When you first start in business, people will offer you all sorts of advice. Left, right and centre people will come out of the woodwork and all of a sudden become an expert on business even if they have no experience to back them up.
Some of the advice can be brilliant, it can really open your eyes up to aspects of business, development, finance or marketing that you just hadn’t thought about – others, however, can be terrible resembling something you would read in a fortune cookie on a Friday night.
Below are the top 5 worst pieces of advice given to businesses.
- ‘You have to be cheaper than your competitors’
A lot of businesses fall into this mindset when starting their business up. While it can generate interest, and bring in new customers in the short term, profits will inevitably be hard to come by in the long run.
Many companies feel pressured into putting their prices unrealistically low to compete against bigger, more established companies. Attracting new custom is important, but you also have to make money to continue and grow.
An introductory low starting price is a great way to do this, however, when your customer base is established, think about putting your prices up to make the money your product/service deserves.
- ‘Social Media is free marketing’
Social media is free to sign up to but it can take a lot of time and effort to manage correctly. While you can get established on social media (and by all means you should) without spending money or investing into adverts, the sheer amount of time it takes to manage can end up costing your company in the long run.
From developing fresh content to talking to customers, social media requires nonstop commitment once you get the ball rolling and can be from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. Unless you consider your time (or the time of your employees) worthless, then there’s an obvious weighty cost involved with managing and being on social media.
- ‘Hire the people you know’
Hiring your friends in certain situations can be the right move, but these generally don’t involve business.
Hiring decisions should be made based on the role you have not the people you know; you could be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole by hiring friends, family or previous employees.
You also have to keep in mind if things start to go wrong for the business, letting a friend go can be a lot harder than someone you have hired for a specific role. You could very easily end up keeping your friends on for longer than needed, for reasons not linked to the business which results in damaging your business further.
- ‘The customer is always right’
A popular saying that I’m sure everyone in business will of heard – meant to encourage people to work hard to try to accommodate every customer and their needs. While customers are massively important to the success of your business, they’re not always right.
Constantly giving in to a customer’s demands or giving discounts or money off because a customer wants or deems it worthy can damage your brand and your profits will eventually take a hit.
There are some customers out there who are 100% correct and things can and will go wrong for some customers – but on the flipside, there are also customers out there who know when and how to complain. It’s up to you to separate the two.
- ‘Give Up’
It’s very hard to succeed in business and to be blunt, most don’t. If people gave up then a lot of businesses that are market leaders simply wouldn’t exist.
Giving up means all the hard work you have done previously goes to waste. Never let others tell you to give up and if your business isn’t successful, consider all aspects before thinking about giving up everything you’ve worked for.