In business, as in life, some of the best advice I learned early on was not to try to be all things to all people, because it typically means you are only trying to please everyone, but yourself. Most of the time we jeopardize our true strength to focus on what we may not be successful at and create overall pressures for ourselves, our budget, and our company as a whole. We tend to not focus on the tasks at hand, and place our focus on things that are not going to help in making our business better, but weaker. I have seen a number of very smart people get into business only to ultimately fail because they didn’t look at their business through the eyes of how to have success, but instead focused solely on having the “build it and they will come” mentality.
The first thing I have seen business owners do that will not help their business grow is take things personally when things don’t go their way. What I mean by this is simply this; they think the world is out to want them fail. That couldn’t be further from the truth! The world is not out to get you. The world wants you to succeed. The saying, “It’s business, not personal,” strikes a cord with me. If business is going to continue, someone has to be held accountable. The purpose of business is to make a profit, change the world, let your voice be heard, and that other things, such as personal feelings, must not be allowed to prevent this. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop personal relationships with co-workers, team members, clients, etc. It just means that you can’t let that fog your brain when you need to make an important decision about your brand.
The second thing I have seen business owners do that will not help their business grow is that they don’t take their bills seriously and they are always looking to save money, by cutting corners. First off, the saying, “You need to spend money to make money,” is true to its core. You can’t expect to make money when you are afraid to take risks. You need to market yourself and your brand. You need office supplies. You need money for insurance, rent, stamps, staff, etc. Cutting corners and trying to save a buck or two, usually never works out. (This depends on the corners you are trying to cut. There is a thing called the Internet that can help you save time and possibly money. But use it wisely.) There are the companies that don’t understand that when you hire someone to help you succeed, or purchase a different service, you are paying for that service. Therefore, you need to treat every invoice as you would want your customers to treat your invoices. You have to remember that everyone has bills to pay, not just you. Always pay your invoices on time. When you don’t, that is a reflection on you and your character, not the company’s.(From which you are paying)
Thirdly, it takes a combination of strategic planning and creative thinking to ensure that a brand or business is successful. Going into a business without a plan is never a smart move. I wouldn’t want to start a business if I didn’t know if I had opportunities for it to grow, how long it will take to get it off the ground, and what effort and amount of energy I need to put into the business for it to grow. A lot of times people don’t realize that the location, location, location, of your business is going to have the most effect on if you are going to succeed or fail. For example, opening a deli on a street with no foot traffic isn’t a good idea. But at the same time, today, social media is the only thing that is going to either make you or break you. And most companies hire “big” name companies that whisk them off their feet to handle their social media instead of hiring local social media experts to handle the gig. If you don’t hire the right people to help spread the word on your brand, you mostly are heading for failure. And not to mention, you are headed for sleepless nights!
Finally, the most important thing NOT to do, is to give up on your business too early. In today’s world, everyone wants instant gratification. But with patience, perseverance and determination, you can have your business grow. Remember, Facebook wasn’t making any money for a very long time, and it was considered a billion dollar business. Stick to the fundamentals. Good things, sometimes, take time.