Grow Your Business by Never Leaving Money on the Table
As a business owner, the only time you should leave money on the table is after a great meal. No one knows everything and many missed opportunities are caused by pure ignorance. While minor ignorance lapses can be forgiven, here are five that should not be ignored.
Not Using Intelligent Marketing
John Wanamaker once wrote, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." Marketing success can appear entirely random when you measure it from a bird's eye perspective. The truth may dwell a little bit closer to earth. A business owner may see signs or discounts work one week and not the next. The instinct is to make a blanket statement about the platform. The truth could be a marketing campaign worked for a particular subset of customers. When those customers no longer see your promotion, the value of the advertising can plummet. That's where understanding specific demographics and situations behind your marketing are essential. Without this information, a business may merely be playing the marketing lottery.
Ignoring Your Customer Data
There are two types of ignorance we are often struggling through: willful ignorance and regular ignorance. The difference is that willful ignorance is one where you know better, but you turn a blind eye. The truth can be painful to accept, so much so that we try to invent the reality. A business that turns blind to the customer data will find itself stumbling and eventually broke. Some businesses slowly become willfully ignorant through slick sales propaganda or a 'we have always done things that way' attitude. Listening to feedback through customer data is essential. Customer feedback can often be as simple as a 'how are we doing' survey.
Not Inviting The Customer Back
Far too many business owners rely on the customer to follow-up. Just because a customer had an enjoyable experience, doesn't mean they will automatically come back. Like a favorite song, success should be repeated. It is in that repetition where loyalty is created. Loyal customers produce stability and growth opportunities for a business. The best way to build this devotion is to invite the customer back. This invitation can be restocking notifications, repeat customer promotions, and hosting events. As a customer repeats their pleasant experience, they will slowly see your offering as "their source". That sense of ownership is the best success marker for brand loyalty.
Building A Brand When A Product Will Do
Success is an intoxicating drug that can cloud judgment. It is a natural instinct to believe that multiplying a solution makes the solution better. If one product does extraordinarily well, why not build several? Pride in a business can often blind owners to believing every offering they have is terrific. The truth is that untamed expansion can lead to confusion and lost customers. New customers rarely look for brands that take care of every need. Instead, they have a specific, singular problem they need to be resolved. If you solve that single problem efficiently, new customers may trust you with the next challenge. Perfecting each solution should be required before expanding to the next.
Avoiding The Profit Mirror
Many businesses have dirty secrets that are kept locked away in accounting. These business owners may be working extra hard in their businesses, trying to avoid the truth. The dirty secret involves the "green bottom line", also known as profit. The sense of avoidance is born from the frustration of not knowing the solution. However, this toxic avoidance can become cancerous to a business. One out-pouring of cash can turn into two, then three. Keeping a firm eye on profit means knowing each expense and the value it brings.
Leaving money on the table is not an admirable trait. Far too many times, business owners fall prey to their ignorance shortfalls. Not knowing their customer data and not using that data can lead to wasted marketing efforts. Not inviting customers to return and building too many offerings can lead to wasted customer experiences. Finally, not knowing your expenses and profit can drive your business to waste away. When it comes to protecting your business, ignorance is rarely bliss.