Let’s face it. When it comes to how people can improve a business, sure they get excited, but fixing something that’s broken in a business just isn’t as motivating as implementing new ideas. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to try something new to make money than it is to convince them to fix something that is losing money. Fixing isn’t as exciting as building.
With that in mind, I put together a simple list of 3 of the things that I see most impacting business negatively. These things lose you money without knowing it on a regular basis. Regardless of what it is that you do, these are universal principles on the internet, and if you have a web presence at all, this stuff applies to you, so listen up!
#1 = Your Brand & It’s Reputation
Yeah yeah, you’ve heard it before. Branding is important. Reputation is important. But how is that losing you money? Well there are two parts to a brand:
- Brand Perception (internal)
- Brand Reputation (external)
Brand Perception is the idea your brand carries with it. If you think of Nike, you think athletics and quality. If you think of Apple, you think innovation in technology. If you think of McDonalds, you think really quick and cheap food. Perception is the nonphysical idea that your brand represents.
Brand Reputation is the physical counterpart to perception. Reputation is what people are actually saying about you, not what they are thinking about you. What people post on forums, yelp and Facebook are core components to a reputation. When they mention your brand on a blog post, in a news article or even a video, everything that is spoken or written becomes part of your reputation.
So how exactly is your brand losing you money?
Well, you’re no longer in control of what people say about you. In fact, you never were, it’s just that now you can actually see what people are saying because it gets posted online. The trick is not to try and mass mind control the population. It’s to try and help them and address their concerns. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about what people are saying, the better you can serve them.
If you are not in control of the conversation, and you don’t stay on top of what people say about you on social channels and review sites, you could be losing business. People just want to be heard, and if you deny them that right to them (not privilege), they’ll only get louder. And guess what? You’ll lose money, and it will be all your fault.
#2 = Your Website & It’s Message
One of the most profound yet simple questions I’ve ever asked to in my early days of web design was this: “Why do you want a website?” You’d be surprised at how many people couldn’t answer. You’d probably be shocked at the large number of people who would stare blankly, and rather than answer the question why they wanted a website, they would wonder why I asked the question.
Why is a powerful word, because why defines your purpose. Without a purpose, your website is useless. You have to ask yourself what your website is designed to do. If you don’t know, your current site probably has Website Suck Syndrome.
Without a purpose, there is nothing to guide you in the design and development process. A perfect example is the homepage of most modern sites. Most people have no clue what goes on their homepage. Well, if the purpose of your site is to make sales, a big giant “Buy Now” button will work wonders. If the purpose of your site is to make a social impact, giving visitors a way to share your message right smack in the middle of the homepage is brilliant.
As I mention in Information Agents (my super cool book), a purpose is the only way to gauge success. A toaster is only successful if it can toast bread, because its purpose is to toast bread. If you didn’t know what a toaster was for, how would you know if it was useful?
Your website can be losing you money because its purpose is not clearly defined. If you don’t explicitly make a note that your websites main purpose is sales, you won’t do everything you can to increase your conversion rate. If you just settle on the amount of money your site makes and never try and improve it, you are losing money you could have had if you did the opposite.
#3 = Your Network & Neglect
The old saying “It’s not what you do, it’s who you know” has never been more true. Your network is so incredibly important to your business, and it should be utilized in every possible way. Online, your network can be even larger, and you can stay in touch with friends, colleagues or acquaintances with the click of a button. You can also meet new people and connect others to your network as well. The tools are there, you just need to use them.
But networks aren’t static money-generating machines, they are a collection of real people that are also looking to connect with others. It can all go wrong when you neglect these networks and fail to realize the impact of basic human psychology on your interactions with people.
When you neglect a Facebook account, aaccount, a Linked in page, or any other page with your name on it, you are screaming unprofessionalism. And unprofessionalism means you’re losing money because people don’t think you’re qualified.
Imagine for a second that you heard about one of the hottest restaurants in town, and you want to look it up on Facebook real quick to see what time it closes and maybe get a peek at the menu. You find the page, only to glance over in the corner, and see the listing “7 people like this”…You’re a little confused, so you scroll down and look at the status updates to see what’s going on, only to find that the last time it was updated was over a year ago.
Immediately, neglect of a network channel has cost the business money, because it kills the perception. You were ready to buy, but because the page led you to believe that this particular place was now less popular than you thought it was, you’re now hesitant.
Maintain your networks, because they represent you and your brand. If you neglect them you are single handedly killing a positive brand perception before it even starts. Social proof is powerful, don’t underestimate its influence.
Money Not Earned is Money Lost
You don’t need to implement that genius new innovation in business to increase your profit margins. It’s actually easier to fix what’s broken. What many business owners do is akin to installing a completely new hydration system when a single water pipe starts to leak rather than just replace the leaky pipe. Money you spend when you don’t have to is profit that you are losing.
Stop going after more sales and start thinking like a long term brand. There is power in perception, and if you don’t manage and control how people see you, they will, and you may not like what they come up with.
Tim Ruswick thank you for sharing, this is post is really helpful for me. Actually, im starting my business online, and being a new entrepreneur its really hard for me to manage my business but after reading this i've got a great ideas on how to run my business effectively. Is there any other strategy? Can you post more useful advices?