A good read and a comprehensive list from our friends at Synup – recommended for all local business owners…
As a small to midsize business, being present on the web can make or break your business. Doing things properly can only help further your business agenda. If you don’t do things properly, it could bite you in the behind, so it’s best to consider everything when setting up your site to avoid issues down the road.
Here are our top 101 mistakes that you as an SMB should avoid. We’re breaking this into sections to ensure that you hone in on the sections that are most applicable to you.
General business information:
- Not having a clear purpose. Does your business have a truly clear purpose?
- No strategy.Do you have a strategy that helps realize that purpose? Review your plan and organizational goals at least once a year, preferably quarterly, to see if you’re staying on target.,
- Not respecting employees. Your most important customers are your employees.
- Losing the passion. If you’re building something and you’re in it because you felt you had to, and not because you wanted to, your product will suffer and you will be unhappy. Either change directions and give up the pursuit, or continue with the trudge despite its incompatibility with your values. You want to go to work empowered and happy, not dejected and unhappy.
- Not striving to improve. Never settle for status quo!
- Not having a unique value proposition. What makes you better than the other guy offering the same service down the street? Competition is fierce. If you have a competitive advantage, flaunt it!
- Poor grammar and spelling. People are not going to want to do business with those who don’t have a firm grasp of the language and spelling. If you can’t spend a little bit of time proofreading, you give off the impression that you simply don’t care. Is that really true?
- Not humanizing the business. In this day and age, it’s critical to communicate to people with emotion. Be funny on your company blog. Be approachable on social media. Show videos of the happenings behind the scenes.
- Not building relationships: If you build them, they will come.
- Having poor customer service (or none at all): Your customer service is one of the primary ways people will know to work with you (or not). If you’re not responding to phone calls, you’re losing leads. If you’re not getting back to people after promising something, you’re losing credibility. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you might find yourself with a 1 star review on Yelp, and then what? Probably nothing, except you just cost yourself a handful (or more) of potential clients. Whoops.
- Not asking for their business. You’ve just engaged a potential prospect and then forgot, after the meeting, to ask them to patronize you by buying your product or service. Don’t let them walk out of the door without knowing next actionable steps.
- Being too timid. Unless you’re an intern sitting behind a computer, most small businesses require some face to face time with clients. Show confidence in your product offering and be personable too. I would very much rather work with someone who has personality than someone who I spend my time with who doesn’t say a word.
- Not communicating. Communicate regularly with your customer. Find out what s/he likes about you. Find out what you can do better. Offer deals and promotions to keep your product top of mine and to ensure they keep coming back.
- Taking on projects that you can’t execute upon well. Do whatever is within your skillset. Don’t take on projects that are not within your core competency. If you’re a painter, don’t offer to cut lawns. Veterinarians don’t do plastic surgery. You shouldn’t either!
- Not building external relationships: It’s not just about your current customers but about the relationships you can build that will help you grow your customer base. A barber shop can align with the town carnival. A fitness center can align with a healthy restaurant. Find partnerships and co-promote each other!
- Putting decisions solely in the hands of experts. Experts know things, but you have a gut feeling too. Trust your gut–and let the expertise follow.
- Making things too complex rather than simplified. Simplify your business plan. Don’t do 50 things because it would seem awesome. It would just overwhelm people, as Barry Schwartz explains in his book, The Paradox of Choice. If you cut hair, cut hair. Don’t offer a cat cafe in a side room and a gardening class in another room.
- Not having a disaster recovery plan in place. Any business, big or small, needs a disaster recovery plan. In other words, all data needs to be backed up somewhere, such as to an offsite location. Using online tools such as Dropbox and CrashPlan are two preferred methods of backup for all local files on the computers in the office. The more subscriptions, the better! (I use both.)
- Losing confidence in yourself based on your company. You are not equivalent with your company. If your company has performance issues, don’t let it get to you. When things get rough, don’t go down in the dumps with it.
- Assuming your product will sell itself. Especially when starting out in a new business, you may think that EVERYONE will love your business. Now, you’re open for customers–yet no one comes. Word of mouth is critical!
- Not having a budget. You need to pay to play. Without funding, you probably can’t accomplish much. If you have to seek outside investment, go for it.
- Making bad hires. Hire smartly. You will make mistakes.
- Working hard but not smart.
- Not giving up control. There’s no way you can do it all, so don’t be afraid to bring someone on board who can help you succeed.
- Not celebrating successes. Employee morale goes up when you make people feel happy at work.