10 Surprising Ways You Could Be Killing Your Small Business


10 Surprising Ways You Could Be Killing Your Small Business

Lately, I have been busy with mentoring budding entrepreneurs and I’m loving every bit of it.  This moment in time is bringing back old memories; those moments while growing when I took it upon myself to lend a helping hands to those who desire it.

The best part of mentoring for me, is the ability to instill an incorruptible value in others while also learning at the same time.  Today’s blog post is again inspired by discussions we had on our dynamic online small business forum.  If you are interested in being a part of it, here’s a link just for you.

Back to the point.  As a small business owner like me, I know without an iota of doubt that you are always thinking of ways you could move your business to the next level.  After all, your business is your “baby” and when you decided to start your business, your desire was to see it prosper.

Your world revolves around your business and your business revolves around your world.  But over time, you are not experiencing the kind of growth you’d want it to.

I’ve been there before and it was a hard pill for me to swallow. Prior to realizing that I might be the problem,  I looked elsewhere.  It never occurred to me to look inwards until my mentor pointed it out to me.   No one could have told me I was actually responsible for my own stagnation.  I really didn’t believe all that was wrong was me.  Yes me!  The same might also apply to you and I just wanted to highlight 10 of the most surprising ways I’ve identified by which you could be killing your small business!

1. Going with every wind of change

As an entrepreneur, you are burdened with the task of making decisions that could directly or indirectly affect the growth of your business.  One of such choices might be deciding which new technology to embrace or which social media platform to become active on.  Whatever choices present themselves to you, try and ensure that you don’t change what is already working.  Change is a constant, however, going with every wind of change is a surprising way you might be killing your small business.  Don’t try to be the first one purchasing a new technology neither should you position yourself in such a way that you are the last person to get on board.  Always update your knowledge and be patient when making decisions that affect your business growth.

2. Ineffective pricing

As a small business owner, The sole purpose of a business is to make PROFITS. If you don’t make profits, then you are not running a business; it’s a hobby.  In order to make profits, you have to price your products/services competitively.  When determining your PRICE, don’t just look at the cost price of your product and add a comfortable percentage.  Rather, you should consider cost price plus your overhead costs. Your overhead cost includes but not limited to transportation, communication (phone bills), meals, electricity bills etc.  If you keep pricing your products based on cost price only, you are killing your small business in a way that it might be too late before you realize it.

3. Lack of social media presence

If you think you are too busy to maintain an active social media presence for your business, you might find yourself in hot soup sooner or later.  Think about it; if your customers spend most of their time on social media, you might as well socialize with them there.  Socializing with your customers and interacting with them gives you an opportunity to get to know them up close.  When they know you better, they become your mouth piece and introduce you to their friends.

4. Selling on Credit

If you want to fast track your business death, sell on credit!  Selling on credit is bad for business and as a small business owner, you should not lay this foundation for your business.  If you have been selling on credit, seek counsel on how to stop unless you are ready to shut down.

5. Not following up with your loyal customers

Let’s face it, your loyal customers are the one responsible for 80% of your busness profits, why take them for granted? If you don’t follow up with your best customers or you don’t touch bases with them routinely, they might start to lose interest in patronizing you.  Remember, your competitors are out there trying to woo your loyal customers to their side.  Whenever possible, try looking for ways to keep them loyal.  Give them surprise offer or reward, they will appreciate you for it.

6. Lack of integrity

If you lack integrity in the way you conduct your business,  it will die a sudden death.  You might get away with your lack of integrity at first but when it boomerangs, it’s usually fatal and irreversible.  Rather than making empty promises, it is best if you are plain about your  strengths and weaknesses upfront.

7. Poor customer service

Attitude is everything!  If you don’t treat your customers well, you are killing your business gradually.  People want to know that you appreciate them for choosing you over your competitors. One of the best ways you can show your appreciation is by offering a good customer service to them.  No matter the quality of your products or services, if you do not provide excellent customers service, you are gradually hurting and killing your business without you even knowing it.

8. Failure to keep proper records

One of the mistakes I also made earlier on was failure to proper records. The importance of keeping proper records cannot be over-emphasized.  Keeping proper records ensures that you accumulate sufficient data over time and helps you to identify what part of your business that needs improvement.  It also ensures that when you need the records, you can easily locate them.  If you don’t keep proper records in your business, you are gradually killing your business.

9.  Not conducting market research

Routine market research is a must for every serious business owner.  The needs of your client base change over time so you need to identify their exact needs and ensure that you are meeting those needs in a way that is mutually beneficial.

10.  No marketing

As a small business owner, you should be involved in actively marketing your business to prospects and current customers.  If not, you are like a boy winking at a girl in the dark. He’s the only one who knows what he’s doing while others don’t. If others don’t notice your business due to lack of marketing, it will die a natural death.

Thanks for reading.  I hope it was well worth your time.


Question: Did you find this article useful?  What point struck you the most? What other way could people be inadvertently killing their small business Join the conversation and leave your comments below.  Thank you!

P.S. Join me this Saturday, December 23, 2017, at 4 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, for #OnpointBizChat, a weekly live show I host on my Facebook Page where I share loads of business wisdom. This week edition, I will share tips on customer acquisition. You don’t want to miss it. Join me here!




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  • avatar
    Tami Nieto
    December 18, 2017

    Thank you! These are very important things to remember! I’m like one of those entrepreneur people you mentioned, so these are good to remember. My thing is I haven’t gotten to the point of actually offering services that are used and make me money, so I have a long way to go. Any advice for someone starting out like me? I’d love the feedback.

    • Oluwaseun Akinlotan
      December 18, 2017

      Hi Tami, thanks for reading and for your feedback. I am happy to advise you once I know what you do. Please feel free to email me at seun@theonpointsuccess.com

  • avatar
    Rhoda Akinpelu
    December 18, 2017

    Thanks so much for sharing ma.
    No 8 point got me. I am still behind in my record keeping. What can I do to improve? Can you give me an analog guide? Like a ledger or something. And the format as well.
    Thank You ma.

    • Oluwaseun Akinlotan
      December 18, 2017

      Don’t most of us struggle with record keeping? This year was waaaay better than the last. I’ll share with you ma. Thanks for reading

  • avatar
    January 5, 2018

    Thank you boss lady for this piece. I was on the lots that followed every single trend. But I have improved and have learnt how to focus on things that matters without being distracted. Thanks to OSBS!

    Social media presence is my greatest challenge now. I think I will outsource it. What do you think?

    • Oluwaseun Akinlotan
      January 5, 2018

      It’s my pleasure sis. I know firsthand how easy it is to get distracted. At first, it always seems harmless until you stop by to spend five minutes then end up spending five hours. Time lost cannot be regained so we need to learn how to focus on what’s truly important. As per your social media presence, we can talk about that.

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