If you’ve just started your small business, there’s a good chance it’s your first one. You may have talked to other small business owners, consulted with your family and maybe even gotten the advice of a fortune teller, but at the end of the day, it is up to you to make sure your company is running well.
While there are some mistakes that are little more than an annoying growing pain, other errors can run your business into the ground. Here are the top 5 most common business mistakes, so you can avoid them in your own practice:
5. Not Having a Strong Foundation
There are any number of factors that can play into the foundation of your business, including having a mission, the right certifications and a location. But perhaps the most important is having the right capital to get going. Thinking up some abstract amount of money is a sure way to fail.
Before you start your business, figure out your production costs, payroll, location expenses and everything else you will need to spend money on. Once you’ve secured the capital to cover that, you have a greater chance of being successful.
4. Ignoring Marketing Needs
Even if your business sells the ultimate cure to prevent baldness, you won’t sell a single treatment if no one knows you exist. The cheapest method of spreading word of your business is word-of-mouth, both in physical interactions and on social media.
But, to reach a wider audience, you need a comprehensive marketing plan. This includes a strong website, organic local SEO and even buying billboard space. If your goal is to sell and turn a profit, you must get the word out that you are in business.
3. Having the Wrong Focus
Let’s say you run a coffee shop that also has a garage for bicycle repair. Though you believe you’ve created the equivalent of Millennial Nirvana, business is much slower than you would’ve liked. It’s very tempting to add more to your offerings in moments like these, such as adding a section of comic books as well.
Though there is a chance of this working out, you have stretched yourself thin and lost focus on what it is you do well. Businesses that remain focused on what they do best tend to fare better than those who constantly shake things up.
2. Not Knowing the Numbers
Perhaps unfortunately, understanding the day-to-day finances of your business is essential for growth. You must know exactly what is being spent where, what money is coming in, what practices aren’t profitable and everything else about your finances.
If you are one of the many who can can’t even look at a spreadsheet without getting a headache, then you need someone you can trust to keep the books. Regardless, you should have a good understanding of exactly where your business stands financially so you can make the best decisions.
1. Believing You Must Do Everything
There are simply not enough hours in the day to run a storefront, manage payroll, explore marketing opportunities, ensure paperwork done correctly and also find time to sleep. Even if you have employees helping, it simply may not be enough.
You must know when you are reaching a breaking point, and find ways to outsource before you reach it. Even outsourcing something as seemingly simple as payment processing can give you more time to focus on the health and growth of your business.