Sometime ago I went into a new local business to check out their offerings. I liked the store and their products but they didn’t have that sense of community. Sadly, eight short months later, they closed their doors. I couldn’t help but notice they committed some cardinal sins that lead to their demise.
Most of us want to see our small businesses succeed. We want to feel the joy of hanging that “first dollar” on the wall or the excitement of having not only the resources, but the need to hire more employees. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they don’t want their businesses to succeed; much like the store in my example, they consistently make choices that take them further and further from it. Because I have seen this happen again and again, I can only conclude that there are owners who seek failure for their small business.
Therefore, I would like to offer the following primer to help take your small business down in flames. These sure-fire steps, if followed, will certainly lead to the demise of your business—unless of course you have found the fountain of youth. You could run your fountain of youth business any way you like and it would still be a success. If not, here are the steps to disaster:
1. Don’t care about your customers.
Customers are a onetime thing. When people enter your place of business, whether online or brick and mortar, they may like your product enough to buy it once, but surely they will not want it again. Making sure customers are kept in the dark concerning up-and-coming products is a great way to prevent future purchases.
Exercise: When customers approach act disinterested. Don’t let them bore you with talk of their wants and needs, disengage from any online or physical conversation.
2. Leave marketing to the Big Box Stores
You don’t have the budget for a 30 second TV commercial, so don’t bother. You should also, ignore the free avenues of marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, email feeds, blogs and Instagram because they are pretty, trendy things and they won’t last anyway. After all, what credentials does “TiffanyTechy” have to validate her opinion in the blogosphere? Stick with the tried-and-true like the yellow pages or street hawkers; better yet, no marketing. If people like you, they will return with pocket books in hand; don’t bother trying to get their attention with shiny things or sharing with their friends.
Exercise: Dig out your Yellow Pages and see if you can find street hawkers.
3. Keep the “I” in community.
The small business world is dog-eat-dog. You have got to worry about YOU! There is no time for guest blog posts, group volunteer work, or holiday expos. You cannot worry about how Sandy’s Sandwiches is doing when you are experiencing mediocre success. Karma will not mind if you blow off the opportunity to be a part of something that promote growth for yourself and everyone around you. Seek only for personal gain and not how your business can better the lives of those around you.
Exercise: Volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army then use the money to fund your next Yellow Pages ad.
So, if you want to smell the fresh fragrance of failure, you have the tools to do so. In the words of Spock’s evil twin, “Go forth and fail.”
To experience success, do just the opposite.