Self-sabotaging business blunders to avoid

Find out about the worst business mistakes that can potentially sink your small business

Being an entrepreneur involves a fair degree of trial and error. You’re not always going to make the right decisions and that’s OK because through mistakes we learn and are able to do better next time around.

But, according to Sanlam Business Market head Jannie Rossouw, there are certain blunders that entrepreneurs unwittingly make that, if not caught and remedied in time, could lead to the downfall of your business.

One of the biggest business-destroying moves you can make is living from your cash register and mistaking money in the bank for profit.

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“This is probably the worst mistake any business owner can make. You need to develop the discipline to pay yourself a salary and not available cash for your personal use. In the same vein, managing your business expenses is of critical importance,” Rossouw says.

The customer, just like your cash flow, is king and a key component to your business success, so the last thing you want to do is alienate them. No clients or customers basically means no cash flow and no cash flow means the end of the business.

By failing to pay attention to the smaller details, or dragging your feet with responding to customer phone calls or emails, or failing to deliver on promises on time, you could be driving existing and potential future clients away from your business.

This is why Rossouw says that incorporating systems that can measure client satisfaction is vital to the success of your business.

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“Client alienation can take place very subtly, especially where management is far removed from what clients are actually experiencing. Built-in mechanisms to evaluate client satisfaction like sampling or after-sales calls are crucial,” he says.

Entrepreneurs should also be mindful of the way that they treat their employees if you don’t want to risk pushing out your top talent. This means paying them adequately, managing them in a fair manner, treating them with respect, and exposing them to training and growth opportunities.

Rossouw advises that you have well-defined HR practices in place that will “go a long way to ensure a happy workforce and high staff morale”.