Basic business failures that you can avoid
Over the years I have failed - alot! But what is more important than just failing, is the fact that mostly, I have learned from my failures and used them as blueprints of what not to do in the future.
I spend an enormous amount of time travelling and going to conferences, and from this I learn from my own experiences and that of other entrepreneurs.
Just in the past few weeks, here are a few things I have been reminded of:
- Competition is only competition if you are insecure. That's right. When I go to a conference full of marketers, I don't see them as being competitors. Instead I see them as being professionals that do the same thing I do, but just differently. Not only can you learn from others in your industry, but you can also collaborate or pass on clients that may not be as well suited to you. Last year a very small company in Melbourne posted a Adword campaign titled "An alternative to Marketing Eye". I saw that as flattery, as clearly they see our company as being the main marketing firm that they compete against. Looking back, they clearly got it all wrong. Instead of treating Marketing Eye as a competitor, why not realise your own value proposition and perhaps have a conversation. If they did, they would realise that a client that they would take on, would not be a potential client for us. They would be too small or perhaps not our niche markets.
- How your staff behave is your brand. We cannot manage our employees lives outside of work, however, as an company owner, I realise that how people see them out of work is not only their personal brands, but an extension of our brand. Having tattoos, or partying as a youngster is no problem. We want our team to be individuals and be able to confidently express themselves. However, if they are at a conference and they are rude to people, then that is what people would expect from your brand. Ensuring that employees are 'culture-checked' before joining the team is imperative to managing your brand outside of 9 to 5.
- Process are not essential. Every time you realise that you don't have a process for something, stop everything write it down. It's the failing of most companies and it helps manage the expectation of people within your team.
- Your team needs to respect each other. We have a no gossiping policy and it works a treat. With a business full of women, it's hard for many companies to manage this, however, we do it with ease. Everytime someone becomes known as a 'gossip', we exit them. There is no room for anything other than positivity and empowerment, none of which works in a gossip-full environment.
- Everyone has to have your back and that of each member of the team. Drinks on Wednesday night highlighted how much our team has each other's backs, not just the boss who pays their salaries. They care about each other and if someone fails at something, they each take responsibility as a team.
- Fire fast, hire slow. It's a given. It's in every single business book for a reason. Don't be like me and make up excuses for poor performing people. If they are not performing in the honeymoon stage, they never will.
- Empower your team to make decisions. Many A-Type personalities fail to offload decision making to their team, but if you truly want to be successful, you have to let people make decisions on behalf of the company and give them room to fail or succeed. If they fail, ensure that they have learned from the mistake so that they don't make it again.
Failure is embraced, but making the same mistakes over and over again, isn't. Entrepreneurs are given the right to make decisions, good one's and bad one's - but it's the things we fail at that often leave the deepest scars and reminders of what we need to not do in the future.