July 21, 2015
Whether your business has just started out, or you're working your way through a rough patch, it can become tempting to take any customers that you can find, say yes to every project that comes your way, and cut corners whenever possible to maximize profits. There's nothing worse you can do for your business growth than cut quality when times get rough. Instead, this is the time to focus on creating the best possible product you can and motivate your employees.
Let's talk about how cutting corners, either with customers or personnel, can backfire and bankrupt your business.
1. Cutting Corners to Meet Deadlines and Maximize Profits
When a business runs into tough economic times, it can be difficult to know what to do in order to keep your ship afloat. Resist the risk to cut into the quality story that you've built for yourself; instead, look for places to make things better, more efficient, more irresistible, to bring customers in droves.
One of the common mistakes struggling companies make is abandoning all their ideas and new product innovations because they don’t have funds to make it happen. Always patent and trademark your innovations to ensure they can’t be copied by competitors or even ex-employees.
There is absolutely nothing worse a struggling business can do than to cut quality in order to make sure they make a profit. Every shopper has had that experience, where they rebuy a product they used to love, and the quality has clearly decreased. How often do they go back a third time?
If you examine your business and find redundancies, wastes of time, streamlining opportunities and places where your employees are losing valuable time without gaining a benefit for the customer, by all means, tighten up in these areas. But the second you sacrifice quality, you've already lost. It's just a matter of time before your customers figure it out.
2. Saying “Yes” to Everything
When you're looking at the bottom line and seeing that the numbers don’t line up, it can be tempting to just take every single customer and opportunity that walks into your office. And if the problem customer or the job that's outside of your wheelhouse is really and truly the difference between keeping the lights on or not, then saying yes might be the right thing to do.
But when you say yes to every opportunity, then you're actually removing business growth options for yourself. If you're too busy on all the projects that you've said yes to out of fear, when the actual dream project that you've been waiting for comes along, you won't be able to say yes. And that is a true disaster.
3. Tolerating Toxic Employees
Doing a hiring search can be expensive, and onboarding a new employee is never cheap. When your business is struggling may not seem like an ideal time to take on these extra expenses, but if you're keeping a toxic employee on the payroll, you need to take a real accounting of what kind of damage they could be doing to your business and your brand. Are they:
- Unprofessional with customers, causing customers to take their business elsewhere?
- Naysayers in meeting, stifling creative thought and exciting ideas that could help your business grow?
- Just barely doing the minimum necessary work, bringing down office morale and never bringing in anything more than the lowest acceptable amount?
If so, consider if their toxicity might be not just a symptom of your business slow-down, but a cause of it, and act accordingly. Manage the employee up or out.
4. Letting Your Marketing Be “Good Enough”
When was the last time you reevaluated your customer profile, or took a hard look at your online marketing to make sure that it was still meeting your business needs? Websites can be the same for years and be absolutely great, or they can be boring and outdated in months, depending on how they were designed and the quality of the content. If the last time you updated company news was months ago, and half your evergreen content isn't actually accurate, you're not helping your company grow.
As Robert Janis has written on Business2Community, your website can be an incredible tool for growing your business and maximizing your profits — but only if you use it.
What advice would you give to a struggling business? Tell us in the comments!
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