Did you ever notice that some businesses succeed while yours does not? Did you also notice that yours does not even though you’re pumping money into it hand-over-fist?
This is not an uncommon problem in the business world. Many people think their business can grow just fine if they did it all themselves or that they can save money by doing it themselves.
And that could work, if you open your store early and sweep the floors. Or catch some customer service calls. But eventually, you gotta get back to doing what you truly do. Running the business. If you’re a plastic surgeon, this could mean you would have a surgery or two to do.
Some even think they know everything and that others aren’t usually right. Uh oh. This kind of thinking creates ripe conditions for you to make mistakes, however subconsciously.
Mistakes You Make That Stop Your Revenue From Growing
Not Having Product Market Fit; Your Market Doesn’t Really Need You
We’re not calling you out here. You may certainly have product/market fit, in which case, you can skip to the next section.
Everyone knows the old joke about the salesman who was so good that he could “sell ice to an eskimo.” In the real world, however, this almost never works on a large scale or over the long haul.
You might be able to dupe people of a certain demographic to buy something they don’t need a few times. Customers, however, will catch on quickly enough to scuttle any long-term plans you may have had for continuously selling those items.
You need to make your products and services fit the market to which you wish to sell
You want to plan to sell space heaters to people who live in cold climates and ice to people who live in hot climates. Kids have started businesses (some behemoths too) out of solving a need, a pain. Like taking away someone’s junk. Or shovelling snow off their driveway before they wake up.
Extrapolation of data is also essential. Not only do you want to ensure your products fit the market, but you also want to ensure that other products associated with your primary stuff fits the market.
Being Content with Referrals and Referral Generation
Referrals are a great tool to gain new customers. There is a catch, however.
You cannot predict where your next referral will come from, or when. Relying too much on referrals and their generation is almost a pyramid scheme. Remember that they’re an unstable commodity that doesn’t guarantee an income.
Yes, you should cultivate a culture of referrals, but they should never be the “be all and end all.” Make them part of your overall strategy.
Micro-Managing or Trying To Control Each Part of the Process
You try to take on every job in the company. Only your way works, so why let anyone else have an original idea, right?
You think the sales guy isn’t doing a good job on the phone. So you decide to do it yourself.
Or you think marketing doesn’t require a dedicated person. So you decide to do it yourself.
Or if you decide to hire someone for that position, you’re okay with nickle and diming them because you don’t see how important that job is.
Or even if you did hire the right people for the job, you watch their every move. Forget that. You want loyal employees, so you should let them do the jobs that you hired them to do.
You developed your judgment of both character and skills for a reason. You want to hire and retain the best people.
So, don’t put your hands in every cookie jar. You trusted yourself to get the right team assembled, so let them do the jobs you hired them to do.
Not Gathering Customer Feedback & Not Leveraging It
Another micro-management pitfall is thinking you know better than the customer what the customer wants. Here’s a hint: You don’t.
Think of how you would feel as a customer if you wanted something, and the company ignored you. You wouldn’t remain a customer for long, would you?
That’s not to say that you need to do everything the customer says. You should take what they say seriously, however.
After gathering customer feedback, you should make sure the customers you that you heard and are acknowledging their concerns. Follow through, though, and don’t just shine them on.
Not Being Consistent with Marketing
Back in the day, people persevered. Today? Not so much. Everyone wants to become an overnight profitable company. And while that’s not unheard of, it’s an exception, not a rule.
For example, a technology company called Slack. It allows company employees to “chat” to get stuff done faster instead of relying on the “delay” of email communication. They marketed the product for a year and a half consistently from 2012 onwards.
It wasn’t until mid-to-late 2014 when they really began to see their technology get massive adoption.
Today, Slack is a billion dollar company.
They didn’t give up after 2 months of trying a marketing strategy like business owners seem to do today. Instead, they waited for a longer period and began to see incremental gains.
Marketing is harder in 2019. People are installing ad blockers in droves (54% last we checked). There are a ton more companies who are ditching traditional media and joining the fray for digital marketing. All this results in a lot of ads, and less eyeballs and _still_ trying to get ahead of the pack.
Being consistent is one way to stand out.
The Feast or Famine Monster
You have a new business, and you’ve drummed up a boatload of clients: Yay! Two years later, you’re staring out the window, fearfully looking for an army of creditors.
This is a harsh wake-up call for many people in business. “What happened?” they cry.
Remember how you’re not supposed to focus exclusively on referrals? The “famine” part of the business cycle comes in when you spend no time on generating leads outside of referrals. Just because you have 200 paying clients today doesn’t mean you’re still going to have them in the future.
Customers leave for a variety of reasons. Some of them are your fault, but the one that catches most entrepreneurs off guard is the fact that, sometimes, the customer simply doesn’t need your product or services anymore.
You always have to be looking for new customers while, at the same time, taking care of the ones you have. You have to change your paradigm continually to ensure you can meet the needs of not only your client base but also your future customers.
You may not always be in “feast mode,” but by doing this, you can avoid the famine cycle and the disaster it portends. This all ties back in to the the idea of being consistent.
Consistency isn’t just doing things the same way. But also, consistency is about striving to do the right things at the right time and remaining flexible in the face of adversity.
The Other Stuff
Not everything is marketing and sales. Part of being consistent is doing the little things that customers value too.
Clients love glad-handing. Also, they can tell when you’re faking it.
Learning to schmooze effectively is a crucial skill. Sure, you can learn to “be genuine,” but the truly successful business people are those who really mean it.
It’s a well-known trope, but customer service at all levels is as crucial as schmoozing at the top. If the people who work for you don’t treat the clients and customers well, then no amount of back slapping will keep them.
In the 21st century, everyone offers discounts and other monetary rewards. Business keep customers by moving beyond that.
Customer loyalty involves thinking outside the box too. One company encourages their employees to “do something sweet.”
Their employees randomly stick coupons or other small, beneficial items on car windshields and tuck the same kinds of things into bicycle wheels. These “bonuses” are small rewards, but as the very old saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.”
This strategy may not work for you, but you can certainly come up with small, appreciative things to do that will work for your company and its customers.
The Final Word
Patience is a virtue. In business, it’s also a survival trick.
Nothing that lasts over the long-term happens overnight. Beanie Babies, for example, hit the world like a tsunami of stuffing in 1993.
In the late 1990s, Spinner the Spider sold for thousands of dollars. Now, he goes on eBay for about $70.
In fact, Spinner the Spider stopped being thousands of dollars just about a year after his price spiked.
Beanie Babies didn’t last at the top. They hit the scene and faded into relative obscurity after a few short years.
Conversely, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle cost a few pennies back in the day. Recently, more than 60 years after the fact, a 1952 Topps Mantle sold for $2.88 million!
You want to plan for the future so that your revenue goes up like the 1952 Topps Mantle over time and not fizzle like the 1990s Beanie Babies. Plan for the long haul and not the quick buck.
Back when Japan was ruling the business world, they had a saying: Americans plan for the next quarter, but we plan for the next quarter century. To succeed you must never expect everything to happen instantly.
And, do you know what? This is your lucky day!
We know someone who can help you get started. We see that person every day in the mirror!