Welcome to another BizLibrary HR Intervention!
You’re probably already confused here.
Strategies for creating a failing business? Who would do such a thing? Nobody would, intentionally – but lots of people end up doing this accidentally.
As you may already know, 30% of new businesses fail in their first two years, and 50% are done after five. I suppose it’s possible that some of them made so much money in those first two or five years that they decided to close up shop and retire to a tropical island. But most of them probably just shriveled up and died like little business raisins.
You’ve undoubtedly read a bazillion articles about what you need to do to succeed. Well I want to switch it up a bit. If you want your business to succeed, here are 8 things you should avoid at all costs.
Having no business plan
If you can’t easily articulate where you’re trying to go, you can’t possibly get there.
You’re welcome to follow the plan of every Internet start-up and just build something and see what happens. Sometimes that works; I mean, it worked like gangbusters for that guy in “Field of Dreams,” although he did have a few ghosts to help out. But most of those flashy start-ups vanish before their first round of VC, and most of the rest are gone before their second round.
Trying too many things
It’s fairly easy to get excited about building a new product or rolling out a new service. Maintaining those things, however, requires a bit of patience. If you start building your next product before you’ve figured out how to monetize the first one, you’ll end up with lots of things to offer and nobody to offer them to.
Being too timid
You can wrap a kid in all the padded pants and bubble wrap in the world, but they’re still going to find a way to get hurt. And since businesses are a lot like babies, you can’t have a successful one without running some serious risks.
If you’re afraid to take those risks, then you’re playing it safe. That can work for a well-established business, sometimes for several years. But then there’s Blockbuster, and Blackberry, and Yahoo!, and am I making my point?
Doing everything yourself
You are not good at every part of running your business. I, for example, have the web design capabilities of a toddler, which might not even be a good comparison anymore because I’m pretty sure they teach computer skills in elementary school now.
Find good partners, or start preparing your fire sale.
Taking a lot of vacations
A special shout-out to any entrepreneurs reading this one right now. That’s the cool thing about being your own boss, right? You can just do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s so freeing! And you know what else is freeing? Not having to worry about your business once it’s stagnated itself into oblivion after you took eight long weekends in a row.
Not firing your crappy hires
I’ve spoken to several hiring managers, and the best of them claims to have only hired good candidates 90% of the time. More commonly they say somewhere around 70-75%.
If you refuse to cut people loose because firing people is horrible, then you might end up wasting money you simply don’t have.
Getting bored easily
You’re doomed. That’s, uh, pretty much all we need to say about this one.
Relying on current customers to exist forever
Some of your customers will move, some of them will go out of business themselves, and some of them will just forget to keep giving you money. The nerve of those people! Which is why you have to always be looking for new ones to replace the inconsiderate deadbeats you currently depend on.
I hope that helps, and I hope you’re not too sad right now if you read something that sounds a lot like you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an 8-day vacation to plan. I just got back from one, but it was a lot of fun and I want to do it all again. Besides, unemployment benefits last almost forever these days.
Are you hiring the right people to help build your business? Start with asking the right questions from our free infographic to find them!
Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, call 309-808-0884, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Jeffhavens.com.