I own, manage, and spend a lot of time at a Metro PCS franchise in my hometown. I’ve been the owner since March 03, 2006. It wasn’t my first business; in fact I once was co-owner of a Dairy Goat Farm. I know, how interesting. Later on I’ll talk about that experience and all that I learned there. I titled this article 7 ways to destroy your business because if you do any of these things failure is guaranteed. This article will be pretty short compared to most of mine, because I don’t think too much explanation will be necessary.
1. Not advertising. If you don’t advertise it won’t matter how great your product or service is, no one will know about it. Make sure your ads reach your target market. Advertising reps will try to get you buy big explosive ads, but don’t feel like you have to. Consistency is the real key, keeping your name out there is most important. Don’t be afraid to use alternative forms of advertising either. Think door hangers, windshield flyers, street sign holders, cold calls, and even business to business solicitation (if allowed).
2. Hiring the wrong people. People make or break any organization. The wrong ones will destroy your business by costing you sales, offering poor customer service, and probably even stealing from you. Run ads to find your people, these will be much better than walk in applicants. When you find someone good, ask him/her for references for your new hires. Odds are he/she will know people like them that will do a good job. Also, don’t be afraid to pay an extra 1-2 dollars per hour above average for a good employee. They are your most valuable asset.
3. Not being there. The greatest single thing you can do is to show up at your business everyday, especially if you aren’t scheduled to be there. Employees work better when they know you might “pop in” at any time. Also, customers like seeing you, it makes them feel special. The whole “I know the owner” thing. Being there everyday isn’t your end goal, though. That’s why you work for yourself, so you don’t have to work all the time! Get to the point where you can hire a really good manager, then you can start to relax some.
4. Not keeping up with taxes. Uncle Sam has his hand in everything and at the end of the year the last thing you want is a bill from the IRS which you can’t afford. Putting aside money each month goes a long way. Even $50 a week becomes over $2500 a year. And set up a different account to keep up sales tax, and pay it monthly or quarterly, but keep up with it! Also, make sure you visit your accountant at least once a month or two and give them your bank records, they’ll appreciate it and you’ll sleep better knowing you won’t have to spend 3 sleepless weeks hunting for papers during tax season.
5. Selling something you don’t believe in. If you start a business with a product or service you wouldn’t use yourself, that will come across in your attitude and sales pitch. Customers can tell if you’re telling the truth or not, so pick something you would use! Try to hire employees that use your product or service, or give them a special price so they can partake in it. That way their enthusiasm will show when they talk to customers.
6. Not knowing your market. Along the same lines as advertising, but even more in depth. Can your burger business survive as is when a new fast food chain moves in across the street? How many potential customers exist for your product or service? Who are they? This will help with choosing who to advertise with. Before opening or closing any business, you should do an analysis of demographics, traffic flow, competition, and feasibility. These figures can help you decide to open your new business, or to close down a sure loser.
7. Not having some sort of a referral program. Customer’s love to talk, they love to share the new product or service they just got. Why not inspire them even more to talk by offering them something free for referring somebody. I offer free accessories for both the referred and referrer. I sell more phones, they get a free car charger and everyone’s happy. What could you give away to get more sales? Even offering 20% to customer’s who refer somebody helps, though something free is always better.
So there you have it. 7 sure fire ways to destroy your business. I know they will because in my younger and more vulnerable days I made most of these mistakes. Learn from me, so you won’t have to experience what I did. My goat farm venture ended with the government repossessed the goats. Sounds funny now, but what an experience!!