As a business owner, you may think of your enterprise as having one thing in common with the great white shark – it must be constantly moving or it will perish.
While growing your business is important, you need to make sure that you do so properly; otherwise, you may find that it slows down and to the point that there is nothing you can do to get it to start moving along swimmingly again.
Beware of these common mistakes that could slow the growth of your business:
1. Not Learning How to Delegate.
When you started your business, you were the person who was responsible for all the functions required to keep it running. Over time, you need to learn to take a step back, even though this can be difficult, and delegate, because you need to be able to focus on more important things. Tasks that can be handed off to other people can, and should be, at your earliest opportunity. Otherwise, you end up being bogged down in the day-to-day tasks that can eat up all your time.
2. Too Emotionally Involved with your Product or Service.
The purpose of your business is to make money. You may have developed a product that you see the value of and believe in, but if there is no viable market for it, you are going to need to let it go, no matter how much time, effort and money you have invested in it.
The same is true if you are providing a service. If you are finding that your customers are no longer requesting a particular service as often, but it’s one that you particularly like providing, it is time to make some changes.
3. Stereotyping People When Recruiting.
When the time comes to bring people in, do you have a picture in your mind what your staff will be like? If you are looking for a web developer, don’t expect that your candidates will be skinny, geeky young fellows in their 20s. There are plenty of women in this field too.Another well-known stereotype is the ‘white van man’, which is a little outdated these days. We usually expect a white van driver to be rude and selfish, but actually, people who work in the trades are more than willing to help out friends and would stop to help out another driver in need – try this quiz to see if you break the mould!
4. Neglecting to Listen to your Customers.
Far too many business owners forget the “service” part of customer service. Customers are the bread and butter of their business, and their questions and concerns matter.
If a customer is not happy with a product or the service he or she received, then that person deserves to be heard, even if the customer is angry or difficult to deal with. You might not like the way the customer is framing the message but the message itself is important for you to hear.
It’s easy to hear praise for the things you are doing right, but you can only learn how to correct things that are holding you back from growth if you listen to the customers who take the time to tell you about areas where you can improve. They can just as easily say nothing and simply take their custom elsewhere, and you would be none the wiser.
5. Failing to Plan for Growth.
An estimated 50 percent of small businesses in the UK end up in failure, according to a Guardian statistic.
One of the key issues is that their owners do not prepare a viable business plan that includes plans for expected business practices, use of technology and both short and long-range forecasts. These are your plans for growing your business.
If you will be investing in new technology for your business, for example, you need to consider how it can grow with your firm over time. How fast can you upgrade your servers to handle more volume if online sales increase quickly? Do you have a plan in place to offer 24 hour customer service or support as it becomes necessary? Would you handle that in-house or hire a subcontracting firm?
All of these details should be part of your plan. Even if you recognize yourself in some of these common mistakes that could slow the growth of your business, it’s not too late to make changes.
No one makes all the right choices all of the time, and mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow, albeit in a different way than what you originally had in mind.