If you own or manage a business, your intention will be to do so to the best of your ability, avoiding decisions and actions that could have a detrimental effect on the company and your career. Yet there are several mistakes that are more common than you might think, even though they are easily avoidable.

We’ve highlighted some areas where mistakes are commonly made, to give you an opportunity to reflect upon your business’s current strategy. They will help you to reflect and possibly notice mistakes you are making that you weren’t previously aware of. They will also help you to refocus and address any areas where you are making mistakes.

Prior planning

A surprising number of businesses plough forward into their financial year without taking the time to strategise. Often this is due to people confusing what strategy is with their company beliefs, goals & tactics. Beliefs should be the core values that explain who you are as a business. Goals should be constant and broken down into yearly and quarterly targets. A strategy, however, should document the best way you can achieve your goals with your tactics being the constantly evolving activity you undertake to fulfil the strategy.

When building and developing a strategy, it’s important to recognise that it is impossible to predict the future, and as a result, the strategy must not be rigid so that it can evolve as your business does. Throughout the quarter, or year that you’re executing your strategy, opportunities may arise that could be highly beneficial to your business. Ignoring those opportunities because you’re totally tied to your strategy would also be bad business, so keep an open mind and be adaptable to changes that arise.

Listening to your customers

One of the most important activities any business should undertake is listening to your customers, yet so many don’t. There is a multitude of ways you can do this, such as through focus groups, telephone surveys, online or postal questionnaires.

Firstly, it’s important to plan exactly what you want to achieve by speaking to your customers and asking for their feedback. Some common areas to ask your customers about are the service delivered, product satisfaction, likelihood to recommend and areas in which your company could improve. Once you have conducted a customer insight exercise, it’s crucial that you communicate with your customers the steps you are committing to next. If you have consistent feedback of areas to be improved, a fantastic way to advance your customer relationships is by demonstrating ‘you said, we did’, highlighting the improvements you’ve made to your service or product.

Another reason it is important to listen to your customers is they will provide you with valuable insight into the market you operate in from a different perspective. There might be new products or services you’re set to launch, which you believe to be brilliant, but by asking your customers, you might find out the enthusiasm isn’t shared. This can save you wasted money, time and investment, and a potentially embarrassing or detrimental exercise that could impact the reputation of your brand.

If you’re wondering whether you may be making other mistakes, business coaching provides you with an objective person to discuss concerns and ideas with, to use as a sounding board and help you to see things from a different perspective. Contact Delphinium to arrange your free initial consultation today or book your free initial consultation now.

Gemma Rolstone

Gemma Rolstone

Helping good managers to become great leaders