10 Bad Habits That Will Hurt Your Business!

Small Business Bad HabitWe all have bad habits, but do you have bad habits that go beyond affecting just yourself but ultimately your business?

This week I had the unfortunate situation of not being happy about some work we had done on our house. So instead of writing a post about ’10 Wonderful Habits That Will Help Your Business’, I have, as Jim Connolly would kindly put it, been influenced by someone into negative thinking. It is not all bad though, as I hope the following 10 bad habits I have picked out make you sit up and pay attention as a reminder of what can affect your customer/client.

1. Procrastination
The biggest killer of all, mainly because if you never get started you will never finish. The longer you procrastinate the worst the issue becomes I find. Kill procrastination and take action sooner rather than later if you want to get ahead.

2. Not Listening To Your Customer
If your customer speaks, you listen to their requirements and wishes. Very simple process listening and one I was taught from an early age by my parents and school teachers. This is closely followed by…

3. Telling Your Customer What They Want
Unless you have legitimate reasons, I strongly advise against this. Customers find it belittling and patronising when you firstly do not listen and then go ahead, and tell them what you think they want. They came to you trusting that you would do as requested, they have the idea, you implement it.

4. Untidiness
Now I know this may seem petty to add in, but this is a pet hate of mine because it falls under the ‘attention to detail’ area. Untidiness can be the way you organise your work, the amount of mess you physically create (Clean As You Go in the kitchen anyone?) or the quality of a finished product. Plus, I don’t quite enjoy cleaning up cigarette butts out of my plant pots.

5. Not Delivering On Time
Needless to say this is sometimes unavoidable due to external factors, but if you are finding you are consistently overrunning delivery dates initially given to a customer, word will get around that you are unreliable. Manage their expectations as the project moves along so any extra time does not come as a surprise. Also, don’t be seen wasting time talking to friends on your phone and then finish the job late 😉

6. Poor Quality
Why would you cut corners and give a customer a poor quality product at the end? Cheap low grade materials only mean a cheap product in the end! Source the best and the end product will pay for itself twice over when your customer is happy. Take pride in your work and ask yourself “Am I doing the best I can do for my customer?”

7. Attitude
The way you interact and your attitude towards your work reflects every step along the way. From the moment you meet a potential customer to the way you handle their enquiries, telephone calls, Emails, complaints and feedback. Good attitude = good business!

8. Overpricing
Are you charging a fair price? What are your competitors charging?
If you are not monitoring these factors you will find yourself pushed out of the marketplace and also customers thinking they have been overcharged when the next door neighbour exclaims “How much?!?!”. Provide a breakdown of costs so you are being transparent.

9. Undervaluing Your Customer
If you do not value the customer you have then wasted all that effort of attracting them in the first place. You can kiss good old free Word of Mouth marketing goodbye and keeping their custom is going to be even harder than attracting a brand new customer unless you make them feel appreciated very fast.
I would say mobile phone companies have lots to learn here still. Why should I pay the price of a new phone when I come to the end of my contract when their competition is giving it away for free?

10. Not Asking For Feedback
Job done, happy customer – right? No! The job is not done until you ask for feedback. Some of the best ways to do this is leave them a questionnaire with a S.A.S.E. (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope), a follow-up phone call, an Email or a short online survey.
The trouble is all too often many unhappy customers will simply harbour the bad feeling, not want to deal with the confrontation of telling you what is wrong (mainly because they believe you don’t care, will not correct the issue(s), etc.) and then proceed to tell all their friends not to use your service/buy your product/visit your shop.
The bonus being here is you can ask to use happy customers for testimonials!


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Photo Credit: Morgan

5 Responses to 10 Bad Habits That Will Hurt Your Business!
  1. Gavin Ryan
    April 20, 2011 | 7:34 am

    Hi Stuart,

    You are right on the money! with this post.

    Enjoyed it.

    Gavin.

    • Stuart
      April 20, 2011 | 8:31 am

      Thanks for the feedback Gavin, much appreciated!

  2. Stoo
    April 20, 2011 | 1:34 pm

    Great post, I’d say number 10 is the most over looked and ignored part of being a small business while being invaluable in getting an understanding of what you’re doing right and wrong. Without feedback you can’t really grow.

    Not sure about number 4! I’m incredibly untidy (my desk is a stack of books and paperwork) but I’m not disorganised in my work and never disorganised with my clients and that I think is the key thing.

    Number 3 I think depends on the work you do and the clients you’re dealing with. I’d never tell a client to do something but as a developer part of what I have to do is give them advice and ideas on new technologies which they may not be aware of but which could be a benefit to them. So it becomes a two way process, rather than one side telling the other what to do.

    Oh and having the right attitude is key to just about everything!

    Good stuff!

    • Stuart
      April 20, 2011 | 10:08 pm

      Good points made there Stoo. Sometimes we do have to take action such as telling a client what will be best, but I think it all flows back to Number 7 – Attitude. It is the your attitude that will make you approach such subjects correctly and with the right information.

      Thank you for stopping by again mate.

  3. Sue Portman
    April 21, 2011 | 12:20 pm

    Procrastination? Me? Never! (Well, ok, just a bit!)

    All very valid points Stu – tho I’d like to add a codicil to number 8. It’s also a very bad habit to *underprice* yourself too, especially in the creative industries.

    It’s a tough one though as there will always be someone out the trying to undercut you. The trick is to do a damn good job, and add as much value as you can whilst making it clear that owning a computer with the Microsoft suite on it doesn’t mean you’re a web/print designer any more than owning a pair of scissors makes you a hairdresser.

    Consistant underpricing leads to a lack of confidence in your work, a lack of earning power, and loss of income – you get locked into a cheap-cheap cycle, and don’t realise that there are people out there willing to pay the right price for a good job – you just need to find them!

    😀

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