Running a small business is not easy. To keep your business growing seamlessly, you arguably need to become a jack-of-all-trades. You must dip your fingers in sales, marketing, HR, accountant, customer service, product development, inventory management and pretty much everything else under the sun.
And, the journey of building a small business venture is often laced with the experience of making costly mistakes. While it's true that errors are a stepping stone to success and an opportunity to learn, too many mistakes as a small business owner can trip you up.
According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 30% of all small businesses reach their tenth year successfully, while nearly 20% of companies shut down within the first year.
No, we don't intend to scare you with those bleak numbers. Instead, see below a few common mistakes made by business owners, so that you can take the right action to avoid these dangerous pitfalls.
You would have heard the saying, "When you fail to create a plan, you're planning to fail." Think of a business plan as a roadmap, without which you're bound to get lost. Irrespective of the size and nature of your business, you need a reliable plan with clear strategies to reach your short-term and long-term objectives.
The Fix: There are plenty of tools available online that help you create a business plan that fuels your growth. Make use of these to steer your business on the right track.
This is one huge flaw committed by a clear majority of entrepreneurs. They run their business idea among a handful of friends and family members, who think it's a good idea. Based on this response, they begin their venture without conducting any formal market research.
The Fix: Always conduct professional market research to understand the situation accurately. Identify your target customers and make use of surveys, census data to get an idea of your potential market before you launch any new product or service.
Even if you have created a product for the very first time, you cannot be assured that you'll face no competition. When evaluating the market, you have to look for more than just your direct competitors. Other businesses that sell alternative solutions to your products also come under the umbrella of your competitors.
The Fix: Take a closer look at what your competitors (both direct and alternative) are doing. Find out what makes them click and what earns them a bad name. Make sure to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors so that you can outperform them.
Very often, small business owners underestimate the size of the team required. They wait too long, until the job pressure increases, before they decide to expand the team. Additionally, some entrepreneurs aren't comfortable with delegation and end up taking more than they can handle. Others are worried about the mounting costs and are hesitant to recruit new people onboard.
Whatever be the reason, taking this approach is a big flaw. When you wait too long to hire, you end up choosing the first person you come across, without considering if the person is the right fit for the job or not.
The Fix: Make it a habit of delegating tasks right from the initial stages. You may have a bit of experience in designing logos, but that doesn't mean you should do it by yourself. Instead, try to outsource tasks to professionals, so that you can focus on your core business practices.
Almost all business owners are guilty of this one. As a business owner,it's highly essential that you make the right utilization of the resources you have in hand . Overburdening a single person on the team with an endless array of tasks is not the smartest move. Similarly, employing too many people who don't have enough to do is also not advisable.
The Fix: Make use of online resource management software that helps you get a clear picture of what's happening with the team. You can quickly identify who's doing what and for how long, thereby helping you use your team in the most optimal manner possible.
This is like trying to build a Boeing 747 and stopping halfway because you don't have the required funds. With such an approach, your business may fail to take off from the ground, or you may experience a drastic crash once you begin to soar.
The Fix: Before you begin your entrepreneurial venture, ensure that you have sufficient funding. Get a business loan, rope in investors, or look for alternate funding sources like crowdfunding – do whatever that takes to get your business soaring seamlessly.
According to a 2016 survey of small business owners, nearly half of the respondents don't have a website nor do they make use of digital marketing methods like social media, PPC, email marketing, SEO, etc. Running your business without a site is like opening a store and not putting up a sign outside and not bothering to tell anyone about it.
The Fix: Today, you have a wide array of web designers for all budgets. Getting your website running takes just a few dollars every month. So, hire a reputed team and get started with your online presence.
As a small business owner, you're continually looking for ways to cut overhead costs. While this is understandable, several business owners in their cost-cutting measures fail to utilize the potentials of marketing. Without the right marketing, you can never generate leads, boost conversions, or build your brand identity. In short, marketing is a vital tool that propels you to success.
The Fix: Remember that marketing is an investment and not an expense. So, make sure that you include the right marketing tools like digital and conventional to boost your business growth.
As a small business owner, it's often easy to get caught up in work that you fail to recognize how long you've come. When it's all work and no encouragement and motivation, both you and your employees are bound to lose out your passion and purpose.
The Fix: Take a step back and enjoy your successes, even if they're minor. Celebrate milestones big and small at work, to keep your team's morale and spirits high.
If you're committing any of these mistakes, it's time to start making changes. Learning from the mistakes of others can help you cut back on the learning curve and take your business seamlessly to the next levels.