BlueSoft’s Complete Guide to Screwing Up Your Business


As a digital marketing team, our job is to help businesses define their brand, reach out to new leads, and grow. In that role, we see the best and the worst of business practices. Some people have a natural talent for developing thriving businesses. Others seem to want to do everything possible to keep customers at a distance. 

The goal of this blog series is not to shame you into conforming with what we think is best. Instead, we want to point out common weak spots we see over and over again. While these bad habits and practices may not close your business tomorrow, they will ensure you’re not much of a threat to your competition. 

This post will examine several business practices and habits that might be holding you back. In the weeks to come, we will release a more in-depth article on each topic. 

Don’t Have a Plan

Many of our clients can tell us why and how they got into their business. You received professional training and licensing. You may have purchased or leased equipment and space. A lot of work went into getting things off the ground.

But what is your long-term plan? A good business plan often starts with an exit strategy. Are you going to work until you hit social security age? Do you hope to sell the business for a few million in 10 years? Are you an entrepreneur looking to leverage your current business into a new opportunity? All of these are viable options, but they require you to set goals and make decisions. The choices you make today will shape what your next few years look like.

If you don’t have a plan or a vision to work toward, you will spend your time treading water and limit your growth.

Ignore Your SOPs

Think of your standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the flight checklist pilots use before taking to the air. For every project and client, certain things need to happen the same way every time to provide a consistent experience. As you grow, your SOPs will determine your workflow, ensuring that every project is efficient from start to finish.

SOPs also help you as the business owner to establish a company culture. When a new employee comes to work, your operating procedures will teach them your expectations for how they represent your organization. Employee SOPs might include:

  • How to dress for a client meeting
  • For service businesses, client notification protocols
  • For brick-and-mortar businesses, the right way to greet a customer
  • The process of asking for reviews

As a bonus, SOPs make you less essential to the business. Having clear explanations and expectations available to your employees means you can take a day off without the business falling apart.

Don’t Use a CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is essential to building a healthy business. When you first get started with only a handful of clients, it seems easy to keep contact information on your phone. As you grow, it is simply more difficult to keep track of clients on a handheld device. 

A spreadsheet can be a partial solution, but modern CRM platforms provide greater value. Imagine welcome emails that are sent automatically when you input a new lead or customer, or special offers that land in client inboxes on their birthdays or project anniversaries. Imagine knowing in seconds the last time a client communicated with you or ordered a project. A CRM sets you up for an exceptional reputation for customer service.

Failing to use a CRM will give you a reputation for being disorganized and forgetful. But maybe you want to put a cap on your business growth and keep your business organized with your notes app and post-its. 

Forget About Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a pain. There’s no doubt about it. It takes time to process invoices and register payments. But without a clear sense of your finances, it’s impossible to know if you are profitable. 

Many businesses we work with have seasonal financial patterns. Some months are crazy busy, and others are quiet. If you don’t where your finances stand, you may give yourself unnecessary stress during the low months.

Going back to having a plan, a clear view of finances is necessary if you are hoping to sell your business one day. You must be able to state your profitability over the long term to get buyers interested. 

These days, many options for industry-specific accounting platforms are available to keep you organized. There is also no shame in hiring a professional to handle your books if you don’t feel up to the task. On the other hand, if you want to keep living hand-to-mouth, in constant fear of failure or IRS issues, let the bookkeeping slide. 

Treat Customers as a Resource

To put food on the table, you need to make money. And to make money, you need customers. However, if you treat your customers only as a source of profit, you’ll quickly discover that you don’t have enough of either. Unless you’re the only game in town, people will drift to the competition if they aren’t treated well.

Every basic book or article on marketing will tell you that people rarely purchase products. They buy into ideas like being a provider and being respected. Even if you are the most talented and knowledgeable person in your industry, treating customers as a means to an end will ensure poor reviews and low referral rates.

Treat Vendors Like Crap

Every vendor can tell a story of the time they said, “No” to a potential customer. When you first start your business, you feel like you have to say “Yes” to every job. However, you develop a sixth sense that a client is not worth the effort. For our team, it’s often the clients who start by trying to talk down our prices or criticize our process during the discovery session.

If a vendor gives you poor results, then you should complain, leave a bad review, or ask for a refund. However, if your vendors deliver what they promise on time and budget, then treat them with respect. In a variation on the Golden Rule, “Treat your vendors in the same way you would want your clients to treat you.”

Communicate Poorly and Infrequently

A lot of our clients are contractors and entrepreneurs who are used to doing things on their own. They’ve developed their businesses from the ground up and have a right to be proud. 

Their sense of independence can leave them lacking in communication skills. They may not be the best at sharing information or scheduling changes. They may also not check their email or text messages frequently, leading to long delays in responses.

If this sounds like you, you may want to take some time to develop new habits. Create a few designated points in your schedule when you respond to emails and do it every day. This is another place where a strong CRM will help you, allowing you to increase your communication rate without taking as much time.

Don’t Develop Yourself

Personal development is a fundamental part of the BlueSoft culture. We believe that we should always be looking for ways to improve ourselves and our business. Our team members intentionally take time to grow our skills and knowledge in our fast-changing industry.

Plus, it always amazes us how often new learning comes into play. It’s rewarding when you face an unexpected situation and realize, “I was just reading about this.”

If you’re not actively trying to improve your business, you can’t expect it to grow. If your competitors are becoming smarter and more efficient, you will soon be left in the dust. 

Never Admit Your Limits

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. While some people may be more productive than others, there is a limit to what any one person can accomplish. 

If you take on too many projects, something has to give. It might be project quality, customer service, or your health. Whatever the result, it won’t be a positive outcome. If you want to be a miserable entrepreneur, never admit your limits.

However, acknowledging your limits will help you make strategic decisions about your business. If you’re someone who wants to go it alone, you may need to charge more to take on fewer projects while delivering high-quality results. If you can hire a new employee, recognizing your shortcomings will help you find someone who can fill your knowledge gaps.

Don’t Deliver on Your Word

This idea should be a no-brainer, but some business owners are still surprised when it comes up. If you say you’ll do something and fail to do it, you’ll have a poor reputation. 

Clients are always looking toward the final results more than anything else. When you miss deadlines, ignore requests, or otherwise fail to deliver, people notice and don’t forget soon.

Most people are forgiving when an emergency disrupts your operations. However, this is where the SOPs mentioned above come into play. If your employees know how you operate, they can pick the slack if you have to step away. 

Blame It All on Someone Else

Human beings are inclined to blame outside forces when things go wrong. It’s always somebody else’s fault. If the supplier had the parts in stock; if your employees weren’t so lazy; if the clients weren’t unreasonable, your business would be thriving.

Yes, many things are outside of your control, but a great deal of what happens in your life and business is the result of your choices and actions. Don’t blame someone else and dismiss the problem. If you make a mistake, own up to it and make it right. Resolving errors will minimize the damage to your reputation and help you grow as a person and business.

Do any of these topics sound like you? Don’t worry! You probably haven’t screwed up your business beyond repair. Step back. Evaluate the situation, and see how you can improve.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Elevate your business online with BlueSoft, LLC. We specialize in web design and digital marketing strategies tailored to your needs. Ready to ignite your growth? Schedule your free consultation today and let’s turn potential into success!


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