By Francesca StaAna
Often, our biggest mistakes are the ones that we learn most from. Committing pricing errors, picking the wrong vendors, or failing to identify the right markets are examples of blunders that hit us hard but we learn quickly from. These mistakes are obvious, so we know not to do them again in the future.
However, there are certain types of mistakes that are more subtle and aren’t as easy to learn from. These insidious errors may look harmless because they seemingly don’t have any effect on your business, but the truth is, they are just as deadly as the above-mentioned mistakes.
The list below identifies 7 subtle (but deadly) mistakes or sins that entrepreneurs commit.
Letting yourself off the hook just because you’re the boss – When you’re your own boss, it’s all too easy to let go of your own little mistakes. So what if you overslept today? You’ll just work extra hours later. Forgot to follow up on a client? There’s always tomorrow, right? Wrong. Continuously letting yourself off the hook for small errors simply because you can is a recipe for personal and business failure.
You know how people who let themselves off the hook for skipping the gym end up overweight and sick 10 years later? Well, overlooking and tolerating the mistakes that you know you can correct can lead to a sick (not the good kind) business in the future. Be sure to develop the discipline to “catch” yourself while you can.
Staying too long on a plateau – We’ve discussed business plateaus before, but they’re worth mentioning again. You know that you’re on a plateau when your business has “reached a respectable level of success”. Your sales aren’t bad, and maybe you’ve even paid off your investment.
The “plateau stage” can be a comfortable one, mainly because it’s pretty steady. And while you’re allowed to hang around there for a while, be sure to not stay on a plateau for too long. Being comfortable for an extended period of time leads to complacency and incompetence. Avoid this by always striving to learn and be better. Take the leap off that plateau and bring your business to the next level.
Not being grateful for “small” mentions – Think those “Thanks for RT!” or “Thank you for the shout-out!” messages don’t matter? Think again. Spreading messages of gratitude returns a lot of good social media karma, and the best thing is, doing so won’t cost you a thing.
Whenever someone mentions your business on their blog or social media page, take the time to express your gratitude. They’ll be more inclined to mention or even feature you again in the future. And who knows? You could even gain a new friend or possibly even a contact that’ll vouch for you somewhere down the line.
On the other hand, NOT thanking others will make you look like a snob and people might refrain from giving shout-outs or doing business with you. It’s easy to ignore mentions or Re-tweets and just go about your day. But the fact is, disregarding small things like that can cost you big opportunities in the long run.
Not thinking outside the box – Always going by the book is nice, safe, and EASY. It’s also a good way to get left behind. Sure, you’re exerting marketing efforts and performing proven sales tactics that have worked for years, but are you really getting results?
If not, then it’s time consider some reinvention. Think outside the box and do things that other people haven’t done before. Look for new opportunities outside of the safe and proven ones. If you don’t, then some other CEO will, and you could just end up following their footsteps instead.
Not keeping up with technology – There are plenty of apps and tools out there that will allow you to be more productive or reach more people. Avoid falling behind and be sure to keep yourself up to date with the latest developments in tech and in your industry as well.
Exerting no networking efforts – Targeting potential customers or clients is a given when it comes to doing business. On top of this though, be sure to connect with colleagues and collaborate with other businesses so that you can promote each other.
Don’t make the mistake of avoiding connections with other businesses in fear that you’ll lose your customers. Instead, be more open to partnerships and help each other grow. There’s plenty of business to go around.
Not following up – I can’t even tell you the number of times that I’ve sealed the deal with a new client simply because I took the time to send them a follow-up email. A lot of entrepreneurs drop a sale or just give up and move on when a potential client doesn’t respond. Big mistake. For all you know, these “unresponsive” users were simply too preoccupied to reply. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested.
To make sure that you never miss a chance to successfully reel customers in, create a list of people that you’ve reached out to, and be sure to call or send them a follow-up email after about a week or so. A simple “friendly reminder” should do the trick. If you still don’t get an answer, take them off your list and move on.