5 Toxic Decisions to Avoid When First Starting a Business

Image by: Brandon Grasley
By: Giovanni Fields

There’s only so much preparation we can do when taking the plunge into something new and in unfamiliar territory. No matter how much research or planning you do, or advice you get before opening your business, there will always be those things that pop up that you never accounted for that just completely slip your mind.

Don’t feel bad about your misfortunes, though, as every successful business owner or entrepreneur had always missed something when starting from square one. Bad decisions may seem good in the beginning, but over time, as your company grows you may discover that you could have made due with a few more words of advice–and that’s exactly what I’m here for!

So before you make any crucial mistakes, I’d like to warn you of several toxic decisions that are often made by business owners who are just starting out.

#1) Not Understanding Customers

Meeting the customer’s needs it the most important part of the equation that leads to building a successful business. They’re the ones who pay your employees, your bills, and keep your organization afloat, so isn’t it obvious that you would want to develop products that address the customer’s needs?

Training your employees to really engage with the customers and provide a good customer experience goes a long way when it comes to whether or not that customer makes a return visit or not. Don’t be afraid to interact with the customers or ask them what improvements can be made about your company.

Some people swear by the saying “the customer is always right” and they certainly have ground to believe that’s the case, as exceeding customer’s expectations and accommodating their changing needs is critical to maintaining customers who are satisfied to make a repeat visit.

#2) No Documented Goals

How can you reach your marketing and business goals if you don’t have any? Well, the short answer is: You can’t! While it may seem unnecessary to plan for long term achievements that you desire to encounter so early in the beginning stages, it is important not only for keeping you motivated, but also the people who are punching in.

This doesn’t just mean one massive goal your company hopes to reach someday (although, that will be nice, too) but a goal for each individual employee. This will give your team a sense of responsibility, and will gradually increase the confidence of your colleagues as the milestones are being reached, resulting in a more productive, innovative workplace.

#3) Not Celebrating

Every once in a while a person needs to stop and acknowledge the achievements they’ve gained and reflect on how far they’ve came from their humble beginnings. Celebrating after your company reaches a milestone will keep things fresh and exciting as the company progresses down the well lit tunneled road. It will also show that you have a certain amount of appreciation for the sacrifices your colleagues have made in order to make the goals a reality.

Celebrating doesn’t have to be looked at as a juvenile act, but something that keeps your workplace fresh and prevents them from getting burned out from over exerting. You don’t necessarily have to throw a party with streamers, punch and banners, but rather create systems and processes that regularly analyze how the business is performing. And if they’re up to par, then break out the coffee and doughnuts. Happy employees begets happy customers. And who isn’t happy when they’ve got coffee and doughnuts in their system?

#4) No Transparency

Some problems can’t be solved with anything but proper communication. You’d probably be surprised to hear, but poor communication is a growing issue in many different companies, as many owners fail to create a structured a analysis as to how efficiency and organizational transparency is going to improve.

Organization transparency is about sharing all the information the receiver wants or needs and putting all facts and truths on the table, even if some are uncomfortable. The first step toward creating an ideal workplace is knowing who’s doing what, and on what grounds are they doing it. Being cognizant of things like this will keep you and your colleagues on the same wavelength. And would ideally lead to better production in the workplace.

#5) Not Always Looking for Ways to Improve

As perfection is impossible, organizations need to always be looking forward to new advancements and how to utilize these advancements to better the organization. Taking a portion of your day out to sit down and brainstorm ways to develop and enhance the products you offer is necessary to hold the interest of your customers, as well as to keep them interested over long periods of time.

Bad decisions in the beginning stages can sometimes dictate the outcome of our businesses for years to come. Have you regretted anything from the upstart of your company? You may save someone else the hassle you faced if you share below!