Nobody is perfect, and this shows in the business world as much as it will anywhere else.

While entrepreneurs aim to do their best, mistakes are sometimes inevitable.

However, small business owners can take some comfort in not being at the helm of a vast corporation where a little mistake can cost millions.

But even CEOs of some of the world’s biggest companies get it wrong sometimes.


Mike Jeffries: Think before you speak

Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch’s, words came back to torment him.

In an interview, he said the store only wanted “thin and beautiful people” to shop with them, which ultimately backfired on him.

The initial interview from 2006 re-appeared in 2013 and rendered rage among the public and celebrities.

The company, especially Jeffries, was attacked for the comments which said the shop was “exclusionary,” with its target market only thin people.

Jeffries subsequently published an apology for his comments through the company’s Facebook page.

His behavior emphasizes the importance of thinking before you speak; a CEO doesn’t just represent themselves but also the whole company.

Jeffries stepped down as CEO in 2014 and is now 78-years-old.

Ronald Johnson: Know your customers, or risk losing them

Ronald Johnson took over J.C Penney corporation in November 2011 and received a warm welcome.

People were fascinated to see what the ex-head of retail at Apple would bring to the department store business.  

Unfortunately, a string of bad judgments followed, including laying off 10 percent of its corporate staff and thousands of middle managers, firing the company’s long-time ad agency, and getting rid of the stores of sales and discounts. 

The company’s revenue dropped by 25 percent in 2012, and Johnson was ousted from his position in April 2013.

While Johnson’s extreme changes may have worked elsewhere, it shows the significance of knowing your audience in this case.

Tim Cook: Only launch a product once it’s ready

While Cook’s time as CEO of Apple was an overall success, he did run into a couple of issues along the way and made some mistakes.

In 2012, Apple launched its iOS 6 Maps, which was full of bugs, such as mangled satellite imagery, lack of fundamental points of interest in big cities, and inaccurate location placement.

While bugs are expected for the course in the initial stages, launching the app in that state induced confusion for users and left many at Apple confused and annoyed, ultimately blaming Cook.

Luckily for Apple, the damage was not long-lasting, but that doesn’t mean other brands would be forgiven so easily.

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