Lessons Learnt from Mistakes in Business

Lessons Learned from Mistakes in BusinessLet’s get the elephant out of the room – as business owners we are going to make mistakes. Accept it, expect it and move on the best way – learning from them to make your business stronger, more viable, more resilient and more successful.

As business owners, we are the visionary, leader, goal setter, systems developer, marketer, salesperson, accountable officer – well, let’s face it, we can be everything to our business.

What a powerful, exciting, exhilarating, scary, stressful and isolating position to be in.

We project a confident in-control persona while, on the inside, we harbour embarrassment in relation to mistakes made and fear and insecurity in relation to mistakes yet to be made.

It was liberating this morning to discuss with my colleagues at the Albany Creek Business Contacts networking meeting the mistakes they had learnt the most from in business. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Not all opportunities are opportunities: the example given was a tender process to deliver exclusively to a customer. Not a bad opportunity on the face of it, however, when the customer stipulations were considered tendering for the work was just not worth it.
  • Make sure you don’t undervalue your product/service – make sure you get your pricing right from the start.
  • When you have developed processes in your business follow them and don’t waiver from them based on emotion: the scenario shared here was staff recruitment where one member had a detailed recruitment process however on more than one occasion didn’t follow it but rather employed on the basis of a friend/colleague recommending the person. The decision was emotively based with unsatisfactory outcomes.
  • Working with family can work, and then again, it can be not a great idea. Discussion around this area centred on ensuring that there is clear expectations and understandings in relation to the work relationship.
  • Referring to colleagues is a two way relationship. Colleagues had had negative experiences when referring clients to others. Their experiences demonstrated a lack of appreciation and understanding by the person referred to that, along with the referred client came the trust of the referrer that the client would be looked after and respected worthy of the personal referral.
  • Be honest – even if you think the white lie is for the better. Sometimes as business owners we might inflate timeframe expectations, or discount heavily in the name of getting the customer/client. The problem is that if you can’t deliver what is promised and/or it short changes your business thereby not making it viable, this can have a major detrimental effect. It is better to be honest and explain why to the prospective customer then to create negativity in the relationship which may never be able to be salvaged.
  • Making the right staff choices. The goal is to have the right person is in the right job at the right time. Your staff reflect your business, so if they are not the right person doing the right job that is the image the market place will have of your business.
  • Having programs and systems to support your business and not using them. What is the point of a Client Nurture Program rolled out in your business if you are not going to follow-up with the clients. What is the point of Client Relationship Management systems if you are not going to contact your clients. Programs and systems to support your business are only as good as the people who use them.
  • When building a web presence, make sure you build a personal presence. As was quite rightly pointed out by a colleague, businesses don’t do business with other businesses – people do business with other people. A prospective customer/client is more likely to engage with a business if they can build some repore/relationship with the people in the business.
  • Make sure the legalities of the business are in place. Time and money can be quickly expended when something goes wrong in a business and the business doesn’t have the correct legal structure, agreements and contracts in place.
  • Not all marketing programs are right for all businesses. There are many suppliers to business and their job is to sell their products and services as well. All business owners need to apply sound consumer processes when purchasing marketing systems, strategies and services to ensure the best and most effective bang for the buck.
  • Read the T&Cs and know what you are buying: Again, sound consumer processes need to be followed to ensure what you are buying is what you think you are buying and that there are no nasty surprises.
  • Patience and perseverance: Not everyone is the same. Not everyone thinks and behaves the same. When you are energised and think that what you are doing is terrific don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the reaction or immediate return you were hoping for. For most, growing a business takes time, patience and perseverance.

The group left the conversation on this final note – understand what is involved in running a business before you become a business owner. Running a business is not just a job – just because you are in business doesn’t mean customers/clients are going to come to you. Truly understand what being a business owner entails and be honest with yourself whether this is really what you are prepared to do. If you do not wake up excited about your business, you may wish to consider alternatives.

(Blog contributors – Leonard Whittaker (Action Cycle Learning) Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Nathan Dobbins (Core Computers) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Michael Manttan (Jims Car Cleaning Aspley) Anne-Louise Underwood (SMS Toolkits) Stuart Bywater (Bywater Design) Criag Chalmers (Royalty Home Services) Streten Mason Lawyers )

Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.

Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.

Balanix Solutions – Taxation | Accounting | Business Advise.

Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.

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