How to Turn Your Internet Business Mistakes to Your Advantage

Most if not all entrepreneurs make mistakes on their path to online business success. A difference of attitude is what separates a successful online entrepreneur and one who fails. A successful entrepreneur turns his mistakes into stepping stones that help him get where he wants to go. The other turns his mistakes into stumbling blocks that prevent him from getting anywhere at all. One entrepreneur reacts to mistakes with frustration and defeat, and the other responds with a desire to learn, improve, and move on.

How should you handle it when you make a mistake with your online business? Here is a 5-step approach:

1. Recognize that you have made a mistake, but do not brand yourself as a failure. You probably know all about mistakes as an internet entrepreneur. They are very easy to make! This is especially true if you started your online business as a complete newbie. There are some people who give up after making just one or two mistakes. Do not be one of them!

2. Consider your mistake as an opportunity to learn from it. As soon as you can admit your mistake without letting it get the best of you, you will be able to learn and benefit from it.

3. Study where you went wrong. What was the nature of the mistake? Was your mistake due to your carelessness, lack of research, or was the trouble caused by something beyond your control?

4. Figure out a solution to your problem, or start again from scratch. What can you do to fix the mistake or prevent it from happening again?

5. Teach others how to avoid the mistake. Once you get it right, use the experience as part of your team training. This will strengthen your impact as a trainer and strengthen your team. Use the lessons you learn from your mistakes as material for e-books, videos, lectures and courses, and build up a following among other online entrepreneurs.

The key to handling mistakes is to adopt the attitude of “live and learn.” Maintain a positive attitude through the inevitable setbacks and remember what Napoleon Hill wrote:

“Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.”

If you can learn from your internet marketing business mistakes and keenly seek out the “equivalent advantage,” you will find that your online business will continue to move forward and grow stronger.

So, adopt a positive attitude towards your mistakes when they inevitably occur. Do not make excuses or seek to avoid responsibility. Step up to the plate and find out what you can learn from whatever business mistake it is that has been made and seek out the “equivalent advantage” that the business mistake brings with it.

Small Business Mistakes That Cost You Customers

In business, first impressions are everything. If you fail to meet or exceed a customer’s initial expectations, there is a strong likelihood that you will miss the sale. It therefore makes sense to look at every touch point of your business from the perspective of a potential customer to overcome any potential problems.

By putting your customer hat on, you’ll be able to see the areas of your small business that require work. The list below details ten common small business mistakes that if not handled correctly, cause roadblocks for customers. If a business owner fails to consider these areas, a customer’s confidence in their business is questioned. If a customer sees that you are not maintaining your business in one particular area, chances are your other areas are below average as well.

Take careful note of these ten areas and ensure your small business excels in every one.

Ensure the Path to Your Door is Neat

When customers are walking to your door, do they need to beat back a jungle? Are there boxes scattered beside a nearby wall? Can customers see a pile of junk? These are all scenes that negatively impact on your business’ image. Ensure that the front path to your business is impeccable. Sweep it in the morning and at night. Clean away any junk as soon as possible. By staying vigilant you can ensure your business is as welcoming as possible, setting the standard for your products, services and future interactions.

Ensure Your Signage is Still in Pristine Condition

Take a look at your signage. How is it holding up? The way a business treats their signage speaks volumes about how it values itself and its customers. Over time, nature will sap the shine and colour from every sign. This is such a gradual process that you won’t even notice the colour fading. Before you know it your faded signage has been up for months or even years without you realising it’s second rate. You must realise that every sign has a use by date. Either take photos of your signage every few months to compare, or ask a trusted advisor whether your signage is still in pristine condition. If you fail to upkeep good signage, your first impression will be second rate.

Ensure Your Windows are Clean

Having fingerprints on your windows is a no no. Dirty windows give the perception of a dirty business. Ensure you set up procedures to regularly clean all your windows and door handles. Customers won’t notice how clean your windows are. But if they are dirty, they’ll notice instantly.

Don’t Conduct Cheap Repair Jobs

Fancy yourself as a bit of a ‘Do It Yourself’ hero? That’s fine at home. However this attitude usually won’t cut it in the world of small business. If you seek a quick fix with some duct tape or A4 paper, the results will reflect poorly on your business. Ensure all repairs and changes are implemented professionally and with a quality finish. Don’t just cross out unwanted items on your menu, reprint the whole menu. Don’t personally amend your opening hours signage, have them redrafted. You need each customer to be assessing the quality of your products and services, not why your number ‘6’ is a different font to the rest of your sign.

Ensure You Have the Right Lighting

The lighting in your business must reflect the mood and ambiance of your brand. Some natural light is generally preferred, as this gives your business a visible organic connection to the outside world. Plus natural light is often more effective. Bright natural light is often preferred in stores with large product ranges, so customers can read all the necessary particulars. Dimmed lighting is preferred in businesses that wish to entice a relaxed mood, such as a massage parlor. Ensure your business has lighting that will enhance the experience for your customers.

Ensure Your Business Smells Appropriate

Did you know that smell is the strongest trigger of memory? There is a whole science behind how a store should smell to encourage people to either spend more time browsing, or buy more items. Obviously, the best smell will vary between different business categories. But one thing is for sure – an offensive smell will negatively impact the buying experience for your customers. Yes that’s right, the way your business smells could cost you a sale. It is critical that you control odors in your business. This includes odors from machinery, food and staff. Create a barrier for smells by regulating usage, places and times.

Ensure Your Bathroom is Clean

At home, when visitors pop over unannounced, the phrase ‘Can I use your bathroom?’ strikes fear into our bones. You immediately wonder if your bathroom is clean or if there are adequate supplies. The last thing you want to do is offend a friend.

And it should be that way in your business too. You bathroom area must be kept clean, stocked, private and smelling perfect. Customers aren’t enthusiastically volunteering to use your bathroom, they’re using it because they have to. You need to ensure their experience is as pleasant as possible. Set a bathroom inspection time at regular points during the day. I prefer first thing, at lunchtime then at the end of the day. If possible, have a separate staff and customer bathroom so that staff can access facilities without delay.

Ensure Your Apparel Matches Your Business

Do you wear a uniform or casual clothes? It’s your call. Just choose clothes that reflect your small business personality and customer perceptions. As always, first impressions are everything, so ensure that your clothes are in good condition, clean and don’t stink of sweat. The clothes you wear should effortlessly blend into your storefront, making you a clear store native. If you wear a poor choice of clothes, customers will be critiquing your outfit at the expense of considering your products and services. Again, you want the eyeballs and minds of your customers to be focused on your products and services, not on your fashion sense.

Ensure Your Temperature is Appropriate

When setting the thermostat inside your business, your customers come first and your staff come a close second. Ensure that the temperature you set is appropriate for the circumstances and the duration of time they will spend inside your store. If you set the right temperature, your customers will happily spend time in your store. The more time they spend, the more purchases they make.

Ensure Your Background Music is Appropriate

I bet you have a favourite musician. I bet you play their music at home or in the car. Before you play their music at work or on hold, ask yourself whether their music is appropriate. Does it reflect the values and ambiance of your business? Chances are it may not. It’s therefore essential to make music choices that will reflect the customers you are targeting. Do not leave the music jukebox up to your staff. They will likely choose songs that they love and in the process possibly alienate your customers. Ultimately the music and the volume you play it at should work in harmony with all the other senses of your business.

By combining a plan to address these ten key areas with a sensible small business plan, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance for long term success.

Five Business Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

You want to be successful in your business but feel you aren’t moving fast enough or are stuck at your current revenue level. Maybe the problem isn’t the business or lack of opportunity. You may be unconsciously sabotaging your success with one of these small business mistakes: Fear of change, Lack of focus, Going it alone, Not playing to strengths, Thinking small.

Fear of change. That big contract or client looks attractive but is going to take you out of your comfort zone. You won’t have the safety and security of having a track record with that size client. You may have an unconscious fear that you are not totally prepared to handle the new responsibilities or have the skills to succeed in the job. Conquer this by letting go of your current identity and creating a vision of yourself as successful with this client. Reflect on the successes that you’ve had and how much you’ve learned with your current clients. Recognize that you have the skills to meet the new challenges.

Lack of focus. You don’t have a business plan or marketing plan and accept each client as they come to you. This gives you an excuse to complain about the quality of client that you’re getting and becomes a reason for not making your revenue goals. To conquer this mistake, take ownership of your business plan and marketing plan. Write your business goals down and create a marketing map which identifies who your ideal clients are and what you need to do each month to achieve your revenue and business goals. Each new client should support your long term business and revenue goals.

Going it alone. This fear masquerades as false confidence. You think you know everything that is required to achieve your goals so you don’t ask for help or you are embarrassed to ask for help. The danger of not asking for assistance is the loss of objectivity as well as missed opportunities. Leveraging the wisdom of others help you accelerate your learning. You don’t re-invent the wheel. To conquer this one, build a support team inside and outside of your company, to include trusted mentors, coaches and business advisors who will give you constructive feedback, information and recommendations.

Not playing to your strengths. We each have aspects of our business that we love and are experts in and other areas that we don’t like or have average skills. It’s a mistake to offer clients solutions based on less than average skills where we have no desire and perhaps no ability to become an expert. Rather, focus on those areas that you are really good at and become known for them. Be the person that everyone thinks about and asks for to handle that particular job. It may seem counterintuitive but the more you specialize in a narrow set of solutions, the more sought out you will be and the more you can charge for them.

Thinking small. This one is a variation on the Fear of change. The author and lecturer, Marianne Williamson says “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

To conquer this fear, look at the leaders in your industry. Watch what they do and how they do it. You’ll probably discover a few things that you do better than them. Perhaps it’s your ability to provide more personalized attention or perhaps there are aspects of a solution that they overlook but that you include in what you offer. Take what you learn and highlight that when you are targeting that ‘big fish’.

To conquer the fears of success, acknowledge both the positive and the negative consequences of playing a bigger game. Think about how your business will be transformed if you are successful. Get guidance and support from mentors and coaches. Most importantly, identify a business goal, actively work towards it and measure your success.

Business Mistakes Other People Make – How To Learn From Them

Undoing the damage caused by business mistakes is often difficult, which is why it’s best to avoid them in the first place. It’s hard to generalize, of course, as it depends on your business and the mistake you’ve made. It’s always painful, though, to have to clean up a mess that you realize could have been avoided. Even a fatal mistake is a learning experience that can help you if you ever decide to start over again. As long as you have the right attitude, you can always try again with some extra knowledge under your belt. With internet businesses, you can almost always rebuild them, as this doesn’t even require any capital. If you’re smart, you will start off by studying the kind of mistakes other businesses have made and learn the lesson painlessly.

If your work habits are sub-standard, nothing else you do in your business is going to be able to compensate for this. In saying that, there are an abundant amount of ways to display poor work customs such as lack of discipline, for instance. The leading step is to ethically look at how you devote your work day and realize what you are really achieving. Also, you can create a schedule such as working for 60 minutes without disruption and breaking for ten minutes. Don’t just assume your work habits are good, as the only thing that matters is what you’re really doing with your time. This is really the most fundamental part of building a business, though many courses and books don’t cover it much. Self-improvement is one of the most popular categories of product.

There are endless videos, books, magazines and so forth. Yet, many of the biggest customers for these products still feel that some piece of the puzzle is missing. Many of the people who order these products don’t implement what they’ve learned. There’s also the issue of consistency, as many people don’t stick with a method long enough to see lasting results. Another common thing is people know they can improve, but they’re too lazy and don’t want to make the effort – or it’s not instant enough. To make lasting changes, you have to be ready to commit yourself to the self-improvement process for the long haul. No matter if you feel like you’re regressing certain days, just make sure to achieve better results tomorrow.

So many people actually believe they have the skills necessary to do certain business and marketing activities, when in reality commonsense is not enough to handle what needs to be done. Here’s a classic example of this that’s been repeated by countless numbers of IM marketers. Someone hears about article marketing, and they think it’s easy. All they have to do, they think, is submit articles to a directory after writing them. Obviously, there is much more to article marketing, something that most people are aware of if they have any experience.

There are good and horrible ways to write articles. Effective headline writing is something that you should focus on in order to get the maximum amount of views. Despite being familiar with this type of marketing, you can always learn something new, so keep that in mind. When you first set up an online business, you will almost certainly make a few mistakes. Do your best to find trustworthy resources where you can learn the basics. Some quality internet marketing books or courses are a worthwhile investment. Then get started and be small about it and build on it. Any mistakes can be considered part of your education, and you’ll never have to make them again.