Are You Making These Five Business Mistakes?

Having business systems in place is crucial to the success of your business.

The question is: How can you make sure your business processes actually help rather than hurt you?

Let’s discuss five mistakes many businesses are making.

Mistake #1: Not having an overall goal.

It’s common for people to focus on the details of the business but not on specific tasks that they need to perform. If your business doesn’t have an overall goal then your details would tend to be fuzzy. This can cause a disconnect.

Every business should have a goal and a model to follow. You may have a goal for instance of hiring team members. If that’s the case it’s more important than ever for you to make sure that you have goals and systems in place.

Your employees will be looking to you for guidance and direction so you need to make sure you have your goals clearly defined before you tell others what to do.

Having an employee handbook will help new hires understand their responsibilities.

Mistake #2: Not using technology properly.

All businesses need to use technology to some degree. That being said no business should rely 100% on technology. Why? Technology can break down. Relying too heavily on technology may weaken your business model.

For example: A grocery store looses power. That meant they can’t use their cash registers. The employees need to write the items down that were purchased and figure out the exchange of money. If the staff isn’t trained to do this prior to this disruption it could wreak havoc on the business.

Mistake #3: Not being detail oriented

You need to document the details for performing various tasks in your business. This helps a new person who comes onto your team know how to operate the system with little guidance.

The best way to handle this is to have two systems in place. One would be written the other would be via technology (software).

Mistake #4: Having too much clutter.

Not everything in your business needs to be written down word for word. You can write down the main idea. Having too much documentation can cause confusion and more clutter. Make sure that necessary directions are documented.

Remember when documenting various tasks make sure those tasks are refined and proven so that your business is running efficiently. Think split testing. Try performing the task one way. See how that works. If it doesn’t then go on to plan B. The point is you want to know what works and then utilize that strategy.

Mistake #5: Interaction with people

There may be times when certain processes of your business will need that human touch. For example let’s say you have a product that needs to be shipped a certain way. You need to document the specific details in order to make sure that the shipping and handling of your product is done in an efficient and thorough manner. You may also have to train people on how to handle customer service for that particular product.

When you have a team it’s extremely important that you train them properly so that they know what’s involved in the processes so that you have a well-oiled machine.

One of the best practices you can put into place is having an employee handbook which was mentioned earlier. This handbook will also contain procedures and policies that you expect to be followed. Having this in writing will help your employees to see in black and white what is required of them. Make sure they not only read the employee handbook but also sign off that they read, understand and agree with it.

Even if you decide to use a virtual assistant make sure you have it in writing what you expect of them. This will help with any type of confusion that may arise during a specific task you have assigned them.

If you are a solopreneur it’s important that you set guidelines for yourself as well. Having things written down and in an easy to follow format will help you be more efficient.

Once you know your business inside and out and it will be easier for you to write the employee book of policies and procedures mentioned above. If you do that in advance of hiring any team members you will be ahead of the game should your business experience a major growth spurt.

Put these systems into place and you will find your business is more productive.

Lessons In Business – Know Your Product – Don’t Get Scammed

If you’re new to selling and marketing, this will be very important to you. If you’re a seasoned veteran its always good to take a step back and cover the basics from time to time.

Do your homework!

A lot of people get involved in network marketing because they believe the outrageous promises of wealth. There are a lot of devious and unscrupulous people hiding behind their computer screens just waiting for an inexperienced, naive person to take the get-rich-quick bait.

I’ll admit it. I’ve been suckered into paying money for useless information and promises of vast amounts of money. I fell for it. If you’ve done it too, its ok. We all make mistakes.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If you’re going to advertise a product or a service make sure its legitimate. Contact the company that you’re going to be working with. Email them, or phone them up. Ask them about their payment plans, ask them how long it takes to get paid, ask them how long they’ve been trading online, ask about their products. If you don’t get the response you were expecting, assume they’re not serious about their business. I usually give companies 48 hours to respond to an email.

You need to make sure that the product your selling offers real value to your customers. Great products don’t need to be dressed up. If its a great product it will sell.

Once you’ve chosen a company to work with, the real work begins. You need to understand your business inside and out.

Customers will want to know why your product is better than the competition. You need to know how it works, and what the increased value is to your customers. If you feel secure and happy about the company and the product, you’ll be able to explain this to them. Imagine yourself as a customer, what would you ask before you’re happy to hand over your hard earned money? If you can answer their questions with confidence, they’ll trust you. More confidence means more sales.

If you want to recruit other people to your business opportunity you need to think of them as being customers. Affiliate marketing only works if affiliates are as happy as potential customers. Learn the payment scheme inside out. Be ready to answer questions about payment, the product and the growth of the business.

If you’re new to the business, keep notes, and don’t be afraid to refer to them. Its important that you can answer questions. Starting out in business is a learning curve. At times it will be difficult, but you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up just because you’ve had a bad day.

Searching For the Perfect Business

Ah! The perfect deal! How we all fantasize about finding it. No doubt you have heard a story similar to the one about the guy who finds the barely used 1957 Corvette stashed in the back of someone’s garage. It has sat there unused for years. The owner just wants to get rid of it and agrees to let it go for a song.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it is rare that this ever occurs at auctions and estate sales, and it is even rarer that it occurs in the world of deal-making or business acquisitions.

But still, even in today’s tough economic climate where lenders are tightening their purse strings and our government is conjuring up ways to implement new taxes, I continue to get buyers calling me and giving me a 60 minute exposition on the business acquisition they wish I would help them acquire. But alas, imagine their woe when after my patient listening and patient rebuttal, they are fated to discover that what they are looking for is in fact, a perfect deal, and thus does not exist.

On the surface I understand and recognize they want to make sure they get the best value for their dollar they can possibly achieve. But the reality of the situation is there is no such thing as a perfect deal.

First, let me explain what I am talking about when I say the “perfect deal.” In the world of business acquisitions, the perfect deal would be the buyer finding the convenience store that has the right size building; located at the best spot in town; has updated pumps and credit cards systems; the roof, air conditioning and cooling units are fairly new; has a profitable foodservice program with minimal competition; has a high volume of fuel gallon sales; and has consistently high inside sales (but with not a lot of cigarette sales). In addition, the seller is very motivated and is willing to sell the store below the current market value of a c-store.

Have I got your attention? This would be pretty close to the perfect deal. Everybody has different criteria, but this will give you a general idea as to what I am talking about. Are these kinds of deals out there? Absolutely. Are they plentiful? No.

The reality is that almost all deals will “have some warts on them.” There is generally going to be something that is just not right about the deal. Maybe it has a great location, but the assets are a bit run down. Perhaps it does a great business inside and out, but the size of the building is too small for expansion in the future. Maybe it has a branded obligation that cannot be changed and the buyer is not interested in becoming part of the new brand. There are many different things that will come into play when looking at acquiring a convenience store.

My point is, there are a lot of great opportunities in the world of business acquisitions, but you first have to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect deal. Once this realization has been met, then the search becomes realistic, and you can find a really good convenience store or group of stores that are available to be acquired with most of the criteria you are looking for at a fair price.

Just this week I was presented with a group of eight convenience stores that an owner wanted to sell. Is it the perfect deal? No. Three of the stores are leased properties and five of the stores are owned in fee. But they are all profitable and have a great upside. Upside is the part of any deal that a buyer should be seeking. What is the upside of this acquisition? The buyer knows he will have to invest money to acquire these stores; however, based on his expertise and knowledge in the operation of c-stores, it is also known that by adding certain items and maybe changing the floor plan and a few other things, he can raise the sales too. This means there is plenty of upside for him in this transaction and that the new profits generated from changes made are going to be his.

All of the hard work has already been done. By this I mean it is a lot easier to take an existing business and build it to a new level than it is to build a business from scratch and not know if or when you are going to make a profit. You see, when you buy an existing business, you have a cash flow from the very first day you take over the operations.

So put on your deal-making hat and take off your rose-colored glasses, and you will see there are many opportunities available for those hardworking owners of c-stores who are looking to expand and find some very good (but not perfect) deals In today’s marketplace.