The Top 3 Mistakes that Business People Make
The Internet is chock full of “the top mistakes people in business make” and “the truth about your first year of business”. Some of the information and opinions are great and some make me laugh.
Recently, I was asked “Gina, what are the biggest mistakes you made in business?” I had to really stop and think about it because I have made so many mistakes! And, I keep making them – I just don’t beat myself up over them like I used to. I know now it’s all part of the process. We all screw up. We fall on our faces. And then we get up, dust off, and keep going. That’s life. That’s business.
I answered the question, by the way. Below are three of my biggest mistakes – in no particular order.
MISTAKE 1: I ignored the numbers.
I spent a lot of time sticking my head in the ground and ignoring my bottom line. You see, I didn’t want to focus on money; I wanted to focus on my clients. Every time I focused on the money, everything went to hell in a hand basket. But I learned you can do both: focus on clients and be conscious about money. I can still give 110% to my clients while knowing what’s coming and going so I’m always ahead and proactive in business.
If you’re running a business, you MUST know the revenue coming in and the expenses going out. You cannot just look at gross revenue; you need to look at the whole picture. It’s great if your gross is high, yet if you are spending it all what is the point of being in business? Look at profit and see if what you’re doing is working. The numbers don’t lie. They’ll help you make hard choices and avoid digging yourself into a hole you may not be able to get out.
MISTAKE 2: I fell for the sales pitch.
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. When a sales person is sitting in the office showing you a slick product – say a magazine or a series of ads – it is easy to get caught up in the hype and sign on the bottom line. I did grocery cart ads, magazine spreads (when they were popular), etc. I spent thousands of dollars and what did I see in return? A big fat 0.
Now, when I listen to a sales pitch, I really listen. Then I take time to think about it and do my research. I look at why I want to do it and what I want out of it. I think about the affect on my clients, brand awareness, and my bottom line.
MISTAKE 3. I said yes when I should have said no.
You know what I am talking about. The client wants to work with you and it sounds great yet in the pit of your stomach you know you shouldn’t do it but you ignore the feeling. Then the client turns into a nightmare and you’re stuck kicking yourself because you knew better.
Now if my gut says no, my answer is no.
Remember, mistakes are part of the journey and try not to the kick yourself too hard when you make them.