Ever witness an interaction between a parent and child and you see so clearly what the problem is? Your objective distance allows you to read what’s really going on, but even with such a clear view, you hesitate in making the parent aware of how you see things. You know you’ll hear something like, “Mind your own business,” or “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” or maybe worse. That’s the view an outsider, especially a contract employee, has in watching business owners operate. You can see the problems so clearly, and yet, you also know your feedback may be unwanted or threaten the client. Why is it that someone on the “outside” can see your business problems so clearly? Mostly because they are unattached emotionally and may have a slightly “bigger” view of what’s really going on.
As a freelance copywriter and marketing strategist for various companies, I’ve witnessed some doozies when it comes to the way business owners operate, and there are three in particular that severely hinder business growth. These mistakes not only derail a business in making profits, they also prevent people in the company from succeeding, which leaves a bad vibe in the workspace and an unmotivated team.
Are you making these costly mistakes as a business owner?
1- Allow people with no experience to make decisions for your company. Maybe you’ve developed a close relationship with your graphic designer and she frequently offers marketing advice during meetings that sounds great, but doesn’t produce results? You value her beautiful graphics but you don’t want to hurt the friendship by saying no to her ideas, even though using them will hurt your bottom line. Any time you lose the boundary between business and friendship, you set yourself and your company up for failure. Never rely on a graphics designer for marketing advice unless that person has proven themselves worthy of the position by producing measurable results for other companies.
2- You don’t take ownership when things fail, regardless of the reason. Let’s face it – most of your team wants you to succeed, in fact, they’re counting on it. They rely on you for an income, so if things aren’t getting done (and you’re the one holding everything up), do you take ownership for your failed communication or for your missing deliverables? For instance, if someone who works for you is waiting for your decision before they can do their job, do you make it a priority to get that information to them in a timely manner? If you’re not, are you willing and able to see that you might be the problem in your business, and more importantly, fix that problem?
3- You micromanage every aspect of the business but you don’t know how to prioritize. This one causes mayhem in any business. The most successful business owners don’t run the business. They hire people who are great at what they do to do the parts they struggle with, especially in terms of day to day business operations. As a business owner, you have the vision and as such, your job is to share the vision with your team so the team can make that vision a reality. If you’re thinking to yourself as you read this, “But they don’t know what I want, so I have to always explain it to them in detail,” you definitely need to do some soul searching in terms of who you have on staff and how to find someone to manage your staff in a more productive manner.
If you’re not seeing the results you had envisioned as a business owner, make sure you’re not making one of these costly mistakes. Consider asking the people who work for you what they see as the problems. To succeed in business, you have to be accountable, hire the right people and trust your people to do what you’ve hired them to do. If you don’t have the right people in place, you’ll constantly struggle in business – both in terms of revenue and sustainability. And if you don’t know how to lead, that’s okay. Recognizing what you’re not good at leading is sometimes just as important when it comes to succeeding as a business owner. You can find someone who knows how to keep your team and your business moving in the right direction so you can keep doing what you love.
Kelly Stokes Brown is a Freelance Copywriter, Marketing Strategist and owner of KSB Online Marketing