Learning From Mistakes: Turning Business Errors Into Positive Changes

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Everyone makes mistakes.

How you process and deal with these mistakes will determine whether you succeed or fail. A good company records its mistakes and learns from them.

Some businesses may even go out of their way to find out what they’re doing wrong simply so that they can fix these errors. Here are just a few ways that you can use business errors to your advantage.

 

Client Feedback       

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The best way to identify problems within your business is to gather feedback from your clients after you’ve worked with them. Some businesses will actively avoid such feedback, but in all cases asking for it can generally be more constructive than destructive.

Some businesses will actively avoid such feedback, but in all cases asking for it can generally be more constructive than destructive.

Asking previous clients to complete private surveys afterward is the most common way of receiving feedback, allowing you to better understand what you are doing well and what you are doing not so well.

This can be done as an email survey or a feedback form. Afterward, you can go over their criticism and make changes to your business where appropriate.

A more public form of feedback is online customer reviews. Google Plus reviews and sites such as Trip Advisor are good sources of such feedback.

Some companies will make an active effort to avoid public feedback, disabling comments sections and not allowing themselves to be featured on review sites. This can sometimes be harmful, as it can come across as if you are trying to hide something.

Use these public reviews to your advantage – most review sites and comment sections allow you to reply, which gives you a chance to openly apologize to public negative feedback, show off your customer service skills and repair your reputation.

When responding to negative client feedback, always be courteous – whether the client is right or wrong. You may be able to offer incentives for them to return such as discount vouchers or reduced rates. Turn these mistakes into chances to win customers back.

 

Analytics Software

Another way to record and improve upon errors is by using analytics software. These programs use data to show you where you are going wrong.

Many businesses will use some form of infrastructure management software to monitor their staff and see where things are going well and where things are going wrong, making adjustments where necessary.

In some cases, such software is able to identify and recommend improvements for you.

You may be able to find out where the staff is performing better or during which periods of the day sales are highest, allowing you to cater your business tactics towards these stats.

By the same token, you may be able to find out who isn’t performing well and at which periods people are slacking, so that you can rectify this.

In some cases, such software is able to identify and recommend improvements for you.

You may be able to find out where the staff is performing better or during which periods of the day sales are highest, allowing you to cater your business tactics towards these stats. By the same token, you may be able to find out who isn’t performing well and at which periods people are slacking, so that you can rectify this.

By the same token, you may be able to find out who isn’t performing well and at which periods people are slacking, so that you can rectify this.

Marketing is another place in which analytics can be useful for turning mistakes into positive improvements.

Using analytics you can determine which ads, blog posts and social media posts aren’t getting hits and then alter or avoid such methods in the future.

Similarly, in finance, analytics can be used to show where you may be spending too much money, as well as other places where money may not be as needed as much.

You can then make adjustments to better distribute your funds and get the most out of your budget. Costly mistakes can be observed and measures can be put in place to avoid these happening again.

 

Progress Reports and Meetings

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Whilst software and client feedback are a great way of monitoring your mistakes, it’s important to hear directly what your employees have to say too.

Weekly meetings may be able to help identify places where people are struggling or changes that your staff thinks you should be made that might not be immediately apparent from raw data. A Monday morning is generally the best time to hold such a meeting.

More personal criticism can meanwhile be reserved to individual reports and meetings.

Even if staff does not approach you in their own time, it’s worth holding a monthly individual meeting for each of your employees to better understand how they’re doing, to discuss how you think they can improve and for them to discuss any improvements they think could be made to the company.

Any mistakes that are identified as a result of such meetings can be acted upon. Measures can be put in place to prevent one-off disaster that may involve better training or alternatively reprimanding staff with a warning if serious and unsolicited.

Goals and incentives can also be introduced if productivity is starting to drop. These could include a monetary bonus or paid time off for reaching an annual target, or small gifts or monetary bonuses for reaching a weekly target.

 

Professional Audits and Reviews

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Sometimes it may be necessary to outsource outside professionals to identify mistakes and improvements.

There are some professional bodies that will already do this regardless of your consent such as tax inspectors and company head office auditors, but generally, these aren’t the types of people you want to receive advice from as any mistakes identified by these people are likely to result in fines.

Instead, take preemptive measures by voluntarily arranging audits and professional reviews to identify your mistakes without dramatic penalties.

Risk assessors can help to tell you where health and safety measures might need to be put in place within your office.

IT advisors may be able to help you better strengthen your digital workflow and security by recommending useful software and hardware. Financial advisors can help you to better make use of your expenses and inform you as to where to cut costs.

There are then legal advisors that can identify places where you may be legally at risk.

You can also pay for public and private reviews from journalists within your field.

This may not be applicable in some services, but if you sell a physical product whether that be food or a new piece of technology, reaching out to professional critic might help you better understand your product’s flaws, allowing you to make improvements.

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