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Don't Fall For These Common Business Pitfalls: Emotional Pitfalls

As a business consultant and entrepreneur, I often see clients (and myself) fall into common business traps that can be draining on you and your business’s most valuable resources- financial, time, mental.

The one pitfall I see most often is what I refer to as the Emotional Pitfall. This is when strategic business decisions are made based on feelings or emotions rather than supporting data.

The Last Minute Launch

This usually occurs either when we have a sparkly new idea or we do not think we have “data” at our fingertips. So we make decisions based on what we think or feel. For example, if you have never done a social media campaign or email campaign your business may not have specific data on its success. However, there is lots of data out there that can support a good business decision. Let’s say you want to launch a new email campaign and come up with this great idea on a Friday morning. You work all day on the email campaign- beautiful images, catchy titles, and a great call to action. You hit send on your email campaign about 7p on a Friday and your open rate provides lackluster results.

While this may have been something you have never done before, there are some launching best practices that you can pull from the data of other businesses. Launch strategy, email open rate times, enticing subject lines, and other strategies that can take your last minute launch and turn it into a well thought out success story.

“I Just Need Something To Go Right…” Another area I see the emotional pitfall is when your business is struggling. For instance, when a new product launch is not going well. Or when you really need something in your business to go right. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going as planned and so we start throwing lots of ideas and resources out the window trying to discover that silver bullet that will make the business successful.

Ignoring Red Flags

Have you ever loved an idea so much and wanted it to work so you ignore the signals that suggest it might not be a wise decision?

Let’s say my team is brainstorming and we get on a roll...I mean everyone is throwing out great ideas and we are all feeding off each other’s energy. One idea has the entire team excited! Like, a business wants to host an event with ponies. And their target audience is in a specified area. The local parks and recreation team denies the pony event in their preferred venue spot that reaches their target audience. So the team finds a new location because everyone is pumped about the ponies. (Obviously!) But the new venue is outside their target audience area. They host the event, but it’s a major flop- no new leads, no new sales, and very low attendance.

In each of these situations above, we used our emotional drivers rather than the strategic data driven decision markers.

How Do I Avoid The Emotional Pitfall?

Below are a few ideas and questions you can ask and how to check yourself!

  1. What data is out there that we can leverage? Use the internet! Extrapolate from data you do have, use case studies or research from others. Whatever you do… please don’t simply make assumptions and not use any data. For example, before hitting send on that email campaign I mentioned earlier... ask if Friday at 7p is the best time to reach your audience? A quick Google search and you would learn that Tuesdays have the highest open rate and Fridays, except for weekends, are the lowest open rates. There is data out there for just about anything you can think of,find it and use it!!

  2. Does this idea/project get me closer to our strategic goals? Or am I simply throwing noodles at the wall and hoping one will stick? If your goal is to create an additional revenue stream, but you haven’t proven a product market fit, maybe start with a little more research before running full steam ahead at the wall. A wise friend once told me, don’t create the full scope of a product until you have sales to prove it works. Launch a pre-sale and see if you get any traction!

  3. Does this align and reach my target audience? If the answer is “No”, pivot! I suggest going back to what you are actually trying to accomplish and generating ideas that are hyper focused in a specific area.

Before running with a new idea and wasting time, energy, and resources stop and ask yourself a few questions to make sure you are using data not plundering down the rabbit hole and getting trapped by the emotional pitfall.

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