25 Things You Should Never Do in Your Business

by Micheal Burt

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This past weekend I was overdue for a “mini-retirement,” so I got on the Internet, found my gurus (which happened to be John Maxwell and Michael Hyatt), and found my relaxation spot: West Palm Beach, Fla. I then went to work on deciding where I’d stay, which was boiled down to the Four Seasons, a private villa or The Ritz Carlton. I agonized over the decision, but in the end, the Ritz won. At $400 per night I had HIGH expectations.

My first surprise greeted me as I arrived at the hotel. The front desk clerk said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Burt, but unfortunately we’re going to have to upgrade you from your ocean-front room to an ocean-front suite, complete with two monster rooms, a huge hot tub and first-class treatment.” I was IN.

My story ends wonderfully, but I learned a great deal. The Ritz did 95 percent of the things right, and I observed how a $400-a-night room should look. But there were a few things they simply did wrong — like charge me $30 for breakfast, $28 for valet and way too much for M&M’s in my room. Every business should be presentable when you walk in, and they mastered this with valets out front and a sparkling entrance. However, when I walked in, 12 guests trying to check in and only two attendants trying their best to accommodate. This was a dropped ball I’m sure could be avoided.

Throughout the course of three days, I looked at every part of the Ritz’s business coupled with what I see every day in the industries I work (which include restaurants, accounting firms, real estate offices, furniture chains and home improvement businesses). On the plane ride home, it hit me: As customers, we actually look for what a business does WRONG vs. what it does right.

I came up with 25 things you should never do in business, which I see almost every day. We can “block and tackle” in our business. If you just go to work on these, you’ll correct some of the “no-no’s” that leave your customers asking if the price they’re paying is worth what they’re getting.

25 No-No’s in Business

  1. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Make the sale and the promise, then the delivery.
  2. Produce a bad product. This includes something that tears up easily, needs constant attention or just doesn’t work.
  3. Make it hard to do business with you. It shouldn’t take four people to reach you. This makes it difficult to make a sale.
  4. Have an automated phone system. EVERYBODY hates this. Have a live person on the other end of the phone.
  5. Say “It’s not our policy to do this or that.” Things happen. Use common sense.
  6. Have poor presentation. Dirty restaurants or workers that are not presentable are not good for business.
  7. Take long amounts of time to respond to leads. This gives customers the chance to walk away or find somebody else.
  8. Have employees who socialize vs. serve the customers.
  9. Set expectations you can’t hit or manage, or oversell your infrastructure.
  10. Have a culture that doesn’t match your promise. Culture will eat strategy any day of the week.
  11. Hire lazy or incompetent managers. We encourage what we allow. Every problem goes back to a management problem.
  12. Create confusion on how to do business with you.
  13. Make it hard to fix problems that naturally come up. This wastes the customer’s time and energy. Multiple layers of managers and teams need to be included.
  14. Failing to communicate progress. This leaves clients wondering what is going on and where there money is going.
  15. Get different responses from different people.
  16. No dominant focus (tangible outcome you can drive people toward in a  12-month cycle). Clients wander and become disengaged. Everyone should know this focus and where they are at all times.
  17. Make yourself out to be bigger than you are.
  18. Have poorly packaged marketing materials with no consistency. This de-values your brand.
  19. Have employees step outside the door in front of customers, smoke on their breaks or eat in front of the customers.
  20. Oversell, which affects your ability to deliver. Don’t promise the moon and then not have time for your customers.
  21. Have a bad warranty system in short terms (like 30-60 days). If you believe in it, warranty it.
  22. Put out bad marketing materials. This confuses the market about who you are and what you believe in.
  23. Do too many things at one time. Don’t become a “comic book superhero” who’s able to do anything for anybody. Pick a lane and own the space.
  24. Only have enough strategies in place to drive qualified leads in the door and close the number of deals needed to hit sales goals.
  25. Sell something to someone and move on to the next person without making it an unbelievable experience. There are only three types of customers: promoters, passives or detractors. Don’t build a “lukewarm experience” that drives no referrals.

How do you make yourself referable:

  1. Show up on time.
  2. Do what you said you were going to do.
  3. Say “please” and “thank you.”
  4. Go out of your way to blow their minds. Make it an experience they won’t forget.

As my good friend Joe Calloway says, “Sometimes we don’t need to think outside the box; we need to get back in it.”


Micheal Burt is a coach to some of the top-performing people and organizations in the country. His unique background of winning has led many to refer to him as a “coachepreneur” with a deep-focused coaching acumen and a business and entrepreneurial mindset. He is the author of seven books, including “This Ain’t No Practice Life” and the upcoming “Zebras and Cheetahs –  Look Different, Run Faster, and Be Agile” with Dr. Colby Jubenville. He is also the host of “The Coach Micheal Burt Radio Show” on WLAC, the FoxNews Affiliate in Nashville, Tenn., and can be heard globally on iHeartRadio.
Contact: Coach Micheal Burt, CEO of Micheal Burt Enterprises, LLC, at coach@coachburt.com or 615.225.8380. Twitter: @michealburt