Some things can seem like a good idea at the time, but retrospect is a wonderful thing. Having a business is all about making decisions. In business, you can’t expect to be perfect all the time. Some of your decisions will be great, and some of them not so much. 🙂
To illustrate that point, here are 20 of the worst business decisions ever made as of April 2017. Maybe there’s been more in recent times, if you know of any, let us know.
We’ve not these bad business decisions in a particular order, take a look:
1. Somebody Should Have Phoned Home
Back in 1981, Amblin Productions called Mars and had a proposition for them. They said they would use Mars’ M&M’s in their film, for promotion of their film on their packaging. Mars gave them a straight up no, so the company used Reese’s Pieces instead.
The film was ET, which grossed nearly $800m en route to becoming one of the most important films in history. As an upshot, Reese’s Pieces saw a 65% jump in sales in the months after ET was released! Those contributions played a massive role in allowing the Hershey Company to grow from strength to strength. Over three decades later, a lot of their success can still be attributed to this particular product placement.
Quite frankly, the deal can be considered out of this world! Still, M&Ms aren’t doing too badly in spite of the notable blunder.
2. NBC and CBS Pass On Monday Night Football
In the late 1960s, America loved Baseball. However, football was fast becoming America’s passion. Commissioner Pete Rozelle approached NBC and CBS to see if they wanted to strike up a contract. He could see the value in the show Monday Night Football. Both networks rejected the chance to strike a deal, as they didn’t want to sacrifice already popular shows like the Doris Day Show.
Monday Night Football became one of the longest running, highest rated TV shows of all time. Nowadays, ESPN pays close to $2bn per year for NFL rights, with Monday Night Football placing itself as the gem in the crown. The fact that the broadcaster still manages to churn out such high profits from the weekly show underlines that both NBC and CBS dropped the ball.
Conversely, CBS brought the Doris Day Show to its end in 1973.
3. Snoozing Motorola
Motorola used to be on top in the cell phone business; remember their Razr phone? However, they waited a little too long to release their version of the smartphone, allowing iPhone and Blackberry to become the new ones to watch.
Instead of focusing on customer experiences like they should have been, they focused on the aesthetic appearance of the phone. Consequently, the company’s shares fell by 90% between October 2006 and March 2009. This equated to company losses of over $4.3bn! By January 2011, the business had become defunct after over eight decades in the industry. “Hello Moto” had become “Goodbye Motorola.”
These days, Motorola Mobility is owned by Lenovo following their purchase from Google in 2014. The Motorola brand is still hoping to one day reclaim the throne. Unfortunately, in a world dominated by Samsung and iPhone, those dreams look very unlikely. They had the high ground while entering a golden era for cell phone technology. Failing to capitalize is one of the biggest business errors of the century.
4. ABC Says No To The Cosby Show
ABC was the network that decided to take on Monday Night Football. The weekly sports show was no doubt their most popular program by a considerable distance. Yet, they were still stuck in third place in the network rankings and in need of something else to help them win the ratings war.
The Cosby Show was pitched to them, but the Entertainment Division President turned it down. They claimed Cosby didn’t have a pilot or a script to show (whether this is true or just an excuse, nobody knows). The program was a hit almost instantly, ranking number 3 in the Nielsen ratings and then taking the top spot for the next five seasons. This catapulted NBC, who accepted the show, to the number one spot among the other networks. The influence of their hit show could not be emphasized enough.
While ‘the Cos’ was drawing in up to 30 million per night, it’s fair to say ABC wasn’t. With the Cosby Show and (CBS show) Magnum P.I winning the war, their presence in the most valuable time slot became almost obsolete. The head of entertainment called comedy on network television dead at the time of rejection. Perhaps the ABC man should have gone back to school.
5. The Beatles Rejection
The Beatles auditioned at London’s Decca Records before they were big, hoping to secure a contract. The executive in charge of talent said their sound was no good. He declared that they sounded too much like ‘The Shadows,’ who were supposedly a popular band at the time.
Executives went as far to say that groups were out, especially four piece groups with guitars. He signed a local act from London instead; Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. Meanwhile, the Beatles were signed by Brian Epstein and went on to become the best-selling band in history. Moreover, the Fab Four started a revolution that changed pop culture forever.
Billions of Beatles albums have since sold worldwide, and they continue to sell to this day. Meanwhile, I had to Google Brian Poole and the Tremeloes to find out that their best song was Twist and Shout. Unfortunately, the best version is by the band that Decca Records rejected.
6. The ‘Novelty’ Telephone
In 1876, Western Union boasted the telegraph, which was the most advanced communication tech available at that time. The company president, William Orton, was offered the patent on the telephone for $100,00 (the equivalent of around $2 million right now). He didn’t only reject it; he dismissed it completely.
He thought it was a ridiculous idea, and wrote personally to the creator Alexander Bell, asking what they could do with an electrical novelty toy. He also said it had no commercial possibilities. It took only two years for the telephone to take off, and Orton spent the rest of his life unsuccessfully trying to challenge Bell’s patents.
As for the novelty toy, it changed global communications forever.
7. NEW Coke
We all know what Coke tastes like. Many people have an almost emotional relationship with the drink and the brand. Coke had a centennial anniversary in 1985 and to celebrate they came up with ‘New Coke.’ Most of the formula was the same, but there must have been a notable change in taste as the sales dropped by 20%.
Many customers were perplexed by the change, particularly as the company had already established its place as a global giant. It didn’t take long before Coke realized their error and returned to the formula and taste that people love and know best. They even slapped ‘Classic’ on the can, which many believe saved the brand. The Coca-Cola Company defiantly continued to produce the new version for some years, before admitting defeat in 2002.
Thank God they did; otherwise, we could all be drinking Pepsi.
8. Greedy Fox
Although merchandising wasn’t very big at the time of the Star Wars release, 20th Century Fox still made a huge mistake here. Worse still, they have been paying for it ever since. They got George Lucas to take a pay cut of $20,000 in exchange for all of the merchandising rights to Star Wars, and all of the sequels thereafter.
Since then, Star Wars has grown into the most iconic film franchise ever. The initial trilogy has grossed billions in while the ninth blockbuster film is currently in production. Meanwhile, merchandise sales have earned billions more, making Lucas worth a reported $5.2bn himself.
For the sake of twenty grand, Fox missed out on a commercial phenomenon.
9. Blockbuster Would Rather Not Netflix and Chill
Back in 2000, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings asked the Blockbuster executives to publicize it in their stores. Netflix proposed that they would help Blockbuster to sell their brand online too. This essentially equated to Blockbuster being offered Netflix for a mere $50 million. Blockbuster were quick to say no and slam the door in Hasting’s face. Bad move.
Less than a decade later, in 2010, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a cruel twist of fate, the popularity of Netflix had been the main contributing factor. Nowadays, Netflix has over 90 millions users worldwide and boasts assets worth over $13.5bn.
Blockbuster, meanwhile, has closed operations in most major territories. The once colossal brand is now resigned to appearing in internet memes about life in the 80s and 90s.
10. That’s NOT A Kodak Moment
When was the last time you spotted somebody with a Kodak camera? Well, if Kodak had a little more urgency about them, we could all be using Kodak smartphones right now.
The company has the credit for being the first company to hold the patent for digital technology (which also has a lot to do with the smartphone) in 1975. But the camera giant decided to sit on their hands instead. They finally decided to pursue digital photography when it was far too late, leaving far too much ground to make up. They filed for bankruptcy in January 2012.
At least we have some pictures to remember them by. Maybe if they’d pursued with the digital tech that they invented, they’d still be at the top of the photography pyramid.
11. They Should Have Asked Google What To Do
By 1999, Google was already fast establishing itself as one of the major search engines. With the internet growing at a rapid rate around the turn of the century, it didn’t take a genius to realize a $750,000 investment would pay dividends. Sadly for Excite, they still passed up that golden opportunity.
Fast forward to 2017 and Google is one of the biggest companies on the internet. It’s the second most valuable brand on the planet and is worth close to $200bn. Meanwhile, the operation continues to buy out smaller ventures and grows year on year.
Ironically, only a quick Google search confirmed that Excite still exists. Considering it was once one of the leading operations in early internet technologies, it’s limited success is astonishing. The fact it still hasn’t discontinued its search engine is almost a parody of its own errors.
12. Microsoft Deemed Too Steep
In 1979, Bill Gates was a fresh-faced 23-year-old set to achieve the status of a billionaire. A businessman named Ross Perot, whose electronic data systems were worth $1bn, was offered to buy Microsoft for $40-$60m. Despite viewing the company as an attractive prospect, the entrepreneur refused to meet those prices. He said it was too steep, especially as the company had not yet reached its peak.
Perot was right, Microsoft hadn’t reached its peak. The computer giant currently has a market capital of around $343 billion according to Forbes Magazine. It is widely accepted as one of the most important brands on the planet.
Ross Perot has since been quoted saying that it is one of the worst business decisions he ever made. Cheers Ross, we couldn’t have worked that one out ourselves.
13. J.C. Penney Gets Rid Of Their Fake Pricing
The pricing tactic of J.C. Penney can be frowned upon, but it certainly helps them to sell clothing. They used to make sure their items were all marked down from a higher price, although the item would never have been sold at that price in the first place. This led customers to believe that they were getting a real bargain, instead of simply buying cheap clothing.
The New CEO that came in 2012, Ron Johnson, decided to make J.C. Penney look ‘less desperate’ by starting a new, more honest pricing system. This didn’t go down well with J.C. Penney fans, and they complained all over the internet. This harmed sales figures and brand reputation in one fell swoop.
Johnson was fired after 17 months, and J.C. Penney brought back their fake pricing system. Perhaps honesty isn’t always the best policy.
14. The Death Of MySpace
Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the popular networks, there was MySpace. The network went mainstream in 2004, with 1 million users just one month after it was launched. For internet users of a certain age, Tom Anderson was their first ever social friend. Moreover, his goofy profile pic is one that haunts is to this day.
Rupert Murdoch, News Corp Billionaire, bought it and attempted to make it too profitable too quickly. Essentially, over-saturating the site with annoying ads would prove to be its downfall. The year 2008 was Myspace’s peak, with 75.9 million unique visitors. But it just couldn’t survive following the launch of Facebook, especially as the ads alienated users.
Murdoch sold Myspace in 2011 for just $35 million, after buying it years for $580 million. The tycoon has made many great decisions in his time; this was not one of them.
15. Edwin Drake Fails To Patent His Oil Drill
You may not know the name Edwin Drake, but in 1858 he could have been one of the wealthiest men in America. He was determined to find a way to get to the oil that everybody wanted. So he partnered up with a blacksmith from the area and together they made a drill that did just that.
It took them weeks to come up with the perfect design, and it eventually helped them get to the black gold that they so desperately wanted. There was just one major problem; Drake hadn’t secured a patent. In spite of his success, he was later fired and then lost all of his money on Wall Street.
Failing to secure a patent on his drill has cost Drake and his family millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the oil industries are worth billions thanks in part to the Drake legacy.
16. Schlitz Beer Goes To…Schlitz
In the 1970s, Schlitz was one of the biggest beer manufacturers of all time. They came second only to Budweiser and boasted a rich history stretching back over a century. In a bid to meet growing demands, Robert Uihlein, Jr made the decision to use cheaper ingredient to increase production speeds. Sounds good on paper, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, even a drunk person couldn’t handle the resulting product. The beer started to form floaties in the bottom, which would then congeal into a thick mucus. Schlitz didn’t recall these beers, even after realizing the terrible mistake. They eventually gave in, but not before 10 million cans had been shipped. By this time, the damage had been done.
The company and its assets were sold as profits sank to the bottom of the barrel. Considering the profits to be had by some of the beer manufacturing giants, the Milwaukee company had a shocker.
17. Atari Doesn’t Like Apples
Nowadays, Apple is the biggest brand on the planet. But once upon a time, the operation was completed from a garage. During those humble beginning, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak wanted to sell their personal computers to Atari. However, the then-computing giant rejected the offer.
The two Steve’s subsequently said that Atari could have the computer as it was built from their parts, and asked to work for Atari instead. They still said no. After some rocky moments during the first 20 years, Apple became the biggest brand in computing and consumer electronics. Atari, meanwhile, is still best known for Pong.
Atari is still in existence, but they never truly recovered from the video gaming crash of 1983. If only they’d branched out by taking the Apple.
18. The M*A*S*H Drop Out
In 1972, M*A*S*H was a surprise hit for 20th Century Fox. However, a few big stars dropped out after a couple of seasons and this made Fox panic. They decided the show wouldn’t live much longer and sold rights to the old seasons to various local TV stations, for a total of $25 million dollars.
The show’s popularity didn’t fade, and the show continued for a total of nine years and 251 episodes. Television stations raked in $1m per episode while Fox Television didn’t see any of those revenues. Moreover, reruns of M*A*S*H are still broadcast even to this day.
In fairness, though, at least the production company continued to provide great episodes until the very end.
19. Quaker Oats Buys Snapple
Buying out a company for $1.7bn is a brave call at any time. Doing it when it’s reportedly worth less than that figure is even braver still. However, doing so when the brand in question is already in free-fall crosses the line of bravery into stupidity. That’s exactly what Quaker did with Snapple.
The food company couldn’t save the floundering Snapple brand. They messed up the branding and couldn’t persuade distributors to keep Snapple in spite of their offers and the stockpiled up. This led to it entering dollar stores while vast quantities ended up in landfills.
Snapple was being given away on the street for free as sales still plummeted in 1996. Eventually, Quaker sold the brand to Triarc for $300 million. That’s $1.4 billion less than they paid for it 28 months previously.
20. The K-Mart Wal-Mart War
The war between K-Mart and Wal-Mart embodies the importance of customer service perfectly. As the two companies went head to head in the 1980s, K-Mart went for an aggressive publicity campaign to raise awareness of their store. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart (not having the cash to do the same) focused on their stocked shelf efficiency and immediate checkouts instead.
Wal-Mart won the war and K-Mart haven’t been able to keep up since. Today, Wal-Mart is the far superior company with over 11,000 stores and 2.3 million worldwide employees. Despite losses in recent times, it generates nearly $500bn in revenue. In comparison, K-Mart draws in around $25bn from 735 scores.
K-Mart had all the assets to win the war but was let down by poor tactics. Subsequently, they couldn’t find a way through the Wal.
No one can expect to make the right decision all the time. However, it just goes to show that a little curiosity and open-mindedness, and a little less rigidity and stubbornness could take you places! These decisions may have been some of the worst ever made by some entrepreneurs, but they turned out to be pretty good for others!
Suggested Next Read: The man who destroyed his multimillion dollar company in 10 seconds
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Energy Up: Developing a Healthy, Competitive Work Culture
Employees are burning out at increasing speeds at work. Work-related stress has increased significantly over the last several years. The stress increase is undoubtedly caused by higher expectations at work, increased work hours, and a toxic competitive culture. How can you, as a business owner, develop a healthy competitive culture that motivates workers and allows them to have a good work-life balance?
Burnout is precisely what employers should always be looking to avoid. A burnt-out employee is one who is stressed, possibly depressed, and of course, exhausted from work. As a business owner, it is essential to identify workers who are suffering from this condition, and the only way to do that is to communicate.
Identifying and Communicate
Sally is generally cheery at the office and brings baked cookies every Friday, yet since the three-weekend project you assigned her, she has not been herself. Sally’s suddenly quiet demeanor would be easy to spot and address, but not all employees manifest their signs the same way.
Burnout manifests itself in many ways, even catching some people by surprise. Before they know it, they are exhausted, cranky, unable to go on. You’ll notice a burnt-out employee will start to miss days at work, the quality of their work will decrease, and they may make mistakes they otherwise would not.
When you approach a burnt-out employee about their behavior, be sure to do it carefully as there can be varying reactions. While most will be happy to discuss their exhaustion and find solutions together, others may become angry by the assumption and flat out deny it. Being understanding is a top priority because it opens the door for answers.
Solutions to Burnout
Finding solutions to avoid potential burnout in your employees comes down to thinking proactively. You want to be sure that you can create an environment that is productive and competitive without asking too much of your employees. Below you will find some tested strategies to increase productivity without causing burnout.
It can be easy to lose track of scheduling when assigning projects. If you yourself are juggling various projects at a time, you may be inclined to attribute as many to your employees. Everyone works at a different pace, and everyone demands a different level of attention. If you create a schedule based on the needs of your current team and consider the capabilities in each person, soon you will have a productive and competitive environment.
Everybody needs incentives; it is just the way that humans work. By pushing performance-based contests, you can have your employees eager to work on the projects you are assigning. A reward system can ease stress because it gives the employee a clear sense of what they are working towards and a goal to be reached. Incentives can help you eliminate burnout at work while harvesting healthy competition.
Once again, we return to communication. By leaving your office door open, you are letting your employees know that they can come to you with any concerns they may have. When employees know they can communicate with their supervisor, they are far more likely to work diligently and voice any concerns along the way so that they can be addressed right away. Open and eager communication is an excellent way of fostering a healthy work environment.
Make work not only fun but also productive by providing your employees with all the tools they need to succeed. Clear outlines, reliable resources, and constant updates can help your team be in the loop of what is happening at the company. When an employee understands the mechanics of the workplace, he or she is less likely to suffer from stress and feel like a more valued part of the process.
A Positive Environment
Last but not least, a positive environment can make a world of difference at work. You and your employees should all have a can-do attitude to succeed. Why is this attitude so important? A can-do attitude is essential because positive thoughts help the brain release endorphins, thus reducing stress and boosting concentration. A group effort can take a team a long way, and it is up to you to make the necessary changes to promote it.
If Burnout Does Happen
Against your best efforts, burnout is still likely to happen. You can’t control how much your employees choose to work outside of the office, so it is inevitable that an overachiever will hit a wall. When this does happen, it is important to approach the situation respectfully and humanely.
Remember that even if you did your best to prevent this, the current situation is what’s important, and they are a human before they are your employee. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think about the internal conflict they must feel like an overachiever having to force themselves to take a break.
It probably feels totally wrong and foreign to them, but it is important that you convey that they will perform better after they give themselves a break, and will be even more productive. Once your employees see you taking the steps to care for their colleague like this, they will be comfortable approaching you in the future if it happens to them.
The burnout might come with terrible timing – right before quarter close, the holidays, the beginning of the year – so it would be important at that point to discuss a scaled-back version of their role. A total break might not be feasible immediately, but emphasizing that a break will come soon can give them a light at the end of the tunnel.
Burnout No More
If you follow some of the tips listed here, you will find that harvesting a healthy competitive environment at work is not as difficult as it seems. Everything comes down to finding a balance and managing correctly. Remember that your employees look up to you and seek your guidance. Creating an environment where everyone can thrive is as simple as promoting an open and collaborative space.
Do’s and Don’ts When Taking Business Headshots
Whether you’re in Phoenix, AZ, or anywhere in the world, corporate headshots, or “business headshots,” are one of the essential elements of a business profile. Whether you’re at a start-up company or a business empire – there is always a need to use business headshots.
Different companies in Phoenix use this business tool to promote or direct a client into giving in to what the business produces. However, there is more to these headshots that matter.
Why are business headshots important? Business headshots in Phoenix are a glance of what the business is. Approachability and trust can be attained with the help of photographers that provide business headshots Phoenix. The professionalism of an individual or company will be the first thing a person will think just by looking at a business headshot.
Do’s and Don’ts
As powerful as it is, using business headshots is tricky. There are the do’s and don’ts in using a simple but technical headshot. Phoenix has a wide variety of corporate studio that provides excellent business headshot services. Most of these are their shared preference for taking the best headshot:
1. Dress appropriately for what the business promotes
First of all, dress accordingly to what the industry is associated with. It’s not about how formal or casual the outfit is. It is in the business’ description of what should be worn appropriately.
Most local photographers in your area may be able to provide props and business clothes. If your company is operating in Phoenix, you can look for expert photographers for business headshots Phoenix. There’s no need to look far, as local photographers will help you save on cost and effort.
2. Do wear a solid color outfit
The color of the outfit is also critical in terms of impression. Taking a solid color or minimal-toned outfit is considered as the best for business headshots.
3. Do focus and look into the lens
It is essential to always look into the lens. Make your best professional face impression, and remember to look into the lens, as if you are looking to someone. This will build trust in anyone who takes a look at the image. Focusing on the eye also gives confidence to both you and the business you are collaborating with.
4. Do pose in different profiles
Try to give a front, left, or right profile. Take the best shot on a profile you are confident with. This will provide multiple options, and you can go with the pattern that you think looks the best.
5. Don’t over-accessorize
Abstain from wearing any accessories as this divides attention. If you want to accessorize, make sure that it will fit in the color tone of the outfit that you will put on. It isn’t the accessories that will signify who you are.
6. Don’t wear an uncomfortable outfit
As mentioned before, wearing any outfit is okay as long as it is based on what the business represents. Whether you are comfortable wearing it matters as well. Comfort translates confidence, and it will positively reflect on the photo.
7. Don’t use old headshots
Refresh headshots. Most of the best studios in Phoenix recommend this critical factor. Updated headshots will reflect on what you are at the moment. This will develop a permanent professional bond for a business or an individual to other people or clients.
Make Your Best Business Headshot Shine
A business headshot is one critical factor when it comes to collaboration. This will not only reflect on yourself but also the business you represent. Therefore, remember to deliver the best business headshots.
Implementing a Solid Feedback Culture in the Workplace
A research survey published in the Harvard Business Review said that more than 7 in 10 employees surveyed believed that their productivity suffers due to the lack of feedback. Surprisingly enough, employees are more than willing to get what may be construed as negative feedback than false praise.
These days, the term feedback has lost its luster because it’s been used to describe a remark, comment, or opinion. However, as a mechanism, feedback is very crucial to determine the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, employee satisfaction, as well as the gaps in the processes.
Institutionalizing Feedback in the Workplace
Successful organizations have long known the importance of employee feedback to make sure that everybody’s still on-board with the vision.
Nobody should be spared from criticism, even the CEO and top managers. This is the only way they can gain a new perspective about themselves as leaders and the type of leadership they deliver.
Quick Tips for implementing a feedback system
Here’s a list of tips that can help you integrate the feedback system at your workplace.
- Harness technology. One useful tool is the 360 Feedback. The tool is designed to get the most out of the answers from a series of controlled questions. The best part is that the results are anonymous, so employees can really speak their minds.
- Framing the right questions. The answers, of course, will depend on how you frame your questions. This is crucial because you might have false results because the questions are vague. Focus group discussions will help give you an idea about the core issues hounding the organization. Going back to 360 Feedback, the company behind it has extensive experience running surveys, so each question is assessed and reassessed on whether it achieves the desired purpose.
- Train employees on giving feedback. One thing that holds an employee back is the fear about how they are going to be perceived for being honest. This tendency to be compliant is ingrained in employees right from the moment they start working at different organizations. It’s hard to break that habit. In this case, the company should guide the workers on how to give feedback within the system employed by the organization.
- Guarantee no reprisals. Some supervisors can be petty, and any negative comments can be taken in a bad light. Everybody should understand that any sort of feedback should be welcomed so people working in the organization can improve themselves as employees, colleagues, and contributors to the company. With that said, anonymous systems like 360 Feedback will really open the floodgates of honest opinions devoid of a filter.
- Set clear parameters. Feedback without action is useless. Once the employees see that their feedback generated a positive change in the company, they would be more willing to give their opinions in the future. Management should guarantee that each feedback will be evaluated and vetted, and suggestions will be adopted as long as they’re good for the company in the long run.
Implementing a feedback mechanism is not easy. There are many ways on how to go about it, and you can expect some hiccups at the outset. Nevertheless, it’s one good way to help the organization assess itself through the eyes of its employees. But the benefits generated depend completely on whether the company would want to bring about changes with the help of the feedback.
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