You’re the business owner! Top dog, right? You make the rules, break them, lead, project the future, create a past, and work daily on building an empire for the future. But what if I were to tell you you may be one of many business owners that make 5 key mistakes? Hard to feel Top Dog after hearing that. But, there’s ways to avoid them and this article will show you how.
Funny expression, isn’t it? Top dog. Know where it came from? Turns out it’s an old sawing term. Back in the day, sawing logs was done over a pit with a two-handled saw. One guy stayed on top and the other was in the pit – both sawing. Thus, the one on top was called the top dog. Now, you’d think the guy in the pit would be the underdog, but he was actually called the bottom dog.
Clearly Top Dog is what all business owners want to be, or Top Cat, if you favor felines. But just for a moment, let’s stay with the dog theme. What if you really were a dog? What kind of dog would you be? Granted, I am admittedly more a fish person than a dog or cat person, but if I had to pick what kind of dog I was, I’d probably say that I’m a mix between Newfoundland and a Labrador Retriever. Newfoundlands are exceptionally strong swimmers and great lifesavers around water. Being a fisherman, I gravitate to water. And Labs are great at leading the blind and make excellent companions. In a way, I’m like the lab in that as a business coach, I help business owners who’re either lost or overwhelmed, or highly successful business owners in need of effective business systems. Either way, I guess this would make me a Newbrador.
According to Cheryl Lock (Pet360.com) the smartest dog is the Border Collie. These herders are not only loyal, but diligent at doing their job well. Next comes the loyal and dependable German Shepherd, capable of sniffing out drugs and hunting down bad guys. They’re, known for their strength and loyalty. The Bloodhound, also known for an incredible sense of smell and tracking, comes next. Got a problem with bedbugs? Calling all Beagles! Their exceptional sense of scents can detect the tiny varmints like nothing else. Not to be sold short, the exceptional Labrador Retriever comes in 5th. Noted, as I said above, for their ability to lead the blind, they make wonderful, loving, people-pleasing pets. And the ever-lovable Newfoundland comes in 6th.
In 7th place is the Belgian Malinois (Shepherds) that are great at sniffing out things like explosives, narcotics, accelerants (for starting fires) and finding missing people. In close place at 8th is the Siberian Husky who is a diligent, hardworking, strong dog that is great at pulling sleds and working hard. The adorable Golden Retriever comes in 9th and is a great therapy dog, gentle, loving, and eager to please, and finally the Australian Shepherd comes in 10th. These herders are great at adapting, are impressively strong, and are very energetic.
Wherever you see yourself, being at the top can be lonely. It’s hard to always have to be the responsible one, and while dogs generally have someone there to give them a treat upon performing well, business owners can often find themselves working 24/7 with little time to sleep, let alone have a treat.
And they’re human. They make mistakes. Here are the 5 key mistakes business owners make and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1. Thinking they can do it all. I worked with a client recently that felt he could not afford a receptionist or a filing clerk simply because money was so tight. I asked him what price he would put on his own personal time, and he stuck a price tag of $75/hr. I was quiet for a few moments with the lights went on. He could hire 7 people for the price he was worth.
Mistake 2. Not having a clear mission and vision statement. I can only equate this to wanting to go somewhere you’ve not gone to before, having no clue how to get there, and expecting your car to find the way. Some business owners have no clue how to get to where they want to go, but expect their employees to somehow know the way. It doesn’t work.
Mistake 3. Not tracking and measuring everything. To track how something is doing, one must have a system in place. Many business owners don’t have effective systems in place and therefore have no tracking system in place. Some are even unsure what should be tracked. Easy. Track everything.
Mistake 4. Hiring the wrong team. Many business owners go for whatever’s the cheapest and as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” On a rare occasion (such as the recent recession), good people are willing to work for next to nothing, just to survive, but for the most part, if you skimp and hire inexperienced, non-dedicated people, you’ll run the risk of getting shabby, below standard work.
Mistake 5. Not investing in their customers. Buying customers can sometimes be as simple adding value to your offers. Added value makes your customers feel special. Of course, having an exception product or service will result in their sharing information about you with friends and family members, resulting in referral customers. Feed your customers what they want and in turn they will feed you by choosing you over your competition.
California business owners and quite frankly all business owners want to be on top, or let’s face it, they wouldn’t be in business. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Another expression from the past. Turns out that in 43 B.C. Roman scholar Marcus Tarentius Varro, upon observing humanity, apparently said, “Even a dog will not eat a dog”. Humans, he noted, destroyed their own kind. The expression became a metaphor for ruthless competition and by the time the Industrial Revolution came around, the phrase, “It’s a dog-eat-dog-world” was a household expression.
And yes, it’s a dog-eat-dog brutally “ruff” world out there. But, now you know how to avoid the 5 key mistakes business owners make, you’ll move from underdog to top dog in no time.