Mistake # 100: Living the top business mistakes

BtoB posted 5 top business mistakes of 2009. I happen to agree with all five.

I might even add one more. Remember how this year was a struggle for all businesses? We just experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression. We had hiring freezes, extreme budget cuts, layoffs (well, my company didn’t but many did), and many employees were working three jobs due to not being able to hire other resources. It was a tough year.

Don’t make the mistake of not hiring where the resources are needed. I needed a sales support staff since January. This decision was always pushed off because management always wanted to “see where we are at the end of the month.” Now, we’re at the end of the year and still needing one sales support staff. It takes months to train a person on our systems, get them beyond the learning curve, familiarize themselves with our business, and train them on answering customer questions. Now that things are feeling (and looking) like we are getting out of the woods and business is really picking up, it could be at the end of the first quarter when we finally have someone sitting in the chair.

Good luck to you and your business in 2010!


Mistake # 99: Let sales support staff become lazy and rebellious

I have several support staff that, according to one employee who has overheard them talking, they hold quotes to customers so management will think they are busy.  So, are sales down because they have held some quotes at bay to get to customers?! I have now demanded that all quotes go out within no more than three hours; they spend two hours daily on follow up calls; and that they are so overloaded that they may even need to stay late to catch up.

In their book, it is grounds for “keeping management off my back.” In my book, it is grounds for termination.

Mistake # 98: End the year unprepared for the next budget year

I’m just not going to make it, and I’m scrambling. I need to have people in place to make next year rock and roll, and it isn’t going to happen. I’m trying, but, with the holidays, me working from afar during the two weeks of the holidays, it is going to be a rope walk. Not having the right people in place means that I do some of the work, pulled from what I should be doing. Just two weeks ago, I had to pull together a proposal that a sales person didn’t follow through on. He submitted less than mediocre work, and I had to jump in to salvage it prior to delivery. That is not good.

The people you have on your team need to be stellar – they need to be rock stars to make the company a rock star.

Rock on!

Mistake # 97: Lack a profit picture

Facebook announced several months ago that it is cash-flow positive and generating dollars from advertising revenue and exceeding the cost of servers and other expenses, Facebook could just be ready for IPO.

But what is its business model? How does it plan to grow profits in years to come? It grows users, but does it grow revenue? Could Facebook possibly adopt a similar model from Google? (Google’s business model of relying on Internet advertising for its sales, but uses math models and/or algorithms on the placement of the ads based on searches of products and services. Since Facebook is not a shopper’s destination, but a communication destination, what is the business model for profitability?

What’s yours?!

Mistake # 96: Fail to stay current with social media trends

Social media and driving your business are synonymous these days. Keeping up with it is the real issue. If you need to stay current, these are the top 25 blogs to help you do so!

And, these are the top five regarding social media in 2010 (based on Social Media Today):

1. Computer-generated will be layered on top of real-live data (e.g., video from a smart phone).

2. Location-based applications will become extinct.

3. We’ll see more and more social networking applications being offered.

4. The FTC will place new social networking guidelines and enforcements.

5. Traditional Internet searches will erode, and other types of searches will emerge.

Good luck!





Mistake # 95: Let there be gossip!

How many companies have your worked for where gossip was king?!  I have had plenty in my day. And, when a company is expecting to conduct layoffs, the gossip becomes rampant; people become fearful; and production goes down the tubes.

An article in the NY Times illustrates how one company eliminated gossiping. When hired, an “agreement to values” is signed so that people are not talked about behind someone’s back. If so, the company has the right to let the individual go, since it is a breach of their agreement. Most importantly, the company management keeps information, including layoffs, timing, reasons for layoffs, all out in the open. Knowing what is expected of each individual, and holding each other accountable, eliminates the need for office gossip.

Further, the company identified how employees can communicate with diverse personalities within the company.  Can you imagine how they can be successful with the diverse personalities of your customers?!

Awesome company! Bravo!

Mistake # 94: Hire someone who makes demands

I just made an offer to an individual who will serve as customer service support. Ahem. I think I may have to retract the offer. She is demanding to start at a particular time in the morning, and needing to leave during a particular time in the afternoon. During the interview, I explained that the company makes every attempt to be flexible with hours. For example, we have several single mom’s who come in early and need to leave to get to day care later in the afternoon. Some come in later to accommodate for different time zones across the country. If someone has to leave for a doctor’s appointment, we allow to make up the hours throughout the course of the week, etc.

I think she heard what she wanted to hear, but not what I was explaining. If she is making these demands now, what kind of employee will she be?!