To achieve success in business today, you need to know what to do. However, it’s equally as important to know what not to do. Over the years I have had the privilege of working in a number of different industries for many different brands. I’ve also worked within both business to business and business to consumer marketplaces. It may sound like business 101, but essentially business is business. In other words, what works to make a business or brand successful, is pretty much the same in both marketplaces.
Business 101: Here’s my accumulated list of what not to do (or pet peeves), from over 25 years in business.
1. Change for the sake of change: I’ll be the first to say that complacency in business is a sure way of not being in business very long. The inverse is also true. Change for the sake of change, is equally as disruptive. Changing styles, personas, logos or strategic directions must all be evaluated carefully. It’s not like changing the layout of furniture or a paint colour – these components of a business or brand are elemental. Assessment is key.
2. Assumption that once tried, to never try it again: I’ve seen this over and over throughout my career. Just because something has been done before, and not reaped the expected results, doesn’t mean that the strategy is a dud. Many times it’s the execution of the initiative, timing or follow-through that are the reasons for it going astray and missing the mark on ROI. It is important to keep an open mind and reevaluate the premise, especially in business. Change is a constant.
3. Doing it right, the second time: This only begs the question: Why not do it right the first time? Why is it okay to redo, reinvest, go back to the drawing board or push back the launch? All that was necessary was looking at the project realistically from the first place in order to make the appropriate decisions. That way, you wouldn’t be in the position of doing the project a second time. Hurdling towards a deadline and taking short cuts, whether it’s to save on time or money, never pans out. Breathe.
4. Not assessing true costs: In my business, there’s always someone that can do the work for less. In advertising and graphics, there are freelancers galore. However, when it comes to time and effort spent, I’ve seen how expensive that cost savings truly is. When assessing anything that is being outsourced, don’t forget to take into consideration the internal time that is not a “direct outside cost” into consideration.
5. Going with the flow… even though it’s counter productive: If you’re not speaking your mind, your assessment of any situation will only come back to haunt you. You’re in business. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Placed in perspective, it’s important to voice them. It’s your job to voice them – even though they may be set aside. This is important in building your own business confidence as well as the confidence your colleagues have in you.
7. Not researching: Assumptions are never good in business. Seeing things through your eyes only is not a valid or qualified basis for making a decision. You’re not an unbiased potential buyer/customer/client of your product or services. If business has taught me anything, it’s that there is a quite a difference between my perspective versus the perspective my client has. Gain perspective through research. Your business will flourish and you’ll have a little less stress in your life!
Are there any other business pet peeves that I haven’t listed in my Business 101 short list? I bet there are! I’d like to hear yours.