Top 10 Business Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Owners are no different than anyone else. It’s okay to make mistakes; that’s how people learn. Learn from your mistakes because making the same mistake twice is stupid. Help others in your organization to avoid them. 
1. Taking Employees For Granted.  DON’T
Employees’ want to do a good job and to be noticed and recognized for their work. When employees don’t get recognition, they start to assume that the boss doesn’t care, and morale plummets. When employee morale plummets, their performance suffers and they start looking for new employers.
The word “Thank you” goes a long way for a job well done. Let your employees know you are paying attention, early and often. They will respond to your interest by being more productive and happier employees producing happier customers not to mention a healthier bottom line.
2. Taking Customers for Granted.  DON’T
Isolation from the customer, the person that buys your services, can create real problems for your business, especially when it stems from managers and employees forgetting that their job is to serve the customer, not the other way around. A manager may assume because a person is a customer today they will be around tomorrow, too. This is a very dangerous assumption to make. Today, more than ever, consumers have options on where to spend their money. You have to earn your customers’ business every day of the week. You can’t afford to leave it to chance. 
Owners have a long list of people that they serve. At the top of that list should be customers and employees. Customers are at the top because they pay the bills, and employees are at the top because they directly serve the customers. Keeping both happy is a sure recipe for success.
3. Failing To Lead People want not only firm and decisive leaders, but also a voice in the decisions that they make. The best leaders seek input and information from everyone in their organizations, and they take that input and info into account when they make the decisions. Think: none of us is as smart as all of us”Leaders aren’t just born; they can be made. Always work on improving your leadership skills.
4. Setting Clear Goals with Employees.
Goals are nothing more than the steps employees take to achieve the organizations goals/vision. Goals act as tangible, measurable milestones for employees to gauge their progress on the road to achieving the organizations vision. Goals give employees something to strive for, making their jobs more interesting and fulfilling. Managers/Owners who fail to set clear goals to achieve the organization’s vision end up with employees who are confused about their priorities and what’s important. The employees may do things that seem important to them, but may not be doing the things the organization needs them to do. Chances are, employees won’t be happy with this ambiguity, and you can bet the managers/owners won’t be happy with this ambiguity, because the employees won’t be heading in the right direction
5. Forgetting What It’s Like to Be a Worker 
A common complaint about manages/owners is that, somewhere along the way, they forgot what it’s like to be a regular employee. They forgot how hard it is to deal with customers/children.  How tough it is to get a job done with “out of date” equipment. Employees aren’t an employers slave, servant, or children. The next time you plan to do something that will put an employee in a bind or in an extreme inconvenience, first put yourself in their shoes and consider just how important what you have in mind is to the organization. An employee should understand if you ask them to work on occasional weekend, or if you need to squeeze just one more year out of that piece of equipment due to budget. If these inconveniences become habitual, something is wrong, you need to step back and figure out what it is and how to fix it. And don’t forget to look into the mirror the problem may not be with your employees, manager, or your customers, but with that person looking back at you.
6. Stealing the Spotlight.
A Manager/Boss can wreck an organization by hogging the credit and stealing the spotlight from their employees. People don’t want a boss who takes all the credit for their employees’ accomplishments and who wants the spotlight at all times. This is a time-tested recipe for creating employee dissatisfaction and ultimately disengagement.
Don’t refuse to shine the spotlight on those hard-working men and women who get things done in your business. Share credit as often as you can and you’ll find that your employees will step up and become more enthusiastic than ever.
7. Sidestepping Opportunities to Delegate One of the biggest mistakes a manager/boss can make is to fail to delegate in one or both of the following ways: a. The responsibility of getting the task done: “Gee, I can get this job done a lot faster and more accurately if just do it myself. 
b. The authority to get a task done: “Mary, check with me before you commit to that task”.
Managers/Owners who fail to delegate, bog themselves down with work, become dreadedmicromanagers, and miss out on terrific opportunities to develop their employees skills.  Tip. Focus on doing tasks that you’re uniquely responsible for and allow employees to do the jobs they’re uniquely responsible for. And be sure too delegate not only the responsibility to get tasks done, but also the authority employees need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. They should not have to run to get permission every time a decision needs to be made.
8. Communicating Too Little, Too Late Communication is the lifeblood of any business. And as the speed of business continues to increase (and it will), it’s imperative that you dismantle and discard the barriers to communication within your company and create and reward a culture of communication. Information is power, and far too many manages/Owners hoard information and give it out to their employees only when it suits their purposes, if at all. Organizations can no longer afford this behavior, if they ever could. In a time when most companies have equal access to markets, capital, technology, and personnel, the ability of your business to identify the latest, most relevant definite competitive advantage. Make information available to the people who need it – in real time and as completely as possible. If you aren’t getting vital information to your employees, you can bet your competitors are getting it to their employees.
9. Hiring Too Fast (And firing Too Slow) Hiring too fast is a common mistake. Have you ever been in a rush, a big rush to fill a vacancy on your staff? For whatever reason, you felt the need to streamline the hiring process, perhaps throwing it out the window altogether, to get a warm body in an empty seat. The flip side of this problem, is firing too slow, can be almost as bad. If you let an under performing employee linger on your staff, your other employees will begin to wonder why you’re putting up with an underachiever and your over-achievers will begin to think about becoming underachievers, too. When it comes time to hire a new employee, take the time to recruit and interview a variety of candidates. Check their credentials. Ask for references and then call them! Have the prospects come back for multiple interviews so they can speak with other people in your organization with whom they’ll be working. And when t comes time to fire an employee, don’t hesitate. Your actions speak louder than words. What are your actions saying to your employees? 
10. Forgetting To Have Fun: Having fun is one of the easiest ways to boost morale in an organization. Work is serious stuff, so you have to make your workplace a fun place to be in. Think about it for a moment, you spend 6- 8 hours at the facility, some employees spend more, including lunch time, after-hours, social activities, off-site conferences and training, work brought home, and the time spent commuting to and from work, you live almost a third of your life at work or partaking in work-related activities. Do what you can to give employees a chance to exercise their creativity while they break up the monotony of their jobs, delighting and entertaining your customers in the process.

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Paul Spadaro - USAIGC President
450 North End Avenue - Suite 20F
New York, NY 10282
fax: 212.227.9793

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