Business Mistakes You Want to Avoid Committing

Just as there are many factors that would take your online business to success, there are also several reasons why online businesses fail or opt to take the road to bankruptcy. These sellers were all intent in making their business succeed. They were all passionately sincere, however, the fact is, they were also sincerely wrong. Why? This is because unknowingly, they may have committed business mistakes that they should not have committed. If you plan to join and make it big in the industry of online selling or ecommerce, it is very important that you learn about these mistakes without actually experiencing them. We are taking you to a clearer picture of avoiding these mistakes so you can learn from others’ failures. Now, learning does not need to be costly, if you know how to maximize all the resources you have for your business. Be wise to learn in this area and develop the sensitivity to look out for business loopholes.

The top mistake that online business owners commit is starting up their businesses without appropriate understanding about the industry they are investing in. Of course you do not have to be a genius to start a wholesale dropshipping business but all it takes is completing a business research. On top of this, you can always sign up for a resource link such as SaleHoo and join in on the forums for firsthand advice from other sellers and suppliers. If you are starting up, do not rush launching your business, take it slow as you make calculated steps. On your first months, do not offer too many products or go full blast with expansion. Master the skill of achieving successful sales first.

Another business mistake is not placing much importance on the way you communicate with your suppliers and with your customers. Neglect the finer art of communication and you will soon start losing whoever customers you now have. Have a planned out system for communicating and always be available and accessible to answer quick questions from any of your customers or potential buyers, even if it means giving out your email address or mobile phone number. An opportunity to reach you is your opportunity for a sale.

Do not commit another mistake of not having a carefully laid out marketing plan. Your marketing plan will not only make business management easier but it will also regularly keep you on track. If any decision is not part of the marketing plans you have set for your business, then it will be easier for you to say no to distracting business strategies you will encounter. You can come up with your own marketing plan based on a suggested marketing plan from one of the resource links on SaleHoo. No matter how small your online business is, it pays to have a marketing plan that fits your needs and resources.

Small Business Mistakes That Cost You Customers

In business, first impressions are everything. If you fail to meet or exceed a customer’s initial expectations, there is a strong likelihood that you will miss the sale. It therefore makes sense to look at every touch point of your business from the perspective of a potential customer to overcome any potential problems.

By putting your customer hat on, you’ll be able to see the areas of your small business that require work. The list below details ten common small business mistakes that if not handled correctly, cause roadblocks for customers. If a business owner fails to consider these areas, a customer’s confidence in their business is questioned. If a customer sees that you are not maintaining your business in one particular area, chances are your other areas are below average as well.

Take careful note of these ten areas and ensure your small business excels in every one.

Ensure the Path to Your Door is Neat

When customers are walking to your door, do they need to beat back a jungle? Are there boxes scattered beside a nearby wall? Can customers see a pile of junk? These are all scenes that negatively impact on your business’ image. Ensure that the front path to your business is impeccable. Sweep it in the morning and at night. Clean away any junk as soon as possible. By staying vigilant you can ensure your business is as welcoming as possible, setting the standard for your products, services and future interactions.

Ensure Your Signage is Still in Pristine Condition

Take a look at your signage. How is it holding up? The way a business treats their signage speaks volumes about how it values itself and its customers. Over time, nature will sap the shine and colour from every sign. This is such a gradual process that you won’t even notice the colour fading. Before you know it your faded signage has been up for months or even years without you realising it’s second rate. You must realise that every sign has a use by date. Either take photos of your signage every few months to compare, or ask a trusted advisor whether your signage is still in pristine condition. If you fail to upkeep good signage, your first impression will be second rate.

Ensure Your Windows are Clean

Having fingerprints on your windows is a no no. Dirty windows give the perception of a dirty business. Ensure you set up procedures to regularly clean all your windows and door handles. Customers won’t notice how clean your windows are. But if they are dirty, they’ll notice instantly.

Don’t Conduct Cheap Repair Jobs

Fancy yourself as a bit of a ‘Do It Yourself’ hero? That’s fine at home. However this attitude usually won’t cut it in the world of small business. If you seek a quick fix with some duct tape or A4 paper, the results will reflect poorly on your business. Ensure all repairs and changes are implemented professionally and with a quality finish. Don’t just cross out unwanted items on your menu, reprint the whole menu. Don’t personally amend your opening hours signage, have them redrafted. You need each customer to be assessing the quality of your products and services, not why your number ‘6’ is a different font to the rest of your sign.

Ensure You Have the Right Lighting

The lighting in your business must reflect the mood and ambiance of your brand. Some natural light is generally preferred, as this gives your business a visible organic connection to the outside world. Plus natural light is often more effective. Bright natural light is often preferred in stores with large product ranges, so customers can read all the necessary particulars. Dimmed lighting is preferred in businesses that wish to entice a relaxed mood, such as a massage parlor. Ensure your business has lighting that will enhance the experience for your customers.

Ensure Your Business Smells Appropriate

Did you know that smell is the strongest trigger of memory? There is a whole science behind how a store should smell to encourage people to either spend more time browsing, or buy more items. Obviously, the best smell will vary between different business categories. But one thing is for sure – an offensive smell will negatively impact the buying experience for your customers. Yes that’s right, the way your business smells could cost you a sale. It is critical that you control odors in your business. This includes odors from machinery, food and staff. Create a barrier for smells by regulating usage, places and times.

Ensure Your Bathroom is Clean

At home, when visitors pop over unannounced, the phrase ‘Can I use your bathroom?’ strikes fear into our bones. You immediately wonder if your bathroom is clean or if there are adequate supplies. The last thing you want to do is offend a friend.

And it should be that way in your business too. You bathroom area must be kept clean, stocked, private and smelling perfect. Customers aren’t enthusiastically volunteering to use your bathroom, they’re using it because they have to. You need to ensure their experience is as pleasant as possible. Set a bathroom inspection time at regular points during the day. I prefer first thing, at lunchtime then at the end of the day. If possible, have a separate staff and customer bathroom so that staff can access facilities without delay.

Ensure Your Apparel Matches Your Business

Do you wear a uniform or casual clothes? It’s your call. Just choose clothes that reflect your small business personality and customer perceptions. As always, first impressions are everything, so ensure that your clothes are in good condition, clean and don’t stink of sweat. The clothes you wear should effortlessly blend into your storefront, making you a clear store native. If you wear a poor choice of clothes, customers will be critiquing your outfit at the expense of considering your products and services. Again, you want the eyeballs and minds of your customers to be focused on your products and services, not on your fashion sense.

Ensure Your Temperature is Appropriate

When setting the thermostat inside your business, your customers come first and your staff come a close second. Ensure that the temperature you set is appropriate for the circumstances and the duration of time they will spend inside your store. If you set the right temperature, your customers will happily spend time in your store. The more time they spend, the more purchases they make.

Ensure Your Background Music is Appropriate

I bet you have a favourite musician. I bet you play their music at home or in the car. Before you play their music at work or on hold, ask yourself whether their music is appropriate. Does it reflect the values and ambiance of your business? Chances are it may not. It’s therefore essential to make music choices that will reflect the customers you are targeting. Do not leave the music jukebox up to your staff. They will likely choose songs that they love and in the process possibly alienate your customers. Ultimately the music and the volume you play it at should work in harmony with all the other senses of your business.

By combining a plan to address these ten key areas with a sensible small business plan, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance for long term success.

Lessons Learned From My Medical Office Business Mistakes – Part 2 of 3

The lessons you learned in part 1 of this series introduced you to many of my medical practice eroding mistakes, not so different from hundreds of other physicians starting their practice, yet going well beyond good judgment that you might relate to in some way. For physicians who are never taught, never learned, never considered the importance of knowing how to effectively manage the business of their medical practice, which is basically all physicians who graduate from medical school, even today, it’s a matter of learning it all the hard way and having to suffer along the way more than you need to.

We normally consider ourselves as being quite intelligent, as being above average in common sense and judgment, and as being intellectually selective in understanding the academic steps necessary for a medical career to succeed. If we are in that elite group of academically enlightened individuals, then, why is it that you are easily convinced that the illustrious practice of medicine can easily be successful without a knowledge of managing a small business effectively and without implementing the proven elements applicable to all successful businesses?

Now, to dig much deeper into the reasons why all of us are caught in the web of medical tradition, miss out on the true business foundations, and near the end of our practice years are forced to realize we could have done much more with our medical practice. We could have been more business oriented, been a better manager, earned a lot more money, spent more time with our family, and used our intensive medical education to accomplish a much higher degree of personal accomplishment over those years. These regrets are ever present in the older docs, but too late to make amends. Not going to happen to you………right?

Medical practice business mistakes and solutions:

1. Believing that your position in medicine will miraculously launch you over any financial barriers you face (tradition):

Talk to any successful entrepreneur in business today and they will tell you that one of the best ways to rise to the top is using a leap frog financial strategy. When you open your first office, spend as little as possible, either by renting space in a reasonable location, or sharing office space with another physician until you have discretionary income enough to move, renovate, and go solo.

A common way to cut costs and save money is to join an existing medical practice with a formal cost sharing agreement on paper. Those physicians who start out as an HMO employee and later decide to go into private practice rarely save enough money to carry them into and through the first 6 months in a new practice. Face it! We have felt money deprivation for so many years by then that the first natural urge when you finally are earning some money is to spend it for “soul” satisfaction.

One of the reasons for holding off on buying a new car or house or signing a long term lease agreement for your office, at least for the first 3 years is related to your practice future. Presently, about 10 to 12% of doctors move their practice each year according to an AMA survey. They must have a good reason to do that. Right?

The two most common reasons for any physician to move their medical practice elsewhere are financial and financial. The first is a direct result of practice competition where a physician is unable to draw a sufficient flow of patients to financially sustain his or her practice business. The second is a little more subtle, goes unrecognized long before the crisis happens, and occurs at a time when sensibly it shouldn’t be happening. It’s a time when the chaos of your own unorganized and reactive management of your practice business reaches a point (usually 5 to 10 years into your practice) where your business instability can no longer be depended on for growth or financial independence of your practice. You should understand the underlying cause, but most physicians never see it.

You’ll notice that each of these financial disasters are those which could easily be resolved by knowing how to effectively run your practice business using business strategies that are employed in all successful businesses. You don’t have to move your practice…..just your mindset.

Often, this is also a time when you look back to the time when you were deciding where to start your medical practice. Where do I want to live for the next 30 or so years? Am I obligated to go back to my own home town because of family ties? Is it the climate that makes the most difference to you? Shall I go to a big city with lots of patients available?

If you are business literate, no matter what the emotional influences are, there are critical business related demographics that make a world of difference to your success or failure. For example, if you were an ObGyn physician looking for a place to practice, you should know the basic statistical data concerning your probability for practice success before you decide on the town or city or state. When you divide the number of OBG physicians practicing in the city into the population of the area and discover that the ratio is more than one ObGyn physician per 10,000 population you’ll probably not succeed there without a vicious struggle for patients.

Finding the ratio to be 1/20,000 population or more, would indicate you most likely will be able to start a practice there, build it rather fast, and hold a strong position for your practice business in the area.
Successful physicians are those who have checked their competition, visited the area where they want to start practice, matched the amenities to their family needs, researched the available consultants they will rely on, know the hospital facilities in detail, and have an exact mental picture of where they want to be 20 or 30 years in the future with their practice.

Medical students would be significantly far ahead to begin selecting an area to practice in long before they finish medical school. Most students are so busy learning they see no reason to do a little forward thinking, at least those who haven’t already made arrangements to join another physician already in practice, or selected a non-patient related field like research. Young doctors often just move into an area they like and hope for the best–a mistake they often regret.

Preparation for medical practice involves much more than medical knowledge! A fantastic physician in a lousy practice, or practice area, will result in disappointment carefully rationalized to the point of, “It’s good enough.” Is it?

2. Believing that your medical practice business will be successful enough simply by using your own mental accumulation of business experiences you’ve read and heard about:

Businesses fail when the business owner fails in one or more of the three requirements for having employees: Leadership, Management, Supervision.

If you insist on having employees, it shackles you with responsibility. There are things you simply have to do almost continuously to keep them from stealing you blind, force them to work to your specifications, and reward those who do—firing those who don’t.

The employer and employee relationship is inherently adversarial. Your personal agenda for the business interferes directly with their agenda. When you impose your agenda, you disrupt theirs.

Facts and reality about your business:

• They do not own your business. You do.

• Your business is your career and life and your life is your business.

• Employee agendas are saturated with unavoidable resentment that arises from disparities in wealth and power (that’s you).

• Employees are not your friends.

• Employees are not your family.

• You are not there to make your employees happy. They forget you are there to pay them for work, and to generate profits.

• Every single employee, irrespective of how much you pay them, how well you treat them, or how valuable to the practice they are, will leave your business sometime and will need to be replaced. It’s necessary at least twice a day to whack yourself beside the head to remind yourself about the true reality of running a business, that is, if you care anything about having a highly greased profitable business machine that you control. If you are considered to be a pain in the ass, that’s perfect.

When someone asks you what kind of employee you want, tell them a “profitable employee.” The only credible reason to have an employee is for profit. Don’t pile up a group of employees around you for irrational reasons. Business requires an ROI from each employee. Your job as CEO and owner is to maximum company income and business value.

Keep in mind it’s not your responsibility to provide Jane with a job, nor is it your responsibility to pay her enough to support herself or her family, or out of work husband who can’t find a job. It’s Jane’s responsibility to make herself such a valuable employee you can’t run your business without her. It’s her job, if not satisfied, to find a better paying job.

Job duties and responsibilities must be clearly communicated, repeated often, and taught. That’s your management job. Office managers don’t have the future view you have for the direction and goals you have for your business, nor what you envision as needed for what each employee must do to help you complete your mission. If you told your office manager all those details, do you think the manager would remember them all, or even be capable enough to take your place in this process?

Make an extreme effort to:

1. Replace any employee who doesn’t pull their load daily.
2. Avoid hiring older experienced people who will constantly be doing things they have learned—not what you want done.
3. Avoid being too friendly with employees because they will automatically manipulate you as a result.
4. Avoid automatic bonuses and rewards for certain jobs, holidays, birthdays, because they will then always expect them in the future.
5. Reward those who go well beyond what is expected of them, but only do it as a surprise to them.
6. Hire employees slowly—and fire them fast.

Studies have shown that the average firing occurs about 6 to 18 months after the business owner knew that the employee was consistently performing poorly, was routinely non-compliant, and was poisoning the rest of the staff.

Should you decide to be the kind old gentleman doctor who is loved and admired by his office staff because you are forgiving, benevolent, and leave them alone, then you should understand that the practice profits lost in doing so compromises your lifestyle, your maximum practice potential, your family needs, and your ability to have the income necessary to learn new skills, upgrade your medical knowledge, and improve your value to your patients. And that, my friend, is a no B.S. life principle that eventually will track you down and destroy your dream.

8 Home Business Mistakes to Avoid

Running a home business is demanding enough, making mistakes can lead to bankruptcy. Learn what you need to avoid so you are successful. Below we will discuss 8 home-based business mistakes to avoid. They include, lack of research, drive and education. Making yourself aware of the pitfalls is a sure-fire way to put you on the right track to success.

1. Not Researching Your Business Idea First

Make sure you research every aspect of your home business idea first. You don’t want any surprises jumping out when you least expect them. Particularly be aware of all the financial risks your home-based business entails.

2. Treating Your Home Business As A Hobby – It’s a Job

Your home-based business is exactly what the name says. It is an economic system wherein goods, and services are exchanged for money. If you don’t take it seriously, you won’t make any money. It’s as simple as that.

3. Attempting To Master Everything At Once

The human brain is not set up to learn everything at once. It learns in stages. This is why the education system is designed the way it is. If you try to master every aspect at the same time you will exhaust yourself. Learn everything in stages. Don’t try to do 10 things at once, it doesn’t work in business.

4. Not Being Willing To Work Over-time To Succeed

The more work you put in, the more profit you make for yourself. You can’t have the attitude that you will only work a limited number of hours. You are self-employed when you own a home-based business. You are the key money-maker and problem-solver. There is always something you can do. Remember, if you don’t do it, no one will.

This doesn’t mean that you will never have a day off. In fact, you should always take at least one day off a week, to rest. This will help drive you for the other six days.

5. Not Investing In Your Home Business When Needed

There will always come a time that you will need to invest money in your business. You can never do enough marketing, and there is always product or service improvements to make. For example, one investment you will have to make is placing paid ads in newspapers, magazines and the internet. Even though there are a lot of ways to advertise for free, these methods have limits.

As well, you will eventually get exhausted doing everything yourself. At some point, you have to outsource. If you try to save money and don’t invest in an expert, parts of your business will suffer.

6. Investing Too Much Money Without Seeing A Return

If something isn’t working, try a new method. Always monitor your investments to see if they accomplish what they are meant to. Just because you hear that something did wonders for another business, it doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on yours.

7. Not Managing Your Time Effectively

Time management is the key to any business, use your time wisely by following these 5 tips:

  • Prioritize tasks from most important to least important
  • Set goals for each task
  • Set specific times for social marketing (it is too easy to get side-tracked).
  • Take breaks
  • Do your most important tasks when you are more alert, and save the ones that need the least mental focus for later in the day.

8. Not Promoting Your Home Business Or Researching Effective Marketing Methods

To start up and grow your home-based business you have to promote it constantly. You always want new customers, and the best way to find them is by marketing your business. There are many ways to market your business effectively, so always research new methods and test them out. Educating yourself only makes you better in business.

By avoiding the above eight mistakes, you have a great chance of being successful with your home business. Take these points to heart and plan for success.