Ten Ways To Kill Your Business

Nov 17, 2021 | 0 comments

In my own personal experience as a business owner, and certainly as a coach, I’ve learned to recognize some common pitfalls that can be the undoing of hard-working entrepreneurs.

Here is a list of 10 ways to kill your business. I really hope you are NOT guilty of a single one of these self-sabotaging behaviours, but if you are, I’ve got you covered. 

1) Lead with ego and infallibility

Your business is setup to serve an ecosystem of customers, staff and vendors. It is not about you. When you lead from a place of boosting your own profile or making decisions that serve you first and foremost, it puts the wrong message out to the ecosystem and leads to decisions that don’t support the good of the business.

I worked with an organization where the president was always looking for someone else to blame. He was infallible. Subsequently, his management team also looked to someone else to blame for any issues or failings. This attitude crept through the whole company and created a culture of blame and average performance.

Do this instead:

A good organization needs to recognize its failings — starting with the owner and leadership. Create a culture where everyone admits mistakes, owns them and works to be better. We are all human and everyone makes mistakes. Do not shame people for making mistakes, that only creates fear of trying new things. Which leads into my next topic…

2) Lack of adaptability and innovation

The classic line, “we’ve always done it like this” may be an indicator that your organization is tied too tightly to the past and not looking forward enough. If you don’t look for ways to do things better, you will fall behind.

Your competitors will continue to innovate so your company needs to change and adapt at a higher rate to stay ahead. It doesn’t need to be cutting edge, space-age innovation — just do just a little more each month to create efficiency and look to improve the quality and experience of what you deliver.

Do this instead:

Ask yourself, what will our business and marketplace look like in 10 years? What does the “flying car” of our business look like? Get your team thinking about change and adaptation. Create a vision of innovation and leadership ten years into the future. Start by asking staff, what can we do better? What isn’t working well? What do customers want?

3) Poor communication or no communication

Have you ever been too busy or wrapped up in your work to properly explain a task to an employee, and then got frustrated when the project wasn’t completed the way you were hoping for? Minimal communication gets you minimal results.

I just heard about a person being terminated with an email that said, “Jane Doe is no longer with the organization, we wish her well.” This email set off a firestorm of questions for other people, nervousness about their careers, and a culture of distrust. Hasty emails communicate far more than the words they are made up of.

Do this instead:

Take one extra minute and re-read emails, to ensure you are being explicit, and ask for feedback to ensure the message is coming through as intended. Never assume anything. Good communication is transparent, explains situations clearly, sets expectations and gives a voice to everyone in an organization.

4) Don’t trust or invest in your team

Want to ensure you can’t scale or grow your company? Then make sure you keep all critical information and tasks (like cash management) at the owners desk. Don’t trust people with your money, key clients or big decisions. This kind of disempowerment is a surefire way to limit the growth of the business.

Do this instead:

Consistently invest in your team’s skills, abilities and improvement, give them more critical tasks to manage. You will free up more of your own time and share the responsibility and success. You will increase capacity and raise morale, and create a better FLOW. Good employees want to be challenged, supported and given the chance to contribute to your business.

5) Presume “doing good work” will be enough to grow the company

Mastering your product or service IS important, but it’s not enough. Many business owners think if they just deliver a good product or service, growth will happen naturally as a bi-product (referrals, repeat business). Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. In fact, thanks to attrition, if you take this approach, your business will remain flat, eventually dying a long, slow death.

Do this instead:

Keep the commitment to doing great work, but know that if you want to grow, you need to have an active growth strategy. In order to grow, you need an intention and focus, as well as a plan. Commit to your annual active sales and marketing strategy. Growth requires consistent effort, it does not happen by chance.

6) Compete on price

If you want to suck the life out of your business in the fastest time possible, aim to be the lowest cost option in your market. The lowest revenues will drive you to cutting your own overhead costs, and that will eventually lead you to deliver a poor offering and getting known as the discount brand! Your business will be dead in no time!

Do this instead:

Raise your prices and add value to your customers and clients! The cost to improve the experience someone has when buying from you will be exponentially less than the perceived value. People love the extra little touches, like Sleep Country delivery drivers wearing little slip-on boot covers when delivering your mattress or your hairdresser offering you a beverage while getting your hair dyed. Creating a memorable experience is KEY.

7) Make yourself the controlling bottleneck

No one else does it better than you, right? No one else can make important decisions, because, well, it’s your business and they just don’t get it! So keep yourself involved in ALL projects and watch the work pile up on your desk while your staff become disengaged. YOU cannot do everything yourself! You’ll burn yourself out and the business will be flatlining in no time!

Do this instead:

Hire great people, pay them well, take time to train them, trust them and then EMPOWER them to make decisions and run certain areas of your business for you. No business owner should be slowing the progress of their own ship! Be the owner who shares the responsibility with your team and celebrates with them too!

8) Let the finances take care of themselves

Don’t worry, the numbers will take care of themselves. That stuff is for the accountant anyways. Checking in with them once a year is plenty. I mean, micromanaging that stuff is such a drag. This attitude is a recipe for overspending, under managing and it has to stop.

Do this instead:

Know your numbers and stick with your budgets. Have regular budget meetings and make sure your managers are watching their numbers closely as well. The responsibility of managing the finances should not all be on you, but you must stay accountable to company budgets and keep your team accountable to following their budgets as well.

9) Worry about sales, tomorrow

You’ll make that follow-up call tomorrow, right? Maybe next week… and that guy that you talked to last week, he wanted more information on…what was it? Maybe someone else is following up with him. You’ll have that big proposal out at the end of the week… at the latest… If this is your attitude to generating sales then, I’m sorry, but your business is doomed.

Do this instead:

Keep your CRM up to date. Schedule time in your calendar daily to check in on the status of leads, make phone calls and send emails. I’m talking every. single. day. As the owner of the business you set the pace for sales. Leadership selling is key for all organizations and sales is the drumbeat of every business. Be the leader of the sales marching band for your company.

10) Ad hoc Marketing

If sales are down, now is the time to focus on marketing, right? And once business is going well, I can turn off my ad spending, right? Wrong! Marketing should be a consistent effort but you wouldn’t believe how many business owners I see give little to no thought to marketing, or, giving up after one or two poorly planned and failed attempts. 

Do this instead:

Your annual marketing plan must be well designed and executed consistently, year round. Marketing is more than just advertising. Understand what your buyers want from you at each stage leading up to their decision to buy. All businesses need a consistent strategy to generate awareness, leads, and sales and it should be operating like clock-work. Not the owner driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the break.

There you have it! My list of ten common business killers that I really hope you AREN’T doing!

With the holidays and the end of the year fast approaching, I hope you are feeling great about the progress that you’ve made in your business this year. And if you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, or need a little help, I encourage you to reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping entrepreneurs achieve success in business and in life is my mission — I’ve got your back.

Like these tips? Follow me on Instagram, or join my Facebook Group for more business ownership advice and inspiration!

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AUTHOR

Marty Park

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