What’s the Biggest Mistake to Make in Business?

I’m sure you’ll agree there isn’t really one biggest mistake to make in business, but bungling your first impression has got to be in the top three, hasn’t it?

Let’s say you had two businesses to choose from. You’ve read positive reviews for both, they’re both in your price range, they both look good. You put in an enquiry. Are you more likely to go with the one that gets back to you in ten minutes or the one that gets back to you in 20 minutes?

And this isn’t about what you think, but about how your customer feels. Research has shown that people are A LOT more likely to go with the one that gets back to them in ten minutes.

This means the way your business handles initial enquires could make a HUGE difference to your bottom line. In particular, I’m talking about when new customers call your business.

 And before you think, ”We’re all sorted, thanks,” . . .

I recently saw a speaker at an event. The speaker knew how important this is. He also knew everyone present would think it doesn’t apply to them. He called people, live, from the stage. Ten people and seven of them didn’t answer. One answered from her seat!

You might be thinking “Of course not, they were at the event”, but their customers can’t have known that. They just feel unloved and went straight to a competitor.

You might still think this biggest mistake in business doesn’t apply to you to you, so let me explain how it might.

I know from speaking to – and calling – thousands of businesses that most have no idea they’re missing phone calls.


But my business definitely doesn’t miss any calls?

This kind of assumption is probably actually the biggest mistake in business. Everybody thinks things don’t apply to them, so to be positive you have to have evidence.

Are you relying on people to monitor this? Being told every call is answered isn’t good enough; you need to know it’s happening. For that, you need a well thought out, automatic system for tracking every phone call. Then you need to review that regularly, listen to call recording, the length of calls, how long are people waiting, what’s the drop off rate?

And, it’s not just about missing a phone call. Taking the phone calls could be just as big a mistake.


Do you have a receptionist?

If you do, you probably think you’re covered. You have someone dedicated to the phone.

But what happens when the receptionist can’t pick up? I promise this does happen (and probably more than you think). Toilet breaks, lunch breaks and coffee breaks are the obvious examples. But what about when your receptionist is busy on another call? Or greeting a visitor? What about when they’re off sick or on leave?

Then what happens? Where do your calls go?


Do you just send calls around the office?

This is a tactic a number of our clients used to use. It seems like a very sensible solution (on the surface at least). Simply make everyone else responsible for picking up, if your receptionist is otherwise occupied.

Don’t those people have work to do? Research shows that distractions like these lead to up to 40% loss of productivity! You might be prepared to lose 40% of productivity for the chance of a new customer (I’m not), but what about that same risk for a wrong number or someone who needs directions?

Furthermore, those people probably aren’t interested in taking phone calls. They probably think of it as a nuisance. Are they going to present the best first impression as a trained customer service representative?


If you don’t have afoolprooff system for handling your calls, there’s a good chance you could be making one of the biggest mistakes a business can make. This is undermining your brand image, starving your staff of their time and costing you.

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