Top 4 Stupid Mistakes that KILL Businesses

As business owners, we face difficult decisions daily, and depending on which action you take, you could be on the road to riches or the short path to the poor house. The problem is, how do you know which decision will be the right one? Sometimes the best way to predict the future is by studying the past; here are five of the stupidest business decisions that have destroyed businesses overnight—all this and more in today’s video.

Hello and welcome to the Steven Carlson Show; I’m Steven Carlson. I am a tech entrepreneur, real estate investor, author, YouTuber, and volunteer paramedic.

Before I get to the topic at hand, I wanted to give you a quick update on #OpenForBusiness, my small business awareness campaign where I will fly a helicopter to all lower 48-states, meeting with small business owners just like you and featuring these outstanding entrepreneurs on this channel. Joining me on part of this flight includes Aubrey Janik, Jamel Gibbs, Mark Moss, Minority Mindset, Investment Joy, Rod Squad, and a few more amazing entrepreneurs who are working on confirming their schedules before announcing their names.

There are still a few spots left if you want us to fly and land the helicopter at or near your office for a quick media appearance and photoshoot. Trust me, local TV and news stations love filming helicopters landing at events. Even if landing at your location is not a possibility, we can still hand out marketing material with your information on it to businesses nationwide. Jump over to my website, www.OpenFor.Business and register your business today.

Skillshare has kindly sponsored this video, more about them in a bit.

Ok, enough of that, let’s get to today’s video. This list is in no particular order, so just sit back and enjoy.

  1. Underestimating your competition
    Sometimes when you are the big dog in town, you underestimate the little pup barking at your heels. History is rattled with examples like Excite losing out on Google. Back in 1999, before “Google” was a verb, the second most popular search engine was Excite, only behind Yahoo! Now, 20 years later, you would be hard-pressed to find many people that remember Excite. At the time, one of Google’s founders, Larry Page, pitched a sale of Google to Excite for a mere $750,000 if the company would agree to replace its tech with Google search tech, according to Inc.com. Excite did not bite and was eventually bought by Ask.com. Today, Ask.com corners less than a 2% share of the search market while Google has more than 60% of the U.S. search market share. Today Google has a market cap of over one trillion dollars; yes, that is with a T; they are in third place as the most valuable companies in the US, behind Apple and Microsoft.

    Even adjusted for inflation, the $750,000 price tag in 1999’s dollars would be approx. $1.2 million today. Not a bad price to purchase a trillion-dollar business.

    This isn’t the only time this has happened, Blockbuster had the chance to purchase Netflix, and we all know what happened there. Netflix is the undeniable winner, and Blockbuster is nothing.

  2. Failing to stay relevant

  3. Do you remember the days before the iPhone? Back when the average person had flip-phones, and the business professionals had Blackberry. At the time, Motorola had a massive market share and was the undisputed market leader. By the time Motorola realized the digital revolution in iPhones, they were already a few steps behind when they released their Android-powered Moto phones. By 2011 Motorola had lost their edge in the market with Samsung taking the lead in the Android devices market and decided to sell their phone division to Google. This was the end of a once-great mobile phone company, and by 2014 even Google kicked it to the curb.

    What caused this? Simply put, Motorola did not understand the marketplace. They knew technology and had exceptional engineers who pioneered the cell phone industry in the 80s and 90s, but they failed to stay relevant to the changing customer demographics.

  4. The trojan horse
    Before Amazon became the de facto online shopping destination for everything, they were a small bookstore trying to get their foot in the door. They had made some significant inroads into online shopping, but they had yet to become the behemoth they are today. At that time, Borders Books had the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S.—behind Barnes & Noble. The company made about $4 billion per year in sales in over 1,200 U.S. bookstores. But in 2001, in an attempt to capture some of the online shopping markets, Borders partnered with Amazon. It ended that relationship in 2007, but it was too late — customers were shopping online more, and Borders' brick-and-mortar stores could not keep up with the sales.

    Why did this hurt Borders so bad? They added legitimacy to online book purchases. Once their customers started to purchase books online, it was a few easy clicks to switch to Amazon, which had a far greater selection of books and other products consumers wanted. Borders was unable to compete and, in the end, failed. They went out of business in 2011

  5. Just being stupid
    Look, I get it; people make mistakes; trust me, I know. I have made tons of them over the years, but sometimes, when a business owner does something so stupid, so idiotic, you just have to take a step back and wonder how they could possibly have made that mistake.

    While writing the script for this video, one of my employees sent me a DM telling me a customer wanted to leave us. Ok, this happens from time to time, luckily not very often, but it happens. Typically, it does not rise to my attention. The staff handles the customer transition gracefully and with respect, not wanting to burn bridges. Bonus tip: Keep customers happy even as they leave, many customers that leave us temporarily come running back once they realize the competitor’s sales team lied to them about the features.

    Ok, I am getting side-tracked here a little, so back to the story. This customer is a car dealership, and he has had a website with my company AutoCorner for about five years now. Never have they had any issues, and overall seemed happy with our service.

    A few months back they hired a new sales manager, and this individual didn’t like our service. He never had any bad experiences with us per se; it’s just that he was familiar with a product from one of my competitors and wanted to use what he was accustomed to using. Ok, that’s fine, I guess, whatever. Either way, we did not know this was happening, but a long story short, the dealership decided to have two websites, one with us and one with the other company.

    Today, the dealership called us up asking us to shut down the website we provide for him; they will stick with the other site instead. We asked them if there were any features the other system provided that we did not have? “Nope, not really,” he said. After a little more discussion, the only complaint was the website we provided him kept ranking better in Google than his other website. When he searches for his dealership in Google; the first five entries are for the website we provided; it wasn’t until the third page of results that he could find his other website.

    Umm??? What?? Let me get this straight.

    The website we provide you is getting better google search ranking than your other website, and you want to shut down ours because ….. why???

    Basically, this business owner is more interested in making his sales manager happy rather than improving the number of leads from possible customers! He is willing to lose out on sales.

    To add insult to injury, he is on our old pricing plan, which gives him our entire system for only $499 per year; the other website he kept is $279 per month.

    Not only is he losing out on sales, but he is also paying an extra $2,900 per year for the honor of being screwed over.

    The stupid thing, this same story I just told you, it happens every few months. Not enough to cause my business any harm, so it really is of no concern to my bottom line.

    Occasionally when someone leaves us there is a valid reason, maybe there is a feature the competitor offers that is so specific to the dealership’s needs it makes sense to move. Occasionally customers sign up with us for the same reason, we have a unique feature their current provider does not. This makes logical business sense. This was not the case here; this individual made a dumb emotional decision rather than a calculated business decision.

    Sorry to be cruel here, but damn, seriously, how stupid must this person be? The truth be told, he will most likely not be in business a year from now. So, we will keep their information in our CRM and mail our sales packet to the next dealership that moves in when he closes his business.

I hope this list gave you a few things to think about. What are your thoughts? Is there something I missed?

And don’t forget to check out www.OpenFor.Business and register your business today. This trip was initially planned to be two weeks; now, it is looking closer to three as we keep adding more and more stops. Make sure you get your location locked into our flight plan before it is too late! Or, if you are a fellow YouTuber and entrepreneur with an exciting story to share, we might be able to squeeze you into a 30-minute flight interview in the helicopter. These spots are very limited. Email or send me a discord if you are interested in being interviewed.

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