By Chad Halvorson
Part of the reason you’re still in business is because of your ability to make sound decisions. Admittedly, you’ve probably made a few doozies that threatened to derail your progress. But despite getting knocked back a few steps, you came back swinging. Next time, you may not be so lucky. If you want to keep your business from taking a one-way trip to the grave, avoid the following 15 decisions.
Skimping on Marketing
If you are not bringing in customers, you can’t earn the profits you need to stay afloat. Since marketing is one of the most important things you can do to reel in buyers, half-stepping on this process can put your business in the red and jeopardize your ability to keep the doors open.
Shunning Employee Morale
Employees’ job satisfaction can make or break your business. When morale is low, it can translate into reduced productivity, higher healthcare costs, high turnover and poor customer satisfaction. Remember, employees are the backbone of your business. You should do all you can to cultivate an environment that supports motivation, confidence and optimism about their jobs.
Neglecting Your Health
If you don’t take care of your health, there is no way you’re going to have the mental and physical stamina to give your business the TLC it deserves. If you are not able to nurture your business, it will crumble bit by bit until it’s gone.
Refusing to Polish Your People Skills
There is more to running a small business than making excellent products and meeting deadlines. The way you communicate and interact with customers plays a key role in whether or not they come back. No matter how good your products are, if your people skills are not on point, your customers will scatter, and your business will die a slow, painful death.
Stealing, rebranding, selling expired products and doing other morally unacceptable things to earn extra profits can tarnish your company’s — as well as your personal — reputation. Losing your dignity, hurting others and possibly spending time in jail is not worth any amount of extra money.
Growing too Fast
Expanding before you can acquire the skills, capital and managerial support you need to handle it can overwhelm you and cause your business to hemorrhage money. Eventually, you won’t be able to absorb the loss, and your company will topple.
Ignoring Customer Feedback
When you toss feedback forms in the trash instead of reading them, you miss out on valuable opportunities to learn what customers want. By the time you do figure out how to improve your products and processes to meet buyers’ needs, it may be too late.
Emphasizing Quantity Over Quality
While productivity is definitely something your company should strive for, it should not be at the expense of quality. If your business earns a reputation for selling shoddy products, customers will move on to a company who cares about what they deliver.
Being Frivolous With Resources
In order to avoid drowning in bad debt, you have to operate on a budget. Spending carelessly on unnecessary resources can drain your cash flow. When there is no money to operate, you can’t make payroll or meet the company’s other financial obligations.
Shunning Stress Management
The daily grind of running a company can put you under a lot of pressure. When the stress is unrelenting, it can cause poor judgment and lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other illnesses that will end your days as a businessperson. To preserve your sanity, do something enjoyable to take your mind off the daily grind of business.
Laziness is one of the worst habits you can have. It affects your motivation and your willingness to meet deadlines. As a result, productivity will suffer and you won’t be able to meet clients’ demands. If you are too indolent to put in the work, your business may not live to see another year.
Being Afraid to Take Risks
While you do need to be cautions, refusing to take carefully researched and well-planned risks will leave you eating your competitors’ dust. Their businesses will burgeon while yours flatlines from fear.
Refusing to Delegate
Your business is your baby, so it’s understandable that you want to handle everything yourself. However, you are only one person and there is no way you can do it all. If you refuse to delegate tasks to subordinates, you will get overwhelmed and the quality of your products will suffer.
Being a Know-It-All
No matter how business savvy you are, you don’t know everything. Having a know-it-all attitude will keep you from improving your skills and seeking out information when you need to. Refusing to change with the times and expand your skill-set and knowledge about the ever-changing world of business can mean death for your organization.
Refusing to Reinvest
In order for your business to keep pace, you have to reinvest profits back into it. If reinvesting is not your top priority, you will hamper your organization’s ability to run efficiently and secure the resources it needs to survive.
When you own a business, making decisions come with the territory. Of course, no matter how smart you are or how long you’ve been in the game, it’s unrealistic to think that every choice you make will be a good one. However, if you’re not careful, certain decisions can actually bury your business for good.
Chad Halvorson is the CEO of thisCLICKS, makers of When I Work, a web-based mobile employee scheduling software.
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