How over-ambition can destroy your business?

Have you as an entrepreneur gone out and spend like crazy in order to gain a brand visibility? Have you offered discounts so that you can make the most of the situation. It seems Flipkart, the competitor to Amazon in India has already gone ahead and done that. In the rush for getting more eyeballs , they have offered discounts to such an extent that they have been accused of predatory pricing. At some places, the allegations are that product are sold below the cost of the actual goods. The last two days have not so been great for Flipkart. It has been lampooned across social media for a badly executed strategy. A number of glitches that lead to massive user outrage prompted the top management to send apology emails to their customers. What could have turned out to be a huge PR lift ultimately proved to be a disaster.

For entrepreneurs

Its a great learning experience for all entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur we are impatient and foolhardy. We want to succeed at all cost. Of course we are running on borrowed time and money. While our friends are still getting their fat paychecks, we are waiting for one more sale to happen. ‘ But entrepreneurship demands exactly the opposite of impatience. The fact that it takes a lot of time to establish our brand ( with or without spending tonnes of money) should itself lend us to possessing more patience. It does  not. That is why just a few year old ecommerce company is willing to bet everything that it has to gain a foothold in the market ( where it was once in a dominant position ). Entrepreneurs need to cultivate patience and a lot of it. Because things will probably not work out as they have planned but rather in a different way.

Brand image is built in years and destroyed in a few days

Imagine having worked hard on a brand for years slowly gaining customers’ trust and goodwill , only to give it away in a day. If you raise expectations in business , be prepared to fulfil them because in the age of social media, it takes a very small time for mistakes to go viral.

Biting more than you can chew

The best bet in business in to be conservative. Of course you want to build the hype around your product but then you need to know the limits of your resources too. For example if you plan an event to advertise your product and then throw open your gates on the promise of getting a freebie just to attend the event, you can expect a deluge. A controlled event where invitations are extended in advance can help you organize your event better and make you look professional. Flipkart did the same mistake when they invited massive crowds with massive discounts. There was no control. All the products that were discounted were probably sold at the earliest and people who logged in late were left out.

It takes a lot of time to recover lost reputation

Flipkart was known for its timely , efficient delivery and great customer handling. Because they looked to getting unlimited traffic , even their well crafted plans went for a toss. The berating on social media began immediately. The reputation of the company has suffered huge damage which would take a lot of time to recover. Often competitors are waiting in the wings to take advantage of such a situation.

Ambition should never become the only reason for being in business

Yes, we all want to make money and the faster the better. We are enamoured by stories of successful entrepreneurs. But we forget millions of entrepreneurs who are trying to work their way to the top in slow , calculated fashion. They take lesser business risk ( of the wild kinds ) and invest in building relationships.  It is a known fact that people trust and buy more from those they have purchased in the past. So when a business goes blindly after acquiring new customers, it often does it a cost of current customers who wonder what happened to their original business philosophy of keeping their current customers happy.

Disruptions can be a double edged sword too

Entrepreneurs love to disrupt the existing structure. After all it is a basis for innovationm like Uber has done for taxi services around the world. But disruption can create a lot of bad blood too. If you are not prepared to handle the unexpected effects of disruption , you too could be drowned out too. So one needs to be careful and create right strategies to counter any adverse effects of disruptions. If great businesses were built in a day or even months , each one of us could have left their jobs and worked on building a successful business. They take time and compounding. The Forbes article says it all. It took Walmart 25 years to reach where it is today. There is a lesson for all of us from this incident Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net