Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

The 5 Fastest, Surest Ways to Lose Money

A brief guide to how not to run your business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nobody needs to tell you how easy it is to lose money. You could waste it on flashy technology, push out your best employees or put a half-baked product on the market. But as an entrepreneur, you also know the importance of efficiency. So for the sake of entertaining a scenario where being bad at running a business was your chief objective, why lose money here and there when you could waste it even faster? Why not upset customers in the process? Why bother to let revenue in the door at all?

Bobboz | Getty Images

If losing money sounds like how you want to spend the rest of your year, these are the best ways to do it:

1. Let valid transactions get declined

Go straight to the source: When customers try to pay for your product or service, watch them fail. Be sure to give them the product, anyway, to really ratchet up your losses. Through falsely declined credit card transactions, entrepreneurs around the world lose $118 billion each year. Although decline salvage services like FlexPay can double recovery rates, why bother? Fewer sales mean less money to lose later.

Related: 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

2. Make onboarding miserable

If a customer does manage to pay you, you need a secondary line of defense. Why not offer a boring, confusing or otherwise terrible onboarding experience? Bad onboarding is a sticky strategy. Unlike after a simple credit card decline, that customer will never come back. Onboarding service Appcues points out that the customer’s first impression is the single most important part of the customer journey. 

There are dozens of ways to do it. Insult the customer. Promise results you can’t hope to deliver. Keep them on hold for hours. If you’re strapped for time, simply ignore them.

3. Implement a customer dissuasion program

You’ve tried rejecting customer payments and providing a terrible first experience. From here, you might wonder: What if they just keep coming back? Beware, 82 percent of companies say it’s cheaper to retain customers than acquire new ones. If you really want to accelerate your losses, take steps to drive off your biggest fans.

Leverage personalization. The more personally you reject someone, the less likely he is to do business with you again. If you’re a B2C company, try making fun of them by name. On the B2C side, demeaning their role at work is a smart strategy.

4. Stay invisible and disconnected

Once you’ve shut the door on your top customer relationships, you’re done, right? Not quite. To make sure new ones can’t discover you, keep a low profile. Start by changing your company logo. Marketing consultant Pam Moore reports that it takes five to seven impressions before a consumer can associate it with your business. That should buy you time, but it’s still not the end of the road.

Next, delete all of your social media profiles. Seven in 10 consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company they follow on social media. Even if surfing Facebook is your favorite way to waste company time, why take the risk?

5. Write bad reviews of yourself

You may be able to axe every social media page associated with your company, but you’ve got a problem: What about all the online reviews of your company? You can’t delete them, but you wouldn’t want a potential customer to think you’re right for them.

Just how badly can negative reviews hurt your business? Nearly nine in 10 customers trust online reviews as much as they do their best friends’s suggestions. Leverage the power of online word of mouth to curdle your reputation.

Related: Still Avoiding Online Reviews? 4 Tips to Use Them to Your Advantage.

If you’re at a loss, think back to those customer dissuasion tactics. Describe what a terrible experience you can offer. Remember, Walker Research projects that user experience is, or soon will be, the way most companies differentiate themselves. If you’re worried that your bottom line is a little too high, do something about it. Don’t let consumers become customers in the first place; if they do, drive them off. And be sure others who might want to give you money can’t find you or, if nothing else, find multiple red flags.

Crash your company efficiently enough, and who knows? You might even become the world’s first business failure consultant. After all, every niche needs an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks