The 5 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Are Making Today: Focusing on the Wrong Things

Editor’s Note: Humetrics CEO Mel Kleiman has been helping employers recruit, select, and retain front-line employees & managers for over 30 years. He knows what works — and what doesn’t. This is the fourth  of “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Are Making Today.”

By Mel Kleiman

Mistake #4: Focusing on the economy and the competition instead of on your customers and your employees

Customers do things for their own reasons, not yours. You many think your unique selling point is your special widgets, but it could be that sales are increasing because your customers like your friendly, savvy staff. Do you know why people give you their business? Do you understand what their reasons are?

Why do your best customers, and employees, stay with you?

Do your employees work for you for the paycheck or for the flexible hours and family-friendly policies or some combination thereof?

When you find out why your best customers shop with you and why your best employees stay with you, you can make it easier for them to keep on doing it — and attract more customers and employees just like them.

My friend, Larry Winget, says: “Everybody has a reason why they buy something, but I don’t know what it is. But I do know how to find out; I ask them.”

It’s highly likely you have a direct competitor across the street or down the block, so it may seem natural to focus on what they’re doing and it’s hard not to get caught up in the, “Woe is me,” of the latest economic headlines.

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However, two of the best known women of our time have a completely different take on it.

Oprah credits much of her success to the fact that she never paid attention to what the competition was doing or to the Nielsen ratings. She repeatedly told her staff: “Let’s just keep doing the best we can do to the best of our ability.” And, right along the same lines, Mother Teresa’s said something like:, “Do not ask me to march against the war, but I will readily march for peace.”

My spin on this sentiment is: “Don’t be against the competition or try to fight the economy; be for your customers and for your people.”

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at


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