Critical Business Mistakes to Avoid in the Coming Year

As the new year approaches, most of you will be thinking of ways you can improve both your personal and professional lives in 2014. Oh, the agonizing decisions we’re going to be faced with whence the New Year’s bell rings in Time Square: app development; content marketing; social media; new competition taking established customers; what’s the bloody government going to tax us on this year; tech changes; will the first quarter be strong – or will our profits reign in the fourth; will the economy get stronger – or flatline as it has without warning in so many past years?

business mistakes

All these and many others weigh on the minds of any business owner. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors…

Let’s take a quick look at 3 of the common mistakes, misperceptions, and outright poorly-founded assumptions that can cut the lifeline between you and your bottom line in the next twelve months.

1. Apps, apps, and more apps!

Should you or shouldn’t you? Effective marketing is all about giving consumers what they want. Consumers want apps, so why shouldn’t you focus at least 50% of all your efforts on giving it to them? It’ll surely help your business; regardless of what type of business (product or service or both) you work in, right?

Yes and no.

The problem with over-focusing on app development is that, much like cars and cellphones – there’s a crap-ton of them out there for customers to choose from. Who are any of us to think we can jump in the arena and find that one special app that’s going to net us millions? This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t dabble. Just don’t commit all, or even half of your resources to look for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

It’s really important to know what’s out there before you throw your hat in the ring, and that’s really the most time-consuming aspect of the development process. The biggest mistake that any business owner can make with regards to apps is to keep turning them out in hordes, hoping that one will strike a chord.

This works at the start of a product/service boom, but we’re long past that point.

Now that we’re (at least) mid-cycle in the app boom, you have to be painstaking in your research, long before development starts, and unless you have a team dedicated to this one sector, it’s best to think before you leap into that bottomless gorge of uncertainty and never-ending competition.

2. Don’t leave the office!

Yes, you are like a pastor in his church. You have to remain at your pew in case someone needs you, right?

Don’t leave the office, a customer might call; Mark Cuban might stop in to sign a billion dollar deal with you; a courier might deliver a request from a company looking to do a JV deal that’ll change the face of your business…

You might be thinking: “Well surely this point is about getting outside to smell the roses and enjoy my life”.

Wrong, this is about going old school. Getting out into the trenches of society and finding ways to market your business that maybe don’t involve a cool app, QR code, or email distribution campaign to make your business more profitable in the coming year.

Think it’s impossible to do in this, the ultimate age of technology?

  • Deck out your hybrid in vinyls promoting your business and just drive around – answering calls as usual (hands-free of course!) Answer emails on your smartphone while parked in front of a high-traffic area or other place where your target demographic will frequent.
  • Go to a local youth center and find industrious young entrepreneurs willing to make some extra money handing out flyers, coupons, or low-cost gifts that help promote your business.
  • “Pound the pavement” soliciting people, businesses, or agencies that might be interested in what you’re offering. Smile, be gracious, low-pressure and develop your brand while getting some exercise.

This kind of promotion still works folks! Don’t be a follower, believing all the hype about how “nobody wants to talk to anyone anymore!”

3. It’s all about social presence.

Unlike the last point, which encourages you to be a social flower for your business. This point is about not burning out your mouse, keyboard, or smartphone posting every nuance of your day on social media.

It isn’t all about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., etc…

This is a trend that isn’t likely to fade anytime soon. But everyone’s doing it. Kids, parents, managers, business owners, CEO’s – everyone! Buyers are burnt out with social advertising and it isn’t as immediately effective like it was a year ago.

Find a balance between each of your marketing approaches. Posting every single sale you’re having to Twitter isn’t like hitting a cash button (for most businesses).

If your social presence is established, outsource your method and focus on more offline methods.

If you have no presence whatsoever, find an established SEO/Social company that can do it for you. Focus your time on expansion efforts.

Synopsis for the Coming Year

  • Ease up on technology-based marketing and focus on methods that your less-savvy competitors would never consider (such as the offline tidbits offered in this article). Technology isn’t an unlimited cash stream that gives you permission to sit around the office while the profits roll in.
  • Get out in the public and market your business. If you’re national, do some Youtube/television spots; if you’re local go out and meet some people, make sure yours and your family’s vehicles are painted/stickered-up out to promote your business!
  • Social media isn’t dead, but it isn’t the be-all, end-all.

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