No-one wants to kill their business, but sadly enough, there are many Aussie business owners out there, who are doing just that – often unintentionally. As an expert business coach, who works with a huge range of service-based (and e-commerce businesses), I see things every day that I need to redirect clients on and guide them to do much better. These are probably six things that you might think are ‘little’ and don’t matter that much, but have a read; the impact really can affect a business in a big way over time. In business improvement, it’s often what I call the ‘One Percent-ers’ which make the difference. It’s the hundred little things you do to have a great business.
How to Kill A Business
1. Spam filters will kill your business.
I know so many people who spend a heap of money on their marketing, tonnes of time quoting and once they hit that ‘send’ button on their email with the quote, they think, ‘great, my job is done’. WRONG! Just because you sent the quote, doesn’t mean the person received it; in fact, these days with extra strong spam filters and so much junk mail that drives us crazy, it’s very likely your quote is sitting in a ‘junk box’. Did you know that just over 50% of emails are spam! I’ve been telling my business coaching clients for years now that they need to follow up with a prospect to confirm the quote was received. I recently requested a quote from a service provider and was impressed to see they followed that same similar practice themselves. It just doesn’t ensure your quote was received, it shows interest in the potential customer’s business and effectiveness. You likely spend some good money on marketing; you owe your business (and your team) a smart sales process. You spent that marketing money, now give your quotes and your sales process the best possible chance!
2. No quote or enquiry follow-up will kill your business.
I coach clients to have a great sales process and this includes follow up on quotes. Many new clients express concern about following up; they feel they are hassling their prospective customer, or worse “I just don’t have the time; I’m too busy quoting!” Imagine if you followed up on quotes, were able to improve your sales conversion rate by 50%, then to maintain the same success level, you could quote much less. When you think about it, quoting often takes more time than following up. Sales should be a process and often it’s a numbers game; you can improve the numbers so you have to work less hard. Remember that expression ‘work smarter, not harder’.
3. Poor (or non-existent) strategic marketing will be a killer.
But before you even worry about your sales process, have a great strategic marketing plan, which ideally is in writing (documented) and is for the next 6-12 months. I say it’s great to have it pre-planned and in place and thought out in advance, so you can avoid a few things. Firstly, avoiding not advertising because you’re currently busy and just don’t have the time to think about it at present. Don’t worry, that ‘busy’ period might well change in a few months! The sales funnel works on a timeline. Depending on the industry and the business, if your marketing today, means quoting next month, and maybe work in 3 or 6 months’ time. There will be a lag effect if you don’t do things well now, later on. The other thing, is having a plan, means you don’t panic. Plus, I ensure clients I’m coaching to not only have a strategic plan, but a nicely balance plan, which is what we call in marketing as a 360-degree marketing plan, which incorporates a number of strategies; rather than putting all your eggs in one or two baskets.
4. Poor business management will definitely be a killer.
Business management encompasses so much – it’s more than operations. It’s more than having a great marketing plan. It’s about doing a great job, without waste. Many business owners think that waste is a piece of food, offcut of timber, or perhaps a badly made product. Waste can also be people’s time. Maybe your team are being lazy; or maybe your team are being forced by you to use an antiquated or duplicating system? Maybe they lack direction, or great processes which ensure quality and efficiency? Business improvement should occur in any economic climate.
5. Alerting staff and customers you’re in trouble is another killer.
Just as I say to business owners if they are considering selling (especially a service-based business where you, the owner, really have an impact or strong relationships with staff, customers and suppliers) then the worse thing you can do is tell people you’re selling OR you’re in dire straits. As much as some people will feel for you; it will be a sure way to start a mass exodus. I knew a business years ago where the owner put a post on Facebook inviting clients to buy his business. This didn’t happen, but many clients fled and you can’t take something like that back. The opportunity to fix things, or sell had gone and the owner had to walk away and go back to being an employee himself. I have lots of super confidential discussions with my business coaching clients, and that’s how things stay, confidential. There is always a right and wrong way of doing things and I help business owners see multiple options; whether that’s around growth, or around an exit or even digging your business out of a hole.
6. ‘Ostrich-ing’ will do the job too!
Being an ostrich and burying your head in the sand will do nothing. Well actually, that’s not true, it will ensure things keep going downhill. And actually, if you’re not growing, you’re stagnant and will begin falling behind. I worked not that long ago with a medium sized Sydney business which had amazing potential, hard-working owner and team, super busy, and doing millions in turnover. But we’ve all heard the expression that ‘Turnover is Vanity; Profit is Sanity’. Whilst this business was doing a ‘roaring trade’ it was running at a huge loss. A year later I had it turned around to a really solid profit level. How? Well, lots of hard work, in lots of different areas. And absolutely no more being an ostrich – in any way, at any time. One sure fire way to be a smart business owner is to review your financial reports every month (and some reports even daily or weekly) and ensure you understand what they mean.
There are many more ways you can self-sabotage a business, even unintendedly, but these I feel are the top ones. Every business is different, which is one reason I do NOT lock clients into long-term business coaching contracts; purely notice to stop or pause. Some businesses just need three or four months to know how to do a lot better, and others need more assistance. With 30+ years of experience and qualifications in Accounting, Marketing, Training & Small Business Management, I’ve a tonne of know-how that I share 1-on-1 with my clients to help them achieve their own success. To learn more, or enquire, reach out via contact page. My passion is your potential!