7 ways successful businesses avoid common pitfalls

Businesses | Cashflow | Entrepreneurs | Productivity | Small Business | Starting a Business

Sure, you could spend money on a book written by some so-called expert that explains the secret to business success, but you’ll realise that he knew bugger once you finished the book. For the cost of a pint, you probably could’ve heard the same information from the bar flies at your local pub.

The reason is simple. There are no secrets to business success. If there were, every company in the world would be thriving. The reality is, businesses struggling to survive or that have seen growth plateau are holding themselves back by making mistakes. Here are seven ways successful businesses avoid these common pitfalls and achieve greater results.

1) They spend money wisely

Not only do successful businesses adhere to a budget, but they also don’t get hoodwinked into buying proverbial magic beans. There are a lot of companies looking to exploit business owners. These swindlers use over the top claims to entice unwitting businesses to make rash decisions. In many cases, however, they’re just leading you up the garden path.

Productivity is an area that many companies want to improve upon. After all, time is money. Numerous organisations have recognised this trend and have created applications and programmes designed to improve productivity by five thousand per cent. And countless businesses are fooled into thinking that things will improve immediately if they have it.

However, most companies come to realise the programme is either entirely useless or never bother to learn how to use it in the days and weeks that follow. That’s money down the drain. Successful companies always spend money wisely. No matter what is being offered, they properly investigate any expenditure to see what kind of return on investment can be expected.

2) They don’t give mates jobs

Hiring a mate or hiring an employee’s friend is the hallmark of a mismanaged company. It means jobs are less likely to be awarded on merit and can lead to unqualified people filling roles they are woefully inadequate for. This isn’t to say you should never hire a mate, but successful organisations make all potential employees go through the same hiring process.

CVs should be thoroughly checked and interviews must be conducted by multiple people no matter if the applicant is a stranger or you have known them since they were an ankle biter. The result is the right person is employed in the right position. It also means there are no awkward sackings that can have a negative effect on morale.

3) Successful businesses equip their sales team with CRM

A number of stubborn businesses refuse to use customer relationship management (CRM) software. Instead, their sales teams rely on business cards, handwritten notes and other antiquated methods that are nowhere near as effective as using CRM software. Meanwhile, their successful counterparts have empowered their sales teams with CRM and have likely noticed an uptick in deals. While non-CRM businesses need hours or even days to find new leads or updated client information, those with the software have all of this information in one place and available immediately.

4) They are prepared for disasters

When people think of disasters, they tend to immediately jump to the most catastrophic ones. Fires, typhoons, earthquakes and even office parties involving booze are all among the events people associate with disasters. However, disasters come in many shapes in sizes. As those living in Southern Australia can attest to, a blackout can be fairly disastrous for businesses that aren’t prepared. A disgruntled former employee stealing a laptop is also considered a disaster. In fact, any unplanned event that disrupts operations can be classified as a disaster.

No matter the size or scope of a disaster, a successful business has a plan in place to overcome it. This ensures the negative impact the event has is minimised. Not planning for disasters is arguably the biggest mistake a company can make as it leads to downtime, wasted money and unhappy clients.

5) They secure IT networks

Ransomware was the scourge of Australian businesses in 2016. Scammers would email employee accounts from either a trusted source, such as the Australian Post, or impersonating another co-worker asking them to download a file. The file would contain Ransomware, a computer virus that would spread to all computers located on the same network, locking them until the company paid a ransom.

The vicious IT attack ended up costing countless businesses throughout the country as they were either forced to pay the ransom demand or hire technology specialists to try and reset the network. Forward thinking businesses were not impacted by this cybercrime as they already had measures in place to secure their IT networks.

These measures include email protections that were able to identify and remove suspicious attachments before they reached employees’ inboxes. Successful businesses also had backup protections in place so that if Ransomware did infect their networks, they could easily restore it in a matter of minutes without needing to pay mysterious cybercriminals to regain access to their files and applications.

6) Successful businesses care about their online reputation

Social media has changed the way companies build their reputation. The old theory was that a happy client would tell a few people about their service and an unhappy one would express their dissatisfaction with ten people they knew. These days, disgruntled clients can now reach millions of people with a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and the ever-growing number of websites dedicated to consumer reviews.

There are two common mistakes when it comes to online reputation that successful companies avoid. The first is disengaging completely from what people say online about your company. The second mistake is responding aggressively to complaints or disagreeable viewpoints.

The key to successfully managing online reputation is to find a middle ground. Cultivate relationships with online users who like your business and communicate with those who had a bad experience to see what can be done to rectify the issue. Not only does this help retain current customers, but outreach efforts can show potential clients that even if something does go wrong, you’re willing to fix the problem.

7) They properly store documents

There is nothing sexy, or even interesting, about properly storing documents. It’s boring and fairly monotonous if we’re being honest. But a successful business doesn’t let this stop them from doing it. The reason is simple, it prevents unnecessary documents from piling up and ensures everyone can find what they are looking for.

For whatever reason, there will always be lazy employees who end up filing a Macca’s receipt in a nearby folder simply because it was closer to them than the bin. There are also employees who refuse to discard any document for fear of it being important. These superfluous papers pile up in a blink of an eye, slowing employees down and taking up valuable space in your office.

A successful office trims the fat when it comes to documents. They are diligent in their storage processes and in certain industries also utilise electronic filing systems. The result is the ability to stay lean and mean instead of bloated and slowed down by documents.

Need help avoiding some of these common pitfalls? We’re here to help. Simply get in touch with us today for more information on how your company can follow the lead of successful businesses when it comes to not making mistakes.

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