6 Business Sabotages to Avoid

dynamiteTime and time again I see professionals unconsciously sabotage their business. I doubt they realize what they’re doing. I’m guessing they seldom connect the effects that these actions have to their lack of business. It’s time for it all to STOP. It’s to call attention to actions that are off-putting to prospective (and existing) customers.

Stop using industry jargon in the majority of your marketing messages. When you use jargon that your customers don’t recognize you place yourself in a higher position than your customers. These trending non-descriptive words and phrases cause many to scratch their head or roll their eyes because few understand what you’re talking about or what the word/phrase truly means. Avoid making your customers search for an urban dictionary to understand your marketing message or sales correspondence. Speak in plain language and remember that the clearest marketer always wins. A confused mind will resist making a decision…every time.

Stop going into public places and announcing that you don’t know what you’re doing. Online public forums and social media sites are typically going to allow access to the search engines. Your conversations aren’t necessarily private between you and your peers. Take the more sensitive conversations and/or heated rants to private chat rooms, to emails, to your coach/mentor, or to your mastermind group. It may be quite embarrassing to have this appear in a Google search when someone searches your name/business name.

Stop telling all your secrets (personal and professional) in an effort to be transparent. There is a thing as too much information. It’s vital to know these boundary lines and keep those toes back away from the line so you don’t crossover. Whenever in doubt, don’t share it. If I’m to trust you with my projects it doesn’t build my confidence to know some of these over-sharing, almost bordering on confessional, types of things.

Stop putting the cart before the horse when it comes to accepting work you don’t know how to do. I want my tasks done by a competent business not someone scrambling in the background – learning on the fly. Unless you have the conversation ahead of time, and both sides agree, learning as-you-go isn’t the way to conduct business. After all, clients come to you as the knowledgeable skilled expert they are seeking. Be that expert.

Stop crying the blues about how you can’t afford the basic essentials needed and then promote your business as officially “Open.” If the basics aren’t in place please don’t announce you’re ready for customers. You’re fooling yourself…and them. Take the time to legalize your business – register it within your state, establish a business bank account, and obtain any licenses you may need to operate as well as having the basic software and programs required in your field of expertise. I prefer to take my needs to serious businesses who are in this for the long haul, not hobbyists who may close up shop on a whim. Take the time to determine your service offerings and pricing structures. Take the time to have a website created even if it’s a one-page website. A completed single page is better than a placeholder saying “under construction” or “coming soon.” Think about it, you ordinarily don’t shop at the “coming soon” clothing store at the mall until…it’s officially open, has fully stocked shelves, and trained staff ready to service you. Be prepared when you announce you’re open.

And lastly, stop expecting others to do your homework for you when it comes to answering a RFP and preparing a competitive quote. I don’t have issue with asking for help from time-to-time. It’s the repeated pleas for help in how to quote a project that is a red flag to a problem. Your colleagues perceive, correctly or incorrectly, that you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re ever hoping to gain their business or be considered as one of their preferred subcontractors you aren’t presenting yourself well when you continually ask how to price something. Take a chance and price it. Afterwards, if you find you lost a bit on your profit margin then chalk this up to experience so you can improve on the next quote.

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