We’re back to talking about and laughing about some of these pieces of bad business advice that I found on fundera.com. Let’s dive in.
- “Hire As Many People As Possible”
“When business is on the up-and-up, a lot of people will advise small business owners to go on a hiring spree. It’s better to advise not to over-hire, actually.
Having payroll that is too high is not a good thing, and it’s even worse to have employees that aren’t busy during slow seasons. Focus instead on your core group of employees and, when or if you do hire, seek out applicants that have demonstrated initiative and helped solve problems in past, relevant positions.”
– Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.
I totally agree with Deborah on this one. Just because your Colorado client base is increasing or sales is increasing, that doesn’t mean you should panic and hire a ton of people. Having hired employees and interns before, I can tell you it’s a real drag when you have to work hard just to come up with things for them to do. If it’s that much of a struggle to keep them busy, you don’t really need them. The best idea for hiring is hire one at a time at first – after your first hire or two, just monitor the situation for awhile to see if they’re handling the workload just fine or not. If they are a hard worker but always seem to be behind – make another hire. If they are bored most of the day long, time to let them go…you don’t need them.
12. “It’s Okay to Fudge the Facts”
“The worst piece of business advice I received was that it was okay to lie about the details of your business—as long as you can deliver on the service you offer. This person, my employer at the time, would often directly overstate the number of employees that we had in the company, which would always make me cringe. I worked in sales for the company and found myself often having to explain to prospects and new clients why some of the things they had been told by the company’s founder were untrue. This created an atmosphere of mistrust that was hard to overcome.
The better advice would have been to say that it’s a good idea to project a professional image to make your business appear to be well organized and structured, but you shouldn’t directly lie about factual information like number of employees, existing clients and partners and revenue. Emphasize your strengths and downplay your weaknesses.”
– Leo Welder, Founder of ChooseWhat.com.
I cannot believe the audacity of Leo’s former boss. Honesty is always the best policy and lying is never ok…unless it’s a rare occasion where lying might save someone’s life. But other than that, pepper your honest words with love and go with that. It’s never worth it to risk a client or employee’s mistrust, even if you think the ends justify the means.
On the flip side, don’t downplay your business either. If you really feel like you need to make a better presentation, instead of lying about your business or yourself, try changing your wording.
“Oh, we’re just a ma and pa shop – just my husband and I.” OR “We employ SOOOOO many clients I can barely remember their names!”
“My business partner and I have owned our business for 20 years and enjoy working within a select market.” OR “We’re humbled to have started so small and now to have grown to the point where we can employ several people and offer to a good-sized market.”
“We’re just flower shop people.” OR “We own the best flower shop around with the most extravagant clientele ever!”
“As floral artists, we work hard to understand the specific needs of each client so that we can deliver a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to each one!” OR “We love what we do, and because of that passion our reputation has increased to include some really well-known clients.”
It’s all about phrasing – a balance of being proud of your work, but humble about it.
The best way to do this is to create a CFB and practice it over and over. CFB stands for “Challenges, Features, and Benefits” – in that order. Type up the challenges commonly faced by your typical client, the features (products or services) you offer to combat those challenges, and the benefits of those features – in other words the “why” behind what your products/services can do for your clients. Type it up to be no more than 3 minutes in spoken length. After you type it up, memorize it. Once you’ve memorized it, you can give all of that speech, part of that speech, or just one sentence – whichever the opportunity calls for. Having that memorized will save you from business loss - be that as a result of downplaying your skill or an ego attack – either can kill a business.
So – let’s focus on hiring the right amount of people and teaching them (and ourselves) how to accurately and truthfully represent our business!