01. Not staying on top of consumer needs
In our previous blog post, “Don’t Fear the Feedback” we stress the importance of always keeping the dialogue open with your customers on how they’re feeling about your business. By always engaging with your audience, you get a direct response of areas of improvements that you may have never identified. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking every word literally and doing as they wish. But figuring out why they have these hiccups with your business, and implementing a strategy that best fits your business’ needs is the way to go. You can broaden the scope of how you collect your feedback by emailing a simple survey, leaving a quick form to fill, or if you’re using Handlr, your customers can automatically review/rate your business right after the service is performed, straight off their phone.
Burnout is way too common of a problem with small business owners. It’s a double-edged sword to do what you love but it requires so much effort to see little growth sometimes. No one realizes that to be an entrepreneur, is to also sign-up for a 24 hour job. You live, breath, and sleep your business and that can throw you into a crazy, go-go-go mentally. Some tips to avoid the entrepreneurial burnout:
Hire a team you can trust – find skilled, high-quality workers that want to be apart of your business’ growth. From our past experiences, our best employees come from referrals from family and friends, or using hiring platforms like Hireology to match up better candidates and hire smarter.
Don’t be afraid to delegate the work – have trust in your team members to check off some of your tasks. It will challenge them in ways that help them grow, and make them feel like a true MVP on the team.
Put automation in place – by utilizing business management platforms like Handlr, it can save you hours and hours per week on mundane tasks. Forget dealing with that stack of paperwork, and embrace freedom with automated scheduling, invoicing, and more.
Take a vacation once in awhile and don’t feel guilty about it – we all know and need that friend that forces us to go on a weekend getaway. And once in a blue moon, you’ll half-heartedly say yes and go. But so does your laptop, your phone, your forms, and before you know it, you’re still working on your R&R time. Taking a step back and breaking your work state-of-mind is a great thing to do. Listen – it’s a great thing to give yourself a real break. Taking a vacation refreshes the mind and lets you come back to your Monday more focused with new perspectives.
03. Not staying on top of digital trends
Technology is an ever evolving industry, and it’s a challenge for business owners to stay current with already little spare time. This little investment of just keeping in-the-know with the tech industry can pay off big amounts for your business. Check in on the “technology” section of your news source, get ideas from your customers and other business owners, or discovering emerging platforms on your own that could potentially help launch your business is what this is all about. And don’t be afraid to learn new things! Being complacent with your software that was designed in 1999 is definitely holding your business’ potential back – exponentially. It’s time for that upgrade. This also ties in with point 1. of keeping up to date with your customers’ needs. If your customers are always using their phone to find information or buy products, it’s a clear indicator of perhaps you’d want to expand that way as well.
04. Profitable Business Model
At the end of the day, if your business isn’t showing profit, it’s in a state of decline. First, make sure you’ve reduced you’re outgoings as much as possible, like using cheap stickers to advertise. Identify where the money gets made and shift your focus. For example if a lot of your sales come from calls, invest in Eatel Business Phone Solutions to make the most of it.
It’s a game of trial and error but there’s a tremendous amount of gains to be made. We all know of the beginning story of Zappos where they weren’t even sure consumers would be comfortable with buying shoes online. So what did they do? They threw up images of shoes and a couple of “Buy Now” buttons to gauge the response. Orders flooded in, and they had to scramble to buy shoes from retailers to fulfill orders. Now, they make over $2 Billion in gross merchandise sales per year. The lesson learned? They weren’t afraid to research and investigate where the money was. Identify your profitable strengths or else you’ll end up in the 80% business failure bracket.
05. Out-of-Control Growth
This is an unfortunate scenario of overnight success that we’ve seen too frequent in the past. Businesses nail a product and the demand is skyrocketing high. But the infrastructure is lacking – not enough hands on deck, manufacturers aren’t solidified, the business owner takes out a huge loan to make the ends meet, and things just go flying out of control. Sometimes, baby steps to scaling a business is the route to go where you can control and fine-tune details just the way is needed.
The take aways: Failure is expected in the entrepreneur world but it’s the reaction to it that matters. See failures as a learning opportunity and lesson for the future. A true entrepreneur will get back up from the failures, find a new venture, AND apply the lessons learned from past failures to come back stronger than ever. Be resilient, persistent, and dedicated to the work will pay off down the road.