Business in some countries in Europe is relatively young. In former communist countries, for example, real private business has been around for a little over 20 years.
In this article, we will make an overview of some major mistakes that we have noticed in our practice that many young European companies make.
Lack of a business plan!
Before You Start a Business – Make Your Business Plan!
Every business starts with an idea. We strongly recommend that you spend a few days writing this idea down! You may not be sure how to write a business plan (learn!), But even a few-page freelance text is better than nothing.
Many people say the business plan is in their heads. We do not want to question anyone’s mental capacity, but we do not share the view that the idea in your head is a business plan. The plan should be in writing and regularly re-read and even updated.
Once written, the plan will help you identify potential weaknesses in your business in the future, as well as analyze them and take action to correct these mistakes.
To confirm the above, we will quote Benjamin Franklin, who said that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”
Companies don’t follow their business plan
We are not sure which is worse – not having a business plan or having and not complying with it.
We have noticed that many business owners go to the extreme to offer services and products that they originally had no idea to offer. This is a classic rookie mistake and / or growth mistake. No one can do everything, but usually, who claims that everything can turn out to be good enough for nothing.
Understand (and write down in your business plan) what you want to do, what you are good at, and do it well! It may take you time (and money), it may well be a total failure. Still, the chances of your business becoming successful in the long run are many times greater than those in which you claim that you can do everything and offer all kinds of services/products that fall outside your remit.
If you are manufacturing furniture, concentrate on it, and do not wonder how to meet the needs of a customer who, in addition to furniture, also needs to reupholster the seats of your car.
Businesses do not offer complete solutions.
The profiling we mentioned above is useful for your business, but not always good for your customers. You should always put yourself in their shoes and offer a complete service that meets their needs.
If we use the above example for a furniture manufacturer, then agree with us that it does not sound good to produce furniture but not to supply and install the furniture.
You may have clients who will want to save money and get and assemble the furniture themselves (although they would probably go to Ikea, not you), but we guarantee you that most would like to get a price for a complete service.
Listen to your customers’ needs and your business will thrive!
Organizations ignore the importance of written contracts.
Offering services and products in the 21st century involves a lot of responsibilities, money, time, and resources. Ever since ancient Rome, people have understood that writing is best for fixing arrangements.
For this purpose, a basic knowledge of trade relations and laws in Europe is required. Often, lawyers, and lawyers, in particular, tend to overcomplicate these written contracts, but in our view, it is better to have an unnecessarily complicated contract than none.
Having said that, we are fully aware that business trust should exist and very often good business partnerships would be more important than one contract clauses, but as long as you create such long-lasting and successful business partnerships, rely 100% on written contracts.
Desire for “absolute” control and keeping all employees “short”
Unfortunately, micromanagement is widespread in Europe. This is what we call the desire of owners and management companies to know and control everything that happens in their organization.
As soon as you have more than 1 client and/or 1 employee, it is appropriate to accept that you cannot know absolutely everything and there will be things that you will not be able to control. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Create a framework of rules and guidelines for your employees, giving them responsibilities, giving them the freedom to work for you and yourself. There will be mistakes! But even the toughest controls on your part will not avoid all mistakes, and the time you spend lounging all over will cost you more than making a mistake.
Read the article Are you a good manager? If you are wondering about this, it’s time to think about your leadership position.
Not to mention the stress and negative emotions that you will cause in your colleagues by constantly peering over your shoulder and obsessive control.
Create a clear framework of rules and policies for your company and let employees follow them. Exercise control and monitoring, but do not crush. It is very similar to monitoring in project management practices. Learn how to do that.
If your employees are confused – Understand the cause of the errors and correct them by creating conditions that do not allow the same mistakes to be made. Finger-pointing and scandals in the workplace are highly undesirable, and punishments are extreme measures that may not always bring you the desired positives.
If you need business advice, need specific case advice, or are looking for new techniques for running and managing your business, do not hesitate to comment below.