail because of mismanagement; taking a different approach is one such way to get around this problem.
If you’re going to hire employees to do a job for you, then it’s recommended that you let them get on with it. If you’ve hired correctly, then you’ll have members of staff who are better at doing what they were hired to do than you are. Rather than looking over their shoulder and continually modifying their work, let them get on with it. Of course, you’ll still have to guide them -- but think of your role in terms of leading, rather than controlling. Ultimately, this will allow you to get the most from your team. It’ll also help with staff retention, and talking of which….
Low Staff Retention
Your team might be working right now. But are they going to be here on a long-term basis, or are they just passing through? It’ll be in your best interests to work on making sure it’s the former, especially if you’re happy with their output. Of course, it’s not as if you’ll be able to keep your employees all together forever, but you should work on at least making it a difficult decision for them. It costs a lot of money to hire and train a new employee, and there are no guarantees that they’ll be as good as the employee that they’re replacing. Paying a good salary, helping them develop in their career, and all-around creating a pleasant working environment will all help.
Ignoring the Opposition
You should fundamentally focus on your own business, but it’s also worthwhile checking in to see what your competitors are doing from time to time. If you’re going to be the best in your industry (and why not aim so high?), then you’ll need to measure yourself against. Plus, by periodically looking at what the opposition are doing, then you’ll be able to get a sense of where your industry is going. You will have conducted market research in one particular area, but your rivals may have looked at something else. By looking at what they’re doing, then you’ll essentially be getting access to their research too, providing you can decipher their actions.
All companies have an initial push to get customers when they first launch. But, somewhere along the way, many decide to slow down this side of their operations. There are reasons why you might do this (for example, you’re operating at full capacity and can’t take on any more customers), but those moments will be few and far between. By and large, you’ll want continual growth -- the forecasts for tomorrow should be better than they were for yesterday. If you don’t have the time or expertise to spread the good word about your business, then look at working with a top marketing agency. They’ll have the experience and know-how you need to take your business to the next level.
However, while it’s important to target new customers, don’t forget about your previous customers. One of the top mistakes companies make when it comes to marketing their business is that they only look at getting new people on board. There’s a lot of value in that, but don’t completely ignore your previous customers. After all, you already know that they’re interested in your brand. A well-timed email or special offer might just make them use your company again.
Even if you hire the best talent around, you can’t expect them to deliver their best work without a little bit of help. There are numerous ways that you can support your employees, but one of the most overlooked ways is to focus on employee bonding. Studies have shown that people work much better if they feel like they’re working with people that they know and like. So take a look at the social aspect of your business. Do you provide a time and space that allows people to get to know one another? If not, then look at introducing it into your company. Even something as simple as getting everyone together for lunch can do wonders for the feeling of community at a company.
You’ll primarily want to focus on the here and now. However, it’s of vital importance that you’re keeping an eye on the future. After all, it’s going to arrive at one point or another, and when it does, you’ll hope that you’ll be well-positioned to reap the benefits. If you’re not sure what your long-term direction should be, then take a read of some trade magazines. You’ll usually be able to get a good sense of what the future of your industry will be, and that, in turn, can guide where you’ll take your business.
Small Company Mindset
You’ll have a lot of barriers to overcome if you’re going to build a successful venture. A lot of them will be external, but you could also suffer from an internal barrier -- the mindset that you adopt for your organisation. For example, if you have a small mindset, then you’ll be accidentally putting the brakes on your business -- and you might not even know it. While it’s always advisable to show caution, that doesn’t mean that every move you make should be cautious. There’ll be times when it’s appropriate to take risks. If you have a big mindset, then you’ll be in a position to take advantage of any big opportunities that come your way.
You’ll have a lot of expenses related to your business, and you won’t be happy with all of them. But here’s the thing: those expenses won’t always be set in stone. It’s nearly always possible to negotiate the amount of money you pay for something, and that’s just what you should be doing. If you’ve been a loyal customer of a service for years, then they’ll probably be happy to lower the amount of money you spend. And if they’re not, then it could be time to look for a new supplier -- there’ll be plenty to choose from. You’re not bound to work with just one company.
Failure to Develop
Finally, have a think about your development. If you’ve set your business up well, then you’ll have a solid framework that should push your business in the right direction. However, if you take a look at the world’s biggest companies, you’ll see that none of them stay still for very long. They’re more like organisms, which can grow and develop in the right areas, at the right times. While you might struggle to reach that level of efficiency, keeping an eye on your overall development can be hugely beneficial. It’ll be more about tweaking rather than major overhauls -- though don’t worry about overhauling things if it’s required.
As we said at the beginning of the article, even the best companies make mistakes. And that’s completely normal, since no-one’s perfect! However, while perfection will always be out of reach, it’s something that we should strive for -- you’ll build a pretty robust business if you aim so high. As well as incorporating the above tips into your business operations, make a habit of periodically reviewing things. The earlier it is that you notice a potential error, the easier it’ll be to fix.