Business is simple: sell a product or service and get paid. But it’s not easy. Most business leaders admit that business is difficult because of various reasons such as Market conditions, growing competition, finicky customers, and more. To have consistent business growth it takes ton’s of effort.
Yet, many companies fail to grow even when conditions are positive because they commit the same mistakes. Tech billionaire Peter Thiel summed this up when he wrote, “All happy companies are different… All failed companies are the same.”
Don’t fall into the trap of committing any of these blunders because they will cost your business dearly in the long run:
Not building relationships.
As mentioned earlier, most leaders see business as a transaction – sell a product and get paid. They see existing customers as a means to generate revenue and profit.
This is why businesses find it impossible to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Today, business is growing at the speed of trust. Your customers, vendors, employees and other stakeholders must trust you to do what’s the right thing for them. To know what they really need, you must invest in relationships.
Shifting focus from customer building to relationship building will enable your business to deliver value to all stakeholders and turn them into long-term advocates.
Thinking you know your customers.
Many business leaders refuse to speak to customers because they claim to already know what their customers want, which is the same as what customers wanted when the company started selling the product.
Secretly, they’re also afraid that they will not like the answers that customers will give when asked what they want.
For customers, a feature-rich or best-in-class product or service is useless if it doesn’t solve their most pressing problems. You cannot know what their problems are until you ask them. And if you cannot solve customers’ needs, nobody wants what you sell.
When you speak to customers, you can identify which needs are currently not getting served, fulfill them, and build the X-factor for your business.
Offering the lowest price.
Many leaders see customers as unpredictable, shortsighted, stubborn, bothersome and finicky. They think that all customers want are cheap prices and discounts.
But “lowest price” is a fail-safe for a customer. He hopes that the product will help him achieve his goals. If it doesn’t he can take comfort in the fact that he didn’t spend too much and that his losses are dampened.
Low price is a weak business strategy because someone can easily sell at a lesser value than you and in turn, get undercut by someone else. That’s how the whole industry gets ruined.
Instead, help your customers make better decisions. Don’t offer bare minimum services. Make 4-star service delivery predictable. Your customers will readily pay a premium for what you sell.
Everyone does the same thing.
You cannot do the same things and follow the same norms as everyone else in your industry and expect better results.
Many business leaders refuse to develop future-oriented perspectives because the whole industry is at the same level. Nobody worries about getting disrupted, things are going along, and everything functions like it did a decade ago
Customers will put up with what they get because they have no choice. But when someone offers exactly what they need and disrupts the industry (often from outside), they will jump ship without saying a word.
Don’t get caught napping over improvement and growth because nobody in your industry is pursuing the same. It’s better to disrupt yourself than getting disrupt.
Not tracking the numbers.
It’s easy to get sucked into the daily grind and get tempted to think that everything is going fine. Without measuring the performance of your business, you could get shocked by the sales figures at the end of the month.
Numbers indicate the health of your business. They show how much your people are doing what’s expected from them. Working without tracking numbers is like driving without knowing how much fuel your vehicle has and how far your destination is.
Data lets you hold people accountable for their tasks and identify how you can make your business more efficient and effective.
Only tracking numbers.
On the other extreme of not tracking numbers is relying only on the number and nothing else. Many business leaders pull up numbers during reviews and tell people (and departments) lagging behind that they “have to do better.”
Numbers offer insights into behaviour. As a leader, you must dig deeper to understand the reason behind the numbers and work with your people to improve them. Discuss what worked and what didn’t, design action points along with your people, and set timelines to achieve them.
When you dive deeper into numbers, you get data-oriented insights on what you can do to achieve your business goals.
Refusing to Change
All companies that failed have displayed common traits when it came to evolution – they did not keep up with customer needs, failed to cash in on opportunities, refused to learn and apply new techniques and processes, and rewarded longevity instead of high performance in employees.
If you want to live in the present or the future, you cannot stick to the beliefs of the past. You must get high performers on board, empower them to take decisions, and move fast to keep up with the times.
It’s important to understand that your business cannot grow if you don’t focus on metrics that are relevant today. What you did you get here is not going to work to get you into the future.
And if your company stagnates, you cannot evolve as a professional and an individual, and will forever be stuck in the feeling of wanting the good old days when you had lesser employees and could sleep peacefully at night