Monsters Hiding In Your Business’s Closet

Nate Hindman

Vampires, zombies and bad Yelp reviews oh my!

This Halloween, before the candy starts flowing and the witches start cackling, take time to eradicate the monsters who may be hiding in your company’s closet.

In your search for revenue-suckers, keep an eye out for the following:

1. Consumer Complaints

Internet reviews bashing your business could be tainting your company’s online image as you read this. Toxic remarks on sites like Yelp, Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook can send prospective customers running for the hills.

Thankfully, free services like Microsoft’s Brandify scan social media sites for mentions of your business, allowing you to quickly follow up on any complaints directly with consumers.

Proactively publishing useful, positive information can also serve to reduce the visibility of negative content.

2. Disengaged Employees

Few employees have the courage to tell higher-ups that they’re not satisfied with their job. But managers would be wise to find out if that’s the case — that is, well before the exit interview.

Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies between $450 and $550 billion a year, according to a study last year conducted by Gallup. Engaged employees, on the other hand, were found to be 22 percent more profitable than their disengaged counterparts. Plus, customer ratings for engaged work units were 10 percent higher.

To uncover pockets of disengagement in your staff, workplace experts encourage managers to conduct regular office surveys that allow employees to anonymously submit reasons why they’re dissatisfied with their work.

3. Bad Jokes

Forced laughter is a common sound in workplaces across the country. You know the routine: the boss makes a joke and employees muster the strength to feign amusement. But did you know that bad humor could be hurting your bottom line?

That’s according to research released earlier this year by the London Business School. Doctoral candidate Gang Zhang, who led the research, found that employees who think their bosses make bad jokes tended to give them a notably lower evaluation. As a result, such employees “may worry about their future in the company, and even the future of the company itself,” Zhang said.

OK, time to hire a humor coach (yes, humor coaches exist).

4. Founder Woes

Owning your own business seems glamorous from afar, but once you’re deep in the trenches of entrepreneurship, isolation and long hours can cause your well-being to slip, sometimes without you even realizing it.

Seth Rosen, co-founder of CustomMade, told the tech blog BetaBoston earlier this year that it took several visits to the doctor before he discovered that it was actually a moderate case of depression causing his regular bouts of dizziness and sickness.

Venture investor Sam Altman suggests that business owners drop the overly optimistic facade that he sees in so many founders. “You’ll be surprised how much better you feel just by talking to people about the struggles you’re facing.

5. Bugs On Your Website

The web is where many consumers interact with your company, and each time your website is slow to load you could be losing a potential sale.

Fortunately there are a number of tools out there that track down and exterminate the kind of bugs that cause slow response times. (One industry favorite is New Relic, which offers engineers a way to pinpoint exactly where the problematic code is located.) So get your tech people on it, before that endlessly circling loading icon causes another visitor to bounce from your site!

Next Steps:  You’re busy. We get it. So why not let us do some work for you? By signing up for the weekly Small Biz Ahead Newsletter, you’ll receive hand-picked articles, How-Tos and videos covering the latest in small biz tools and trends. We’ll do the research while you spend your time where it counts: managing and growing your business.

One Response to "Monsters Hiding In Your Business’s Closet"

    • Richard E Murray | October 31, 2017 at 8:13 am

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