Every month, 543,000 businesses are started in America, and each month even more close down. One of the main reason most of these new businesses collapse is because they lack well-defined goals and objectives. In some cases, the business might grow too fast, and in others, the business doesn’t successfully market itself.
Of course, it’s impossible to make every business mistake on your own. Sometimes, it’s best to learn from the mistakes of others. By examining how business owners have failed or taking advice from those who have successfully navigated the waters of entrepreneurship, you’ll have a better chance of making the right moves with your business.
Website Design Gone Wrong
Strong web design is critical: without it, you run the risk of leaving a bad first impression with site visitors. In fact, there’s an entire website dedicated to showing examples of bad website design. One such example is a company called Penny Juice that sells a fruit blend concentrate juice to childcare centers, preschools, and daycares. The company’s landing page is full of quotes throw haphazardly together. Furthermore, the colors, font, and cluttered and clumsy. One individual redesigned the Penny Juice website to demonstrate the potential of solid design.
Great website design isn’t just about looks, either. For example, utilizing responsive web design is not only appealing to the eye, but effective for SEO purposes as well. Roughly 47% of people expect a site to load in about two seconds. Furthermore, about 40% of people will leave if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Writer David Bowen found that there’s a lot you can infer by taking a look at a company’s website — including their current financial status. He refers to this process as Web phrenology, and uses it to examine the sites of major companies. As Bowen stated, prior to such consumer reliance on the Internet, businesses could control popular opinion through public relations. Now, your website is the door to who you are. It’s because of this that companies like IBM and General Electric have undergone major redevelopments over the last few years. To help develop a website that sticks, companies of all sizes should work with web design agencies to align them ahead of competition. “Websites are now often times the first impression people have with businesses. While a company might have a good onsite operation, if the services or products aren’t represented through the website in a way that’s visually impressive and easy to navigate, those visitors will likely turn to your competitors,” notes Ashley Ringaman, an art director for the web design team at Rocket55.
Social Media Backfires
In the age of social media, your business is expected to have a consistent presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are fundamentally changing the way we interact with the customers. Unfortunately, many organizations – large and small – don’t realize the holding power of these channels. They make huge mistake that turn out to be big social disasters and can impact the customer-business relationship.
The restaurant chain iHop is a great example of this. In an effort to be funny with food puns, the restaurant made a sexist tweet that people were not happy with. It featured an image of a pancake with the caption, “Flat, but has GREAT personality.” Another aspect that needs to be carefully monitored is making sure that if you own a business in the food industry, it does not encourage animal cruelty. Pen company Bic made a similar mistake when they posted a photo as a part of a “Bic For Her” campaign encouraging women to “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man.” Brands need to keep in mind that we live in a generation that’s much more socially-conscious than previous generations. They care about being politically correct: sex, gender, and race equality issues are all big topics today.
Terrible Customer Service
The customer support service is the backbone of any organization. According to the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey, 76% of consumers view customer service as the true test of whether the company values them. Who you bring on board to manage those customer relationships can make or break the business. It’s important to remember that often, these customer support teams are the only point of contact for customers, and therefore they shape the opinion of your brand.
There are many big-name brands who have a reputation for bad service. Cellular company AT&T for example, was listed number one on the list of companies with the worst customer service. American Airlines is also known for their bad customer management, and have been in headlines over the past couple of months for several incidents involving passengers. One look at the ways some of your favorite brands have hurt their customer reputations will demonstrate how powerful customer service actually is.
When it comes to media advertising, the rules are very similar to social media. Know your audience, and be socially aware. Countless advertisement failures have stemmed from deviation of those two core rules. Small businesses and global corporations alike have suffered from ad fails.
Take Pepsi’s protest ad, for example, featuring Kendall Jenner. The ad shows Kendall Jenner leaving a photoshoot to join a protest that’s divided by cops and protesters. To unite the two groups, she simply hands the cop a can of Pepsi. The reason this ad failed and was met with a barrage of harsh criticism is because it belittles real protests happening today, such as Black Lives Matters.
If done correctly, advertising can help any business experience great growth. Companies need advertising and viral content that can resonate with the audience. To combat the risk of failure, many ad agencies hire creative directors, artists, ad firms, and marketing agencies to help manage their advertising image. Equip your organization with a foolproof plan to avoid all the fatal errors mentioned above and success will come rolling in.