Friday, July 12, 2013

The Seven Deadly Business Sins

The Seven Deadly Business Sins

Anyone running a business is responsible for seven major functions. Leaving any one of them out could spell disaster for your business. Learn about these seven areas so you can avoid the Seven Deadly Business Sins!

I suppose no one told you that you had to be good at every aspect of business to run one successfully? No one told me either. As a result, over the last 13 years, I have taken vast numbers of classes and read innumerable books to learn about business. Most people think that if they are an expert in what their business delivers, they can run a successful business. As a result, many excellent hair stylists, artists, cooks and other professions end up out of business and broke because they didn't know enough about marketing or sales or some other business topic. 
I don't want you to fall into this trap. The good news is that there are only seven major areas in any business. Only seven. Not 1,000, not even 500. Only seven. If you can master these seven areas and what they are supposed to do in your business, you can be successful. And you can take your talent for cutting hair, making meatballs or arranging flowers to a successful level. 
Without further ado, here are the seven areas and the seven sins to avoid:
1. Strategic Planning
   You may have a business plan or a marketing plan, but are they all integrated? Do you know exactly what size you want your business to be in five years? Do you have the policies and procedures in place to get there? Have you planned out what positions to hire? If not, you might be weak on strategic planning. 
DEADLY SIN #1:  No strategic planning. 
2. Human Resources
 Human Resources includes all the steps you have to take with employees, from recruiting them to onboarding them and training them, even including where and how they receive email and your company protocol for communication. Anything that involves people is in this area. People are so important that hiring them brings you more capacity and therefore more money. And your business won't expand without them. So you have to plan to be constantly growing where people are concerned. A wise business woman once told me, "If your business isn't growing, it's shrinking. There is no middle ground." True.
DEADLY SIN #2:  Not hiring continually. 
3. Marketing & Sales
Many a business owner cries in their coffee over lack of sales, but they have no idea how marketing and sales work together to generate leads and provide opportunities to expand. Most people I have met don't know the definition of the word marketing. Just as an exercise, I challenge you to look it up to make sure you do know. Marketing is what pulls in the majority of your income by providing leads to business. Don't neglect this vital area. 
DEADLY SIN #3:  Not understanding marketing and sales.
4. Finance
You don't have to be a blazing financial wizard to succeed in small business. But there are two components that seem to matter most:  1. accurate accounting, 2. tax planning. If you have a good bookkeeper who can keep your files in order, you are more likely to be organized about your cash flow and not run into a crisis. And a good accountant can help you plan out how to save money in taxes, a welcome relief for small business owners. 
DEADLY SIN #4:  Disorganized finances. 
5. Operations
This is the part of your business that delivers your product or service. The biggest mistake business owners make is not having this aspect thoroughly planned out in advance. A project management function that plans out your business for the next 90 days or beyond will do worlds for your business volume. Although there are many other challenges in an operations division of a company, this challenge is the most common. 
DEADLY SIN #5:  Poor future work planning.
6. Quality Control
Some businesses I work with didn't even have a quality control function when I walked in the first time. Without it, you will be missing information on how your customers like your product, what they like best about it and how you can improve. You will also be missing testimonials from clients or customers. If you don't have a quality control function, put it there now. Even if you have to do it yourself. Send out surveys to your past customers, or just talk to them directly. Anything is better than nothing in this area. 
DEADLY SIN #6:  No quality control on your product or service.
7. Business Development
If you are always thinking of new ways to get customers or new avenues for business partnership, your business development is strong. Most small business owners don't think creatively for new partnership avenues or referral sources. Example:  A sign shop needed new business and found that a key city council member was in charge of updates and renovations to local buildings. The sign shop got the list of local buildings and soliticted customers from that list. Just like that, 10 new customers. Are you thinking creatively about new avenues to get customers? Seminars? Workshops? Local connections? If not, you might be missing out on huge possibilities. 
DEADLY SIN #7:  No creativity on finding new business. 
If you are committing more than one of the seven deadly sins right now, get a plan in place to fix it as soon as possible. 
Wishing you a sin-less business!


  1. This is great. I don't run my own company -- I'm one of thousands of managers in a huge tech company. But I think every manager has to balance these "care-abouts" to be truly successful and promotable.

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