This one comes from Jane in Birmingham who wanted to know what my biggest single business mistake was!
When I first started out in business in February 2004 I got it all wrong; I told myself that my customers were all that mattered in business and more customers equals more profit. I know many reading this will think that attitude is right and will agree with that, yet 5 years down the line, I had to declare my business insolvent.
This was just a awful time for me and I don’t want any of my business friends out there to make the same mistake I did and go through that.
Looking back, it was because I put my customers first that I went bankrupt. After all, you can have thousands of thrilled customers who love you, and still have no money in the bank if those customers were not customers that were paying you sensible money and providing you with decent profits. In the old days I settled for any customer I could get, and was darn grateful for them all.
Now I’m not for 1 minute saying that your customers and providing great customer service is not vital to the success of your business, because they really are, but getting and keeping decent, profitable customers is actually what I should have been doing from the start.
Any business can get customers that don’t want to pay you anything! The skill in business is to position your offerings so that you only get prospects that you actually want as customers. Positioning is when you aim your products and services and all your sales and marketing efforts towards a particular target customer profile.
With hindsight instead of trying to get as many customers as I could, what I should have done is focused on getting more of the customers that were going to get me the most amount of profit, on making money, on looking after the business numbers, on making sure that I was making great money on every job I was doing, not making a little money on tons of jobs i was doing.
Yes my first business folded, but as soon as i started to focus on the numbers great things started to happen in my business. I started to have money left over at the end of the month, and I started to be able to afford to go on holiday and to take time off when I wanted to, and I started to worry less about money.
You see, the success of any business comes down to the numbers and the amount of profit you are making on every job. Many people in business are not comfortable talking about profit for some reason … but now I know that profit is everything and not just something you think about occasionally, or just with specific customers. Profit is why you get out of bed in the morning.
So many sales and marketing companies focus purely on getting more business which is of course their job; however they rarely focus on the quality of the business they get for you. No, what we want for you at the Business Super Heroes is highly profitable customers that are willing, and actually want to pay you good money for your services.
These customers do exist if you know how to look for them.
You know, profit comes from pricing your goods and services properly (amongst other things) and you know price is not the issue many people think it is … You can still be more expensive and more profitable than your competitors and customers will still choose you if you use a number of techniques we will go through in the books, courses and CD’s we will send you as a BSH member.
If you look after your numbers in your business, you will not have to go through the hellish time I had when I had to go insolvent. That was my #1 mistake in business.