Picture of Kimberlie Williams
Written by Kimberlie Williams


Mistakes are inevitable in business, but that doesn’t mean that some may be preventable. Throughout the years, many business have repeated similar mistakes over and over, only to realize that when they accepted that there was an issue, it was too late. Valuable time and money went down the drain. Know the signs and catch on before your company gets added to the hall of shame.

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1. Weighing Visions of the Future More Heavily Than Their Customers

Many companies get so caught up in the vision of what their business could be in the future, that they lose sight of the customers right in front of them. This is particular true in tech companies. They develop something innovative and see how it could dramatically shift and change industries worldwide. The thing is, it’s rare that these companies will be the only ones taking part in that particular race. When one person smells a feast, others will soon arrive. 

In fact, studies show that it’s very rare for the company that initially created the innovative product, service, or improvement to stay on top. It’s usually who does it best in the eyes of customers, which means if you’ve alienated your customers as nothing more than people to fund your plan A and don’t come out on top, it could spell disaster for your company. Don’t forget to find the proper balance. Your customers are the people who made your company what is today, so give them the respect they deserve.


2. Not Focusing On The Customer Experience

People don’t want to struggle to use your products and services. If you don’t dedicate time and energy to customer support, making improvements, or following up with your customers to make sure they’re getting what they wanted out of your business, then what’s their incentive to stick around as a recurring customer? This kind of behavior is lazy at best, and a business repellent at worst. Actively engaging prospects through onboarding and continuing over their customer life cycle is key to retaining customers.

For example, maybe your business is harder to use because it lacks integration. People want a one-stop shop for all their activities. They want to go to one place to transfer their data and handle it in various ways—safely. When you set up your business in a way that directly opposes this from the start, that not only invites competition for your business, but more windows of opportunity for cyber security threats as well. Working with your customers help retain them and protect your business.


3. Not Exploring Your Customers’ Past in the Industry

Your company could learn a lot about its prospects based on their previous purchases within your industry. Businesses are often so focused on closing their own sale that they miss the opportunity of collecting valuable information about competitors. When people are exploring their options, they can also at their most frustrated. This makes them more likely spout off any and all of the problems that sent them flying into your company’s arms.

Getting to the root of why these prospects left or are considering leaving will help your company improve promotions and future operations. This could even expose a competitive advantage your company was not even aware that it had. This information could be used to lure more customers away from your competitors.


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4. Being Scared of Failure

There’s not a single business that exists that has never had failure. The sooner you more people understand and accept that, the less their businesses will be limited. This isn’t to say that everyone should just steamroll ahead with whatever idea pops into their head and hope for the best, but move forward wisely.

Your team should move forward by taking educated risks. Collect the proper data. Weigh the costs and potential revenue. Observe the trends in your own data and unbiased professionals. Collect customer opinions. Run trials, experiments, and demos. Break your plans up into smaller parts and test them over time. The underlying fear is a need to do well and there’s a variety of ways to vet a decision than going off a gut instinct.


5. Not Planning

Plan for both the short term and the long term. Most businesses have a thorough plan their short term and can get through their daily operations seamlessly, but things get a bit dicey when it comes to their long-term plans.


When you ask companies like these about their long-term goals, they may throw out vague, ballpark numbers with undefined steps to achieve it. It’s almost like the fear of failure rears its ugly head again. If they don’t fully commit to a revenue goal, they didn’t fail, right? In order to foster growth, these companies need to plan toward a number that pushes the boundaries of what they thought was possible business.

They could plan to cut more costs, bring in more revenue, acquire more customers—whatever their goals may be, they need to attainable with their capabilities and resources. It should not be a major stretch based on your means or too safe. The goal is growth. This goals should also have a specific deadline and be measurable, so that your team can see which areas fell flat in meeting or showed the biggest gains in achieving it. This way your company can use this information to strategize even better for growth.


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