Last week I wrote about 5 Big Mistakes that business owners make (as well as the solutions for improvement) when running a business. To read that article, click here.
Today, that list grows with mistakes 6-10. I’ve made them all (sometimes still do) and most other business people do to, which is why they are important to address and understand.
Here we go...
Mistake #6: You’re developing the professor syndrome.
Solution: Keep learning and challenging yourself and your business.
If your business is on cruise control, smooth sailing, kicking butt and taking names… then this might be a sign that the “professor syndrome” could be knocking on your door. In other words, you think you know it all and you’ve essentially stopped learning and challenging your business to keep up with the new technologies and/or trends that may provide competitive advantages. Not keeping up with the “what’s new” or “what’s changed” is often a huge mistake that business people make. Personally, I think it’s important to have a somewhat healthy addiction to learning new things.
The fact is… markets change, laws change, people change; technology changes, and you must be willing to adapt and change with them and the only way to do that is to continue to learn. Always keep learning and growing and challenging yourself.
Best-selling author, John Maxwell explains it best. He says, “you should always be learning new things and challenging yourself to go to the top, and the only way to get to the top is to travel uphill.” What he means by this is if things feel like they’re too easy and you’re coasting downhill, then that could mean you’re about to crash because your confidence may be turning into complacency. Keep learning and challenging yourself and your business to improve on the status quo.
Mistake #7: You don’t have reserve money in place.
Solution: Expect financial challenges and be prepared when they arise.
It’s much easier to sleep good at night when you have some money in the bank, right? When business slows for a bit (it’s inevitable) or hits a speed bump, the negative effects don’t hurt as much when your business has adequate money or reserves in place to weather the storm.
The way to prepare for this is simple…make sure that you always pay yourself and/or your business first. Set up a reserve or savings account for your business and don’t use these funds unless you have to. Be smart about it, don’t operate your business paycheck to paycheck, otherwise you won’t be around very long.
Murphys law is true, if something can go wrong it will go wrong, so be prepared for it, and make sure your business has the proper reserves in place for bad weather days.
Mistake #8: You’re too in love with your product.
Solution: Fall in love with your numbers, not your products.
This mistake is difficult for most business people to fully grasp, but the fact is, it doesn’t matter how much YOU love your product or how great YOU think your service is, or how much blood, sweat, and tears you put in perfecting things. Truth is, none of that matters. The only thing that truly matters is what OTHER PEOPLE (potential customers) think about your product and service, i.e. is it something people are willing and excited to buy.
In business reality, what you need to fall in love with is your numbers…. Revenue, Expenses, Profit, Margins, Traffic, Leads, Conversions, Analytics, etc. The numbers tell the story of your business. What’s working, and what’s not.
So how do you determine if people will buy what you’re selling before risking too much money on it? Simple…ask people. Get feedback from real people first (not anyone you’re related to). The more feedback you get, the better. This sounds like common sense (testing it for feedback) but for some reason when it’s in your own business, most business people ignore this because they get so caught up in the creation and perfection of the product.
You may love your product, but your customers need to love it more.
Mistake #9: You’re taking advice from the wrong people.
Solution: Be sure that the people you are taking advice from have the real-life experience to back it up.
Advice is very important, and we all seek it and need it. The right mentors with the right experience and intentions will help keep you accountable and be an extra set of eyes to help you see the things you don’t see. The perfect example of this is in sports. Legendary athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Muhamad Ali, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Wayne Gretzky, Pele, etc. all had coaches (head coaches, fitness coaches, skills coaches, etc.) to help them be the best in their sports.
Business people are not all that different. The RIGHT mentors, consultants, coaches can prove to be the best investments you may ever make, because the knowledge gained is a direct investment in yourself and your business.
When it comes to making investments, Donald Trump says it best, “It doesn’t matter how much it costs, it matters how much it will make you.”
Mistake #10: You don’t know the real numbers of your business.
Solution: Numbers don’t lie, know your numbers!
You don’t have to be a CPA to know if your business is doing well financially. Business is just math…simple math. As long as the money coming into your business bank account is greater than the money going out over a set period of time then you’re doing something very right as a business person. However, there are many other important numbers that you should know and track in your business which also play a huge role in success or failure such as: website traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, customer acquisition sources, customer retention, lifetime value of a customer, purchase history and frequency of a customer, length of a sales cycle, referral ratio, return ratios, etc. Pretty much any statistic that has a direct impact on getting, growing, and keeping customers is a number you should be looking at consistently.
Ignoring your numbers is equivalent to driving from NY to LA without any advice, directions, or GPS. You may get there eventually (probably not in reality) but you’ll waste a ton of time and money trying to figure it out.
Volume 6-10; In closing
I'm going to repeat what I said in Vol. 1-5...
Don’t ever be afraid of making mistakes because at the end of the day “there are no mistakes there are only lessons.” You learn by falling down, getting back up, and then taking a moment to understand why you fell so that you don’t fall down the same way again.
To read Volume 1-5 of The biggest mistakes you can make in your business, click here.
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Brian Evans - President