7 common mistakes business owners make and how to avoid them
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
I've been in business for over 20 years and have seen my share of mistakes made by business owners — many that certainly could have been avoided. Here’s my list of common mistakes business owners make, along with advice on how to avoid following suit.
1. Failure to hire for fit.
Think about a job that you worked in that didn’t work out. Was it because you didn’t have the skills to do the job, or was it because your values did not align with the organization’s?
I’m betting it was most likely because you didn’t fit into the culture of the organization. Hire for fit, train for skill, and you should be able to slash costly turnover.
2. Poor interviewing skills.
I recently had a former business owner tell me that he would hire people who volunteered to help him out at the events that his company was working at. These people wound up being "Mr. Right" for right now.
He then confessed that these same people turned out to be some of his worst hiring decisions! You can avoid this happening to you by learning behavior-based interviewing techniques to help you assess whether a relationship with a candidate should be one date or more of a long-term relationship.
3. Expecting employees to act like owners.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me why their employees don’t act like business owners, I’d be rich by now.
The only people who act like owners are people who have a stake in the business. If you want your people to act like owners, share the profits.
4. Tossing people into management based on seniority.
I’ve heard this story so many times I could repeat it without looking at the script. An employee has been in the department longer than anyone else, so this person is promoted to management. It doesn’t matter that he or she is not interested in managing people or that they don’t have the qualities one usually seeks in a manager.
This story rarely has a happy ending. Either the employees who are saddled with this boss get frustrated and quit, or the manager goes down in flames because they never really stood a chance.
Hire or promote people who have the desire and the aptitude for a leadership role. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Dropping new employees into their chairs without any training.
I understand you may be hiring experienced people who you think should know exactly what to do, but the reality is that work gets done differently in every organization. Be sure you have a well-designed onboarding plan to smoothly assimilate employees into your organization and watch productivity of new hires soar!
6. Treated people the same.
Equal is not fair, yet owners often give everyone the same autonomy or pay increase, regardless of contribution or experience. Telling a top-performing, three-year veteran employee that he or she cannot telecommute one day a week because it wouldn’t be fair to others will do little to inspire additional commitment.
Treat people like individuals. Reward those who deserve to be rewarded and be prepared to tell others why they are not receiving the same treatment.
7. Doing everything on your own.
If you can really do everything on your own, then why isn’t everything getting done? I just outsourced a project that I knew was going to take me a full day to complete.
This would take away from time I could better invest in marketing my services. Know thyself. Stop holding yourself back and use outside resources to strengthen your organization. In the end, you’ll be glad you did.
You can avoid making all of these common mistakes by doing things differently. What are you waiting for?
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