3 Business Lessons You Can Learn From These Horror Stories

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It would be impossible to make all the mistakes a business owner could make, which is why there’s such a huge culture built around business books and entrepreneurial advice. Through those guides and mediums, business owners are given the proper tools to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes that others did. Being an entrepreneur is difficult, and founders lean on others to help steer them in the right direction.

The following business horror stories act as forewarnings to those who are doing their best to stay within the lines. It’s better to learn from those who have been in your shoes as an entrepreneur, than to make the same mistakes they did and become the person warning others. Here are three stories of business mistakes many entrepreneurs have made:

Horrible Hosting

Choosing the best hosting solution and provider for your business can dramatically affect your success. This may seem like a small decision (how hard could it be to choose a hosting company?) but you’d be surprised to find out how many people who own businesses that suffer because they made the wrong hosting decision or didn’t do enough research into their chosen hosting company.

This is exactly what happened to Claire Broadley, who co-owns the technical content creation site, Red Robot Media. Broadley wrote about her bad experiences with different hosting providers to warn others of the potential dangers of such mistakes. After several bad experiences, she moved her site to a new host who could handle the occasional traffic spike. The new host’s database usage rules stated that if the site experienced high traffic more than twice a month, the site would incur additional charges. Considering Broadley didn’t expect huge traffic spikes frequently, it seemed like a good deal. However, even when traffic was low, Broadley was being charged for high traffic, and the host couldn’t explain why. These phantom traffic spikes forced her to, yet again, go to another host.

Always do your research before you work with a hosting company. Read reviews and reach out to customer service to get a feel for how they treat their customers.

Costly PPC Services

There are hundreds of marketing agencies out there that are promising the world through effective PPC, SEO, and content marketing. These services can be very costly, especially for startups and small businesses that are just finding their footing. While these agencies can be highly beneficial to your business, picking the right agency can ruin your budget and bottom line.

Shabbir Nooruddin, who runs the blog Bootstrapping Ecommerce, experienced just that when he fell victim to a costly PPC company. The company had appealing marketing videos and seemed to have great feedback from previous clients. They convinced Nooruddin that they would be able to make his ecommerce site run on autopilot within no time. Unfortunately, the only thing that happened in this case was that Nooruddin was stuck in a 6-month contract, and not a single sale was a result of the agency’s PPC efforts.

Hiring The Wrong Intern

Interns can be highly beneficial to your business. They are typically paid in college credit, (making the labor cost-effective), they bring a fresh outlook to the business, and are great for recruiting talent you know and trust. However, when you bring interns into your headquarters, it’s imperative that you convey the importance of your business and what is and isn’t acceptable. Each intern should understand that there’s no wiggle room for unethical behavior. You may even want to have your interns sign contracts, letting them know how serious you are and protecting your business.

And yet, there are a ton of stories about interns who messed up on the job.  Daniel Brusilovsky, who had an internship at tech publication TechCrunch, was one such horror intern that crossed the line. The up-and-coming writer was caught accepting gifts from startup founders in exchange for publishing stories about their businesses. The company was forced to issue an apology after news surfaced that the intern had attempted to solicit a MacBook Pro from an individual in exchange for an article.

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