Let’s get straight to point…
1. All Knowing Management
We know and understand that you’re the boss and, that you own the business. And, your business is not a democracy. So What? The job of you as the boss is to lead your business and team to success. Why is it that some bosses feel like they’re right and all knowing, and possibly contributing to some real work, even when this might be far away from the truth? Sitting at the big desk, or behind the two-way mirror, or generating lists from the backroom is not a how a small or mid-size business successfully operates, especially one that is still trying to get established.
Unfortunately, some of these bosses have perfectly wonderful employees, who take very sharp criticism constantly without receiving a positive word. It’s never right enough, it’s never good enough and no one should dare disagree with them. If you see yourself in some small way here, make it your priority to change your attitude, before you lose your good people.
2. Buying too much On Company Credit
The worst thing that you can do as a small entrepreneurs besides running off customers is to run it on too much credit. Too often, whatever credit a small business has, is used up and blown through initially like a pack of monkeys in a banana tree. Often some of this credit even comes from a series of credit cards that have been applied for. And too often, even those companies who have credit, run up more credit than they can repay. Understand the fact that you have to live and run your business within your means. A big problem aside from a business that never was ever close to making money, is that too many business owners find themselves spending things that the business simply doesn’t need. They also seem to take advantage of available credit too often for their own personal benefit. The feeling is, “I need to look successful. I work hard for my money. I can use it anywhere for home or the business.” This is a big no-no in the business world. If your business is one of those businesses that have spent too much money via too much credit, change course immediately before it’s too late.
3. Not Knowing What You Really Want
Do you know what you really want to achieve and be when your business grows up? Or, do you just know you want to be a good or successful business or a retailer. Knowing that you want to be good, or successful, or even the best, is not enough. Good at what? How will you get there? What does good mean? Can you define your good store what your staff will be like? You’ve got to spell it out and it’s best started with a mission statement. Once you know exactly what you want and exactly what you will be the best at, and you know the steps you will take to get there, you will feel better about it all. And, the better you feel about it, the more you will believe it.
4. Working Hard, Where Hard Work Doesn’t Matter
Yes, I know that you understand the importance of getting all of your employees to be rowing the boat in the same direction. But, what if you’re all rowing in the wrong direction? I don’t care how hard you or your employees work by the time you close the doors each day, a lot of hard work and activity doesn’t translate into progress or profits. Time spent does not equal profits or success, or much of anything else. If it’s your employee’s time that is being misused, it certainly means “money wasted”. If you’re not focused on the right things with the right people, you may be getting little value for your hard work.
5. Failing To Measure & Then Monitor
You’ve got to monitor the important metrics, or performance numbers and benchmarks that tell you how you’re doing on the work that is being done and whether your work is getting the results you want. The only way to be certain your time and focus are right, are to measure what matters along the way. Determine how to measure your efforts and what standards you will use, and then monitor those results. Figure out by what metrics you will evaluate your progress. It may be customer traffic, as applied to average sales. It may be sales per hour per person. It should at least be sales per square foot, by product category. It certainly should be at least sales this year vs. last year by day.
6. Underestimating the Demands Of Business:
Business are not for the weak or feeble. The demands of operating a successful business are numerous, and constant. They can be physically and mentally draining at times. Retail entrepreneurs may take risk, but the smart ones educate themselves and analyse the market carefully. Some would-be retailers mistakenly assume they can open and operate a retail store, because they’ve been shoppers all their lives and so they must know retailing. Others think they can do it successfully in their spare time.
Retailing involves a never-ending cycle of buying, stocking, merchandising, marketing, cleaning, dealing with the public and dealing with your own employees. It also means lots of long days and/or nights working both “ON” your business as well as “IN” your business. There is a difference. You will need to do both.
7. Convincing Yourself That Your Customer Service is Fine
This may be the single biggest mistake that talented business or retailers do and do frequently! Every business owner I have ever talked to, has told me they have good customer service, or that they take good care of their customers. CLAPTRAP!! If everyone has such great customer service, then why is customer service in this country is at an all-time low? Do you get great customer service wherever you go? Your store is not there for you, and your customers are not there for your convenience. Taking care of customers does not mean saying, “hello” when they walk in the door, or asking them if there is anything you can do for them, and then taking their money, IF they buy something. Good customer service is not asking an employee for help only to have them read a side of a box or package to the customer to answer the customer’s question. You must train your employees on product knowledge, and the basics of customer service and even courtesy.
Good or great customers service is exceeding your customer’s expectations, being open reliably during convenient hours and being a relevant and interesting store.
8. Loving Your Products Instead of The Marketplace
This problem may happen so slowly, you usually aren’t even aware of it. A business slowly stagnates and becomes less relevant over a period of time, because the owner is so in love with a certain product line, brand or even service, even though the market has changed and the interest from customers in the merchandise has died. This is not a hobby. It’s a business! While you may not want to totally get out of the category or product line, you can and should be monitoring all product lines and categories for sales strengths and weaknesses. You must follow where the market is telling you to go and where your customers are taking you today and tomorrow!
9. A Worthless Advertising and Website Effort
OK, you went out and spent good money to have a web site, because everyone said you should have one. Congratulations! Now does anyone out there really know it’s there? How much traffic are you getting? Creating a great logical campaign or attractive website and putting it on the net without any further plans to get traffic to the site is like building a 5 star resort in a forest. No one would have a clue, if it even existed! More than anything your internet and website needs to become a major connection and relationship builder with your customers, but the greatest web site in the world is useless if you don’t get people and business to it. It’s sad to think of the money that’s been spent and the sheer number of campaign and websites that just sit there with no traffic whatsoever. Getting traffic to your site takes time, effort and perseverance and is not accomplished overnight.