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9 Behaviors Small Business Owners Should Avoid

(updated 2020)

Small business owners have a lot on their plate, and they don't usually have a lot of resources to get it all done, including time, money, and staff.  These conditions make it tempting to take short cuts, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But, there's some things that always deserve your full attention:

Skip Due Diligence
Implement a quick solution to an un-vetted problem may seem like a great idea, initially; but, in the long-run, a well thought out plan of action is much better. Implement a process or procedure that provides for objectivity, e.g. second party review or committee, to ensure that you consider a broad spectrum of perspectives, to choose the most effective solution, and to avoid unforeseen consequences.

Assign responsibility for each phase of the project/program/event, track the progress, and hold team members accountable for their performance. This way your client gets the best possible product/service – avoiding disappointment or confusion.

Be realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Take stock of your resources: human, materials, networks, suppliers, etc., work within those confines, and allow for an appropriate margin for error. You’ll never wow a customer by being stretched too thin. When resources are spread too thin the product may be sub-par and an obvious turn-off to consumers.

Under-commit and over-deliver. The goal is to win the customer: garner respect and admiration, and ignite the desire to recommend your organization to their networks. You'll accomplish this by providing the best product/service that you are able to provide.

If you can handle it, constructive criticism is blessing, saving you time and money, in the long-run. Anything that helps to reduce cost and increase brand loyalty, will also bring about increased ROI.
3 Critical Brand Communications

Lose Focus of the Mission
There’s nothing worse than dealing with a confused organization. And if the organization is confused, then so too are the customers.

If you’re flying by the seat of your pants, you're not making time to be reflective: is your organization in alignment with your original intent; does the original intent need to be refined? All healthy organizations have robust internal communication systems. Employees need the organization’s leaders to show them how the mission translates into current and future initiatives. Without a clear understanding of the purpose and of the organization’s direction, employees cannot advocate and relay the desired image to current and potential customers.

Forget About the Customer
It’s a cardinal sin to forget about the customer. Really. They are the cornerstone of your organization. If it’s not to solve a problem for the consumer then why does your organization exist? There’s a lot of moving pieces to a corporation so it can become easy to allow other concerns or issues to cloud the focus. You must fight against this constantly. 

The second part of this battle is that the customer has an ever changing face, need, want, and desire. If you don’t stay up-to-date concerning the changes, your competitor is likely to successfully arbitrage your efforts. However, this should not translate into fear. “The customer is always right,” does not mean that you give away the bank trying to maintain them. It’s most beneficial to listen to the consumers opinion and to work towards an understanding or agreeable solutions. In any case, as a going concern, the customer should simply never be disregarded.

Become Inflexible
Those that survive the storm are not unyielding nor are they too lenient. When presented with new information, we have to be willing give new consideration and change strategy, policy, behaviors, any anything else, as required.

The only thing that’s certain is change. Accept it and deal with it to the best of your capabilities. Otherwise you risk missing out on new opportunities by being too stuck on the box and current structure to consider the implications of a new strategy, new technology, new theory, new consumer desire, etc.

Companies that survive economic and business cycle turmoil are far from rigid. These organizations have enough flexibility in their vision and mission to enable them to readily adapt to changing information.
5 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Forget the Earth’s True Trajectory
Really, the world does not revolve around you. Everyone else knows it, so you should know it too.

Be patient in your endeavors, especially at work. Everyone has commitments, responsibilities, etc. Be understanding and work with others to accomplish goals. The world has its own idea about things and a mind and will of its own. You may or may not be a part of the equation from one day to the next…be patient. We are all interdependent and although it may be “easier” if everyone bent their will to yours it is unlikely, and makes for a miserable workforce. World domination requires people who are willingly bought into an idea. That tends to come when individuals are appreciated in their own right.

Fail to Maintain Branding Efforts
Don’t underestimate the power of communicating with your audience simply by interpreting the desired association with your brand’s name, design, symbol, or slogan.

Approximately 90% of communication is non-verbal cues: body language, facial expressions, and visuals. Perhaps this is because extensive verbal language is much newer human development than non-verbal communication. Visual and emotional cues still dominate our landscape of understanding: colors, shapes, and short and sweet slogans. These are easy to grasp cues – the ones that stick with us – if you make it a point to remind us, periodically.

Over Complicate Matters
Communications, processes, and procedures tend to be complex in and of themselves so, it’s most helpful to clarify and to streamline in order to arrive at a readily understood conclusion. Complexity does not equal intelligence, a good challenge, or superiority; it simply causes confusion and frustration. When consumers encounter a clear barrier to understanding, they’re not intrigued. They’re usually annoyed and reticent to continue with your organization. Besides, I bet someone else wants their business that will make it really easy for them.

Forget to Breathe
Remember to take a break when necessary. You’re only human and everyone will be happier if you get the rest and personal attention that you need. No one likes cranky adults - Really.