These are the top fifteen stupid business practices that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I know you’ve probably seen some of these and more, please take a minute and let me know in the comments the stupid ones you’ve seen.
- Go without adequate sleep for months on end. This used to be called “burning the candle at two ends”. What would happen if you burned a candle at two ends at once? Well, it would burn itself out, wouldn’t it? If you want to be successful in business, or in life for that matter, you need a good night’s sleep. Preferably in a pitch black room, at least two hours before midnight and eight hours a night. You aren’t going to be worth beans if you go night after night after night on two hours sleep, some nights not sleeping at all, and sleeping six hours on Saturday night. Because you’re so sleep deprived, you’re going to piddle around for hours doing nothing while thinking you’re doing lots of important things. Eventually you’ll become so exhausted that one day your body will rebel and you’ll sleep 24 hours straight. Then get really angry at yourself for sleeping. Read Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival to learn more.
- Act like you’re an employee, not the business owner. You need to be responsible for your own bank account and your own credit card. Don’t go spending money willy-nilly like you’ve got millions of dollars worth of credit and tons of money coming in. If you were an employee your credit card would be removed from your hands and you’d be fired without notice.
- Neglect to bill your customers in a timely manner. When you finish the job, give the customer a bill and wait for them to write you a check. If they aren’t home, leave the bill on the counter. Call the next day and ask them if they got the invoice. If you must mail the invoice, call a week later and make sure they got the invoice.
- Take jobs anywhere, even 100 miles away. Sometimes this works out if it’s a guaranteed one day job and the customer knows they will be paying for a trip charge, but otherwise it’s guaranteed to eat your net profit.
- Listen to everyone’s sob story. Everyone’s got one and you’re never going to make a dime if you let every single sob story get to you. Even those little old ladies know how to work the system.
- Back down on your price. They agreed to the price and now they need to pay it. It doesn’t matter if they suddenly want to pay cash and they don’t want to pay taxes. You are an honest business owner and you collect tax for the state and pass it on. Yes, you are allowed to back out the tax, but then you end up cutting into your net profit.
- When you lose one employee, don’t hire a replacement. Instead, expect your staff to pick up the loose ends. Even the big business owner making the big bucks should answer phones all day long instead of hiring someone to do the same job for $8 an hour. Don’t spend your time and expertise figuring out how to make more money, just become the company switchboard operator. Then when another rat jumps ship, do the same thing! Expect everyone to pitch in and take over that job. We all know that person wasn’t doing a darn bit of anything anyway so let’s all just absorb the various jobs until we each are wearing fifteen hats. This will totally boost employee morale. Also sometimes let it slip that payroll might not be on time. That will really make everyone pleasant to know such things in the current economy.
- Take on new contracts, but don’t tell anyone what they entail. Let everyone guess as to what needs to be done to meet the stringent requirements. Or, better yet finally tell everyone two weeks after the contract was accepted their new duties that they should have been doing the last two weeks and now everyone has to scramble and work double time just to get caught up.
- Allow your tax auditors to come in two weeks ahead of the agreed upon appointment even though your accountant isn’t ready. This will guarantee to make her have a nervous breakdown and then you won’t need to use that stupid electronic accounting system after all.
- Upgrade something that doesn’t need to be upgraded. Your desk is just fine. There’s no need to spend the better part of a day selecting a brand new desk when you already have one that works well and is in fact quite nice.
- Share details with your employees that they don’t need to know. The boss’ job is not to gossip, if an employee hears something from another employee that was said only to you in confidence, it not only dispels any trust that your employee had in you, but it demeans their confidence in you to lead and be someone who can manage the company well.
- Stay in your office with the door closed. While it’s nice to be trusting, it’s also prudent to be aware of how your employees are performing their jobs. Most people needs boundaries and it’s your job as the boss to establish them.
- Never punish anyone. First, talk about this person behind their back about how they are screwing up but never speak to them directly, then one day with no warning, just fire them. This will guarantee that everyone else will be in a panic wondering if they are next. This will make for an awesome work environment.
- Never fire anyone. Just let them keep working for you and doing nothing but waiting out for retirement. Come on! At least make them answer the phone!
- Make a decision that your employees disagree with and then freak out when that decision doesn’t work out. “Oh God, this cheap software program isn’t working right! Someone fix it!”
Okay, it’s your turn. Share in the comments the stupid business practices you’ve seen in your lifetime.