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10 Business Mistakes That You Must Avoid as a Business Leader


Being a business leader often looks glamorous from the outside but you know the truth.  Though it can be rewarding on many levels, at times it can also be pretty tough.   As a business coach I provide guidance on how organizations can improve many facets of their sales and operations.  I also see a lot of the same mistakes over and over and I want to help you avoid them.  Avoiding just one will save you a ton of grief and money.

#1 – Working too much IN your business and not spending enough time ON your business.  

Business owners often find themselves totally immersed in the day-to-day operations of their business. This usually comes at the expense of growth and attainment of your business goals.  It’s imperative to block out some time each week to focus on the strategy of your business.

#2 – Hiring new sales employees based on their great personality but with the wrong type of sales experience.

There are many different types of “Salesperson” profiles and you need to determine which specific type you need for your business.  All sales experience is not equal but many business owners overlook this reality. Do you need a hunter or a farmer? Do you need a solution seller or an order taker?  What is the value of your average sale and how frequently are you expecting sales to be made?  These are just a few of the factors that need to be considered.

#3 – Overbooking or taking on more business than you are able to handle.

It’s imperative to build up your operational capacity before you take on too many customers.  If you don’t, your customers will suffer and you’ll be miserable knowing that you haven’t delivered the level of service that you’re accustomed to providing.

#4 – Building systems and processes that aren’t scalable.  

Systems and processes are essential for any business. The reality is, what worked well when you had 10 customers or 50 customers may not work so well when you have 200 or 500.  Ideally, when designing systems you need to consider where you plan to be 3 years and 10 years down the road.  Will your systems support your anticipated growth?  Are your systems scalable? If not and you choose to proceed, at the very least you’ll do so on an informed basis so that you can plan for the growth before you need it.

#5 Failure to adapt and change in the face of disruptive technology.

You need to be aware of the transformations taking place in the world around you -specifically, all of the disruptive technologies trends.  Uber and Airbnb are the two most commonly referenced companies that have disrupted existing industries.  Just ask any taxi driver or hotel owner. Artificial intelligence, IoT software, digital currency and online exchanges are only a handful of the disruptive technologies that are transforming markets and impacting the business world.  You need to be alert and thinking, “How will it affect me”?

#6 – Not communicating with your team.

Your team is a reflection of their leader – that’s you! Think they’re doing a good job?  Tell them.  Show your appreciation; especially when they handle something particularly well or bring forward an idea – whether you adopt the idea or not.  Are they doing something wrong?  You need to coach them.  Don’t ignore their behavior and hope that it will get better. It never does.  Performance feedback should be ongoing; not just once or twice per year.

#7 – Not terminating an employee when you should.

You are not doing anyone a favour in keeping an employee longer than you should.  If an employee is not pulling their weight or is causing challenges within your organization then you need to quickly rectify the situation or let them go.  Otherwise, you will damage your company.  The situation will drain on you emotionally, it will not go away, and an under-performer will quickly bring down the morale of your other employees.

#8 – Not defining and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Every business should be measuring at least a handful (or more) of KPI’s. Specific ones to be measured will vary by industry and tied to the goals of the business but they may include:

  • average sale amount
  • average sales per salesperson
  • average life of a customer
  • monthly revenue
  • customer retention rate
  • labour cost as a % of revenue
  • average # of deliveries per day
  • average quantity processed by hour
  • average labour hours project

#9 – Not protecting your business information and systems.

If your place of business caught fire tonight would you be prepared to carry on tomorrow?  What if your computer systems were infected by a virus or ransomware?  What if your server crashed or got stolen?  No one thinks it will ever happen to them yet every day these issues affect numerous companies.  Take the time and develop a plan that will protect you, your customers, and your employees.

 #10 – Not hiring great people.

Hire 10’s.  Did you know that 10’s usually hire other 10’s?  On the other hand, 8’s usually hire 6’s & 7’s because they’re intimidated by anyone smarter than themselves.  You want motivated, enthusiastic and smart people on your team.  It’s amazing what a group like this can do.   Steve Jobs said it best, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”  Invest in the best.

Graham Acreman is President of Acreman Business Coaching.  Acreman works with business owners to build stronger, more efficient, and well-structured businesses that are well positioned for growth.

Contact Graham anytime for a complimentary consultation.

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Graham Acreman
President, Acreman Business Coaching

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