I made the same mistakes as many entrepreneurs when I started businesses in the past. Even though I was warned by mentors and I knew better, I still somehow let myself get too wrapped up in the details instead of growing my audience and client base. Today I work with entrepreneurs who have made it past the startup stage but somehow continue to fall into the some of these entrepreneurial traps that hold their business growth back.
Here are a few things to avoid whether you are just getting started or been in business for awhile now:
With Great Power Comes the Electricity Bill.
Make sure your Accounts Payable is managed effectively.
On the first day of working with a new client, the local power company showed up to turn the power off due to non payment. Fortunately the service man was kind enough to give us one day to get everything worked out. My client was perplexed as to why the bill had not been paid. The answer was that the checks were sitting in one of the many piles of paperwork on my client’s desk. You know that pile of paper that just keeps growing as you put out the fires of the day but you never seem to get to. My client did not have a clearly defined bill paying or accounts payable process which was costing the company money not only in late fees, credit problems and wasted productivity time.
Every business owner knows this all important rule – a sale is not a sale until the cash is in your bank account.
When I am working with a clients to collect on past due invoices, I often call their clients to find out why invoices are not being paid. During one of these calls the business owner said “I am waiting for people to pay me before I pay you.” This person went on to tell me how no one is paying their invoices. I responded with a smile on my face and perhaps some laughter in my tone by saying, “I know there are clients that I have to call every week to pay their invoices.” They said they would drop off a check by the end of the week. This person was six months behind in paying and I talk to them every week.
Business owners go out and work their butts off to find the absolute best people, but that’s only half the battle. The “staying out of the way” part is just as crucial, and really, that comes down to one thing: trust.
I work with so many business owners who instead of leading their employees spend a lot of time and energy standing over their employees. They not only assign tasks to do but proceed to tell them how to do the task.