Don’t take making business mistakes too lightly

FreshXpertise by Ron Pelger

As we all know, there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Each day seems to bring more challenges as the clock keeps ticking away. Due to time constraints and stressful deadlines, many people wind up developing the “hurry-up syndrome” and in the process, make numerous mistakes. But can we ill-afford to make damaging blunders in our business these days?

Company decision-making executives, especially in produce, really need to be thinking it through before going out and doing something that could cost them to damage the business.

There are only two types of mistakes: harmless mistakes and costly mistakes. The costly mistakes could bring down a company.

Avoid making these bad produce business mistakes:

Cutting marketing dollars – Spend little and get little in return. Failure to spend wisely on an integrated and continuing marketing plan will end up as an expensive mistake.

Depend on customer loyalty – Customers are not handcuffed to you just because they did business with you for 25 years. They will switch to your competitor in a heartbeat if the deals are better. In today’s world, there is no such thing as “customer loyalty.”

Having a lousy business plan – Don’t be creative! Don’t have a target to achieve! Don’t plan ahead!  Then see what happens.

Poor analytics – Getting careless with produce reports will throw you off the track every time. These are key tools in making future decisions. Use them.

Ignoring inventory assets – An overabundant amount of produce in warehouses and stores will only lead to tying up money and building up high shrink. It makes no sense to climb over cases of product that just take up space.

Relying on word of mouth – Depending on word of mouth to get new customers will only backfire on you. Word of mouth is usually all the negatives that customers experienced.

Sell features galore – Moving truckload after truckload of feature items at low gross margins and trying to stay in line on retails with giant discounters could drive your company into bankruptcy.

Allow costs to get out of control – Spending feverishly outside of your business plan and budget only eats off your profit line. Why weren’t those costs included in the plan in the first place?

Do what your competitors do – Being a follower only makes you one of the same. What plan do you want to use, yours or theirs?

Relying on gut feelings to make decisions – Shooting from the hip usually always misses the target. Reviewing and analyzing a situation carefully, then making a wise decision will be more gratifying in the end.

Overestimating sales and underestimating costs – There is nothing worse than thinking, hoping and praying that everything is going to come out cake and ice cream. Stop those “pie-in-the-sky” sales projections and “make-believe” cost estimates.

Spending on new customers – This could put you in the poorhouse. Cut your costs in half by concentrating on your most valuable possession —— your current customer base. Get them to buy more of your product.

Use tape and glue strategies on slumping sales – Spending wildly on sudden big give-away ads, slashed pricing or huge discounts may result in a sales boost. However, it is usually just a one-time quick fix.  

Produce is a very tough business today and is wide open to many tense challenges. There are a lot of barbed wire obstacles that lie in wait.  Companies must stick to their own game plan and be at their highest level of ability every minute.

A former professional golfer once said, “The little white ball is always staring at you, daring you to make a mistake.

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Jennifer Lawson

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