I want to thank Brad Mishlove, CEO and founder of Catapult Groups, for providing our guest blog post for today. I’m confident you will find his insights to be very valuable in helping you move your business forward.
Live, Work, and Relate Well!
If you own a business, it’s time to take your blinders off so you can identify any problems that may be holding you and your business back.
As a business owner, one of the costliest mistakes you can make is not knowing your blind spots. You worked hard to grow your business, and you have faith in your product.
Surveys have shown that 75% of small business owners have an optimistic outlook toward their company’s future, but the numbers don’t bear out this enthusiasm. The truth is, 70% of small businesses will fail by the tenth year, with a full 20% failing within the first year.
What’s holding your business back?
Despite feeling optimistic in the beginning, these business owners failed to see where they were coming up short. Are you setting up roadblocks along your own path to business success? If you are guilty of any of the following, you may be:
1. Not paying attention to reviews
Ignoring customer feedback is a mistake your business can’t afford to make. The internet has made it easy for people to base their purchasing decisions upon the reviews of others. Your reviews build credibility for your business by showing consumers their money will be well-spent when they put their trust in you. Your reviews are your chance to show off your excellent customer service skills.
2. Not having a great team
Your team can make or break your business, so hiring is one area where you won’t want to cut any corners. The best way to attract quality people is to be an inspiring leader yourself, so make sure you are setting a great example. Bring in people with the right skills, knowledge, and attitude, and develop an understanding of the strengths each team member has to offer.
3. Not investing in the right idea
Over 40% of small businesses fail because there was simply no market for their product. You may have faith in your idea, but you’ll need more than a positive attitude to make sure your idea is worth investing in. Do your research and look into businesses driving innovation in your industry, and when you get a new idea be sure to test the waters before you dive in.
4. Not investing in your team
Getting good employees is only half the battle: once you get them, you’ve got to keep them. This is where offering a great benefits package along with the right work-life balance comes in. If you want your team to give their all to your company, you’ve got to give in return. A collaborative work environment will allow you to keep the best people.
5. Not sticking to your budget
Cash flow problems are the number-one reason businesses fail. Creating a realistic budget and sticking to it is one of the most important things you can do for your company’s longevity. Your budget is a measuring stick that will allow you to see if you are successfully reaching your goals, and it will need to be periodically reassessed.
6. Not leaving your comfort zone
Stuck in a business rut? Your problem may be a fear of failure. You can’t get ahead unless you take risks, but too often small business owners are afraid to invest in new ideas because they fear they won’t go over well with their loyal client base. You know what your customers like, but you’ll also need to anticipate their future needs and developing new products as necessary.
7. Not having the right timing
In business, timing is everything. Don’t let your competitors get ahead of you by sitting on your best ideas because you are afraid to make a move. While you are waiting for just the right moment to begin, competing businesses may beat you to the punch. If you’ve got a great idea, start making plans to act on it today. In this competitive market, tomorrow may be too late.
8. Not understanding your market
Online surveys, focus groups, and statistics are a small business owner’s friends. Knowing who your target market is and understanding how you can meet their needs is essential. Your customers are communicating with you in every interaction. Are you listening? If you haven’t made changes based on customer feedback, you may not be.
9. Not being open to different viewpoints
If you aren’t asking your team for their input, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to see your company through fresh eyes. Your employees see your business from a different perspective, and they may see weaknesses that you don’t. Hold one-on-one meetings with your team members, and make sure to seek outside feedback from CEO and peer advisory groups in your area.
To do an honest audit of your business, you’ll need to keep an open mind. Above all, don’t be afraid to get creative. Even if you feel your business is doing well and you are meeting your goals, periodically assessing any potential weak spots in your company’s structure is still a necessary step. Remember, even if you don’t know where your business’s weaknesses lie, your competitors do.
|Brad Mishlove, CEO and founder of Catapult Groups, a business coaching organization is committed to inspiring business owners and entrepreneurs by keeping them accountable for their own success through peer advisory groups and one-on-one executive coaching.|
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.