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Some of the most valuable advice in business comes from mistakes others have made. When you pay attention, you learn not only what to do, but what not to do. You need to know what pitfalls to look out for, and what practices you have espoused that spell doom for your small business. Here are five of the quickest ways to run your business into the ground.

Don’t understand your product

The easiest way to sabotage your small business is to be fuzzy about what value you’re offering. When you’re unable to define your product or service in terms of its benefits, you’ll have a hard time showing potential customers its value; and it’s unlikely you truly believe in it. If you can’t articulate the challenge your target market faces, and how exactly your product or service provides a solution, your business will be dead in no time.

Don’t focus on people who need you

If you think your business serves everybody, you’re making a mistake. Beyond knowing what problems you offer a solution to, you also need to be sure that you identify the audience it’s very important to. If you want to wreck your business, ignore this and focus on an audience that can easily do without your product or service: they’re unlikely to pay what you’re actually worth, and in no time you’ll be overextending yourself trying to prove your worth, while your bottom line suffers.

Don’t learn how to sell yourself

Your answer when asked “So, what do you do?” can be a minus or a plus to your business. Do you just state your designation or title, or say you’re the CEO of Aay Bee Cee Limited? If yes, you’re effectively closing the door to the right customers and clients who need what you’re offering. For one thing, there is no guarantee that the person you’re speaking to understands what your designation entails. When you tell them how you fit in their lives and how you help people, you are selling yourself without being “salesy”. If you want a stunted or struggling business, make no attempt to practice your pitch.

Pay no attention to your development

Embrace mediocrity. Instead of aiming to be absolutely fantastic at what you do, settle for being good. Don’t do what is necessary for growth. Don’t get the training, mentorship and certifications you need. When you are competent, your name will be mentioned among people who appreciate and can pay for quality. When you build competence, you boost confidence, which enables you to call the shots when it comes to choosing the right clients who will pay well. So if you want your business to take a backseat to your competitors’ and you want to be in a position where you’re desperate for whatever crumbs are thrown your way, don’t build competence.

Don’t value yourself

When you don’t know your worth, even after doing everything right you can still sell yourself short and give away your gold for cheap. This inevitably leads to you attracting the wrong clients, and soon your entire clientele will be wrong for you. And then, eventually, you have no business. If you want a successful, thriving business that customers love to patronize, you know exactly what to do.

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This article was first published on 23rd August 2018


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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