Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.
Have you experience a setback or hurdle that has affected how you do business? Ideally you've learned a thing or two from the challenges you've faced and used what you've learned to improve your business.Here are ten harsh truths about business. These things may not be fun to hear or think about, but they can help you improve your business, starting right now.
1. Not everyone can be your customer -- and that’s a good thing.
It’s okay to say “no” to a potential customer. In fact, it could save you from a lot of trouble. If you change your business model or product/service to satisfy a few prospective clients, you could end up upsetting, or worse, alienating many of your real ones.
2. People will think you’re “wrong” -- but it’s more profitable to be “wrong” than to prove you’re right.
It’s often easier to say “You are right, we are wrong.” Rather than fight with an unhappy customer, it’s almost always best to just refund their money -- even if the issue was their own. In the long run, these people consume so much of your team’s time and energy that it’s more cost effective this way.
3. Not every client/customer will love you -- and that’s okay because you’ll learn a lot from the ones who don't.
Businesses grow from solving customer problems and complaints -- it’s not the “good jobs!” that pressure you to be better (although those are nice). It’s the challenges your team has to work through that teaches your company the important lessons.
4. People don’t trust your brand -- but they do trust the people within it.
Dell’s senior social media strategist, Nazli Yuzak, said it best: “People buy into people more than they buy into products or services.” What I get from this is that businesses can benefit greatly if they encourage their employees to share their experiences at their companies with the world.
5. Everything always takes longer than expected -- but you have to power to set realistic goals and expectations.
Take the time you think it will take to complete a project and double it, heck, even triple it. By setting realistic goals for your business -- rather than aspirational ones -- you can prepare your business for small victories, not disappointments. We all want this.
6. You’ll never be able to accurately calculate the return on investment of your social media efforts -- but that does not mean your efforts are in vain.
It’s 2016 and businesses cannot ignore social media -- even if its value is ambiguous. You can either seize the opportunity with blind ambition or step aside while others pass you by.
7. Not every employee you hire will be the right fit -- but quickly letting someone go can improve your chances of success.
If you have an employee whose philosophies don’t match your company’s, it’s better to depart with them sooner rather than later. It may take getting over a learning curve, but letting people who you know aren’t right for your team go quickly will give your company the greatest chance of success.
8. Your employees aren’t always going to agree with you -- but their input will make your company better.
I hire people who are smarter than I am. If you do the same, it means you won’t always agree with your employees. This is a good thing. It’s better to have constructive conflict than no conflict at all.
9. Your industry will change -- but you have the power to change with it, or before it does.
If you constantly anticipate change, you will be able to keep your business agile and look for opportunities where your competitors might not.
10. Your ideas are likely not revolutionary -- but how you execute on them can be.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. When you focus your energy on producing, rather than pitching, you immediately separate yourself and your business from the rest.
11. Perfection is the enemy of profit -- don’t let your vision get in your way.
Sometimes when you have a specific vision in your head, it’s hard to take a step forward until that vision is realized. But visions can be stifling, so let them go. Instead, have goals your company can work toward. Have you been able to come to terms with any of these ten harsh realities of business? Let us know @shortstacklab.
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