Here are some cold, hard facts about small businesses in the United States today: two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years, while half of existing businesses survive up to four years. Encouraging, isn't it? I'm not trying to scare you, but I do want you to wake up and smell the coffee. So what can you do about it? Learn from others. And one of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make is that they hyper-focus on the details, and forget about what the customer really wants!
Entrepreneurs are often driven by daily tasks. Think back to the time you last had a bad experience at a restaurant. You ordered your steak, medium rare – it arrived well done. You threw a fit and called in the chef to explain that you preferred your steak red and oozing with blood; always have and always will. He headed back to his kitchen where he whipped up (gasp) yet another well-done steak. Your plea was lost somewhere in the smoke. In short, the chef was not focused on what you really wanted!
Our deepest sympathy- to you and that cow that lost two ribs for nothing.
One of the biggest missteps you can make is to overly engage yourself in the daily operations of your business. Perfunctory routines need to be supervised, no doubt, but try to see the big picture here. All the money you have spent is all driven by the aim to satisfy your customers. As a business owner, you need to understand the needs and desires of your customers. If you only focus on putting out dish after dish and not on the whole experience, your customers will leave your restaurant. Chances are they will not be making a second visit. And they will tell all their friends.
As an entrepreneur, you must constantly work at improving your products or services. Your products can boast the most unique features, but high demand is only ephemeral. It won’t be long before replications of your product are sold on the market, and at a cheaper price. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but I’m sure you will be looking to spill some blood if it happens to you.
There are also a plethora of service-oriented companies out there. Customers choose to go with the one they feel most comfortable with: companies that treat them like royalty. If you are competing in an industry that is very service specific, you might want to up your game by providing an enhanced, all around experience for your customers. (Like, for example, the hair salon that gives you a shoulder massage with every cut, serves sparkling water and scones while you're under the dryer, and knows your name when you come in for your next appointment.)
Lastly, running an operation isn’t a walk in the park. Even to the best of your efforts, you might sometimes find yourself bogged down by internal troubles. Perhaps your very competent accountant might be looking to seek greener pastures, or your triple threat of an assistant manager needs some time off work to discover herself. Suddenly, you find yourself shorthanded. Operational problems affect your business in a very direct manner. Be sure to tackle these pressing issues immediately.