In their first enthusiasm of running a business, owners can be forgiven for getting carried away. Adrenalin is high, energy is endless and the future is bright. However, once they are in business for several years, well known and successful, there are several ways owners can still get in over their heads and over do a good thing.
Offering too many choices.
Wanting to please your customers is a natural desire but paying too much attention to your competitors can start a tendency to offer everything that they are offering in order to compete. There are advantages to offering less. Depending on your type of business, cost of overhead multiplies increasingly as you add more products. Simplify your management, cut your stock to the bare bones and concentrate on your most popular and most cost productive products. Studies have shown that consumers tend to buy more when there are fewer options available. The more choices they have, the more likely they are to get frustrated and not purchase at all.
Using social media inappropriately.
Social media can be your friend and a great tool for marketing your business, but only if you know how to use it.
For example, Ellen opens a Facebook account. She intends to access it only for her business, but besides her business contacts, her friends and relatives are also following her or listed as friends. Ellen, not terribly social media savvy, doesn’t realize she can set up her account with different lists and block certain people from seeing some posts or posting on her timeline.
Before long, her personal life and her business life are overlapping and her business contacts have more personal information about her than they really should. She is putting her business at risk by allowing others to know more about her life than is acceptable and not putting the focus on her business only. Ellen also hasn’t taken into consideration the threat of identity theft or realized that total strangers may be able to find out where she and her family live and what they do in their personal time. If you use social media for marketing your business, learn more about the tools available and take advantage of all of the security settings.
Too much communication.
As with social media, business owners spend a lot of their time spreading the word on what their business can offer that others don’t or can’t. In the midst of this, especially when offering anything new, business owners need to be careful that they don’t inadvertently give their competitors too much information.
In another vein, spending too much time communicating via email or phone can take time away from more profitable tasks. Knowing how much is necessary and how much is a distraction or an avoidance technique will tell you how well balanced your business is. Unnecessary communication can be used as an excuse to cover up how little is really being accomplished. There is also the risk of miscommunication and revealing something in error that can jeopardize your business.
Remember to use any marketing or business tools to the best of your ability. Overuse or misuse can result in less success for your small business.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2015
image courtesy of crystalmedia