5 Common Mistakes All Small Business Owners Should Avoid
We probably don’t need to tell you that running a successful business is much easier said than done. Unfortunately, many new business owners make mistakes that further hinder their chances of success unnecessarily. Here we will explore some common mistakes small business owners make and provide tips on how to avoid them. As you read on, keep in mind that these mistakes are common, but they don’t have to be the norm. With the right mindset and strategies, you can dodge some of these bullets entirely and build a thriving business.
Not Having a Solid Business Plan
You cannot plan for everything, but you should try to. Many of the profitable businesses we know today spend millions on R&D or market testing. This indicates the importance of conducting research before any significant launches in your business. Do not believe the mental lie that you are ‘wasting time’ if you are conducting surveys or prototyping. It is all a part of the process of excellence. Without much research, you’re essentially just winging it. Your research will provide you with a clear understanding of your target market, competition, pricing, marketing strategies, and more.
Neglecting Marketing and Online Presence
If the importance of marketing and an accessible online presence is news to you, I’m glad you’re reading this article. This statistics list from Nerdwallet shows that 81% of buyers will research a product/service online before buying, regardless of whether or not they purchase it in-store or online. Nevertheless, small business owners often make the mistake of not investing enough time, effort, and money into online marketing. You may have the best product or service in the world, but if nobody knows about it, and WHY you believe they should spend money on it, your business won’t thrive. Invest in high-quality advertising and marketing strategies that resonate with your target audience. You can create and manage most social media platforms for free or fairly inexpensive, so you might as well use all the resources available to you. For some practical tips, check out this article on how to build a successful digital marketing strategy.
Failing to Build and Maintain Relationships
Your business isn’t just about products or services. It’s also about relationships. Businesses are made by people, so go meet more of them. Building and maintaining strong connections with customers, vendors, and business associates is vital for long-term success. Networking events, expos, industry events, and more are all essential to planting seeds for future business opportunities. Even an informal cup of coffee with someone in your industry could create a connection (or a connection that leads to a connection) to produce an unforeseen opportunity for growth, collaboration, or simply advice. Thank your customers for their business, stay in touch with vendors, and network, network, network.
Refusing to Delegate
As a small business owner, you may think you must do everything yourself. Unfortunately, this mentality can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and a poorly managed business. Delegating tasks to qualified individuals can free up your time to focus on things like growing your business. Understand that you can’t do everything on your own, and there’s no shame in asking for help. One person doing everything simultaneously will more likely cost you more time, and quality. Figure out where you can outsource so you can have an intentional focus on what you really need to handle
Neglecting Financial Management
Finally, many small business owners overlook the importance of proper financial management. This does not mean hoarding every penny either. You might think that you ‘need’ this or that when starting out, or on the other extreme, refuse to spend a dime because you want to be ‘frugal.’ Neither of these is ideal for success, so the best plan is to make a budget and give yourself boundaries and allocations for the different areas of the business. Also, you need to track your expenses, profit margins, and revenue streams to get a current and representative picture of the business’s health and progress in order to make informed decisions. Consider hiring an accountant or using accounting software like Netsuite or QuickBooks to make things easier.
We get it, you have a lot on your plate. That’s why you don’t need to fall into these traps to make it any harder. Use the tips outlined above to help you avoid them and build a successful business. Remember, success doesn’t come overnight, and it won’t come without challenges. But with determination, a solid plan, and the right attitude, you can achieve your goals and make your small business a resounding success.
The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.
1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.
2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.
3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories. For more information, visit savetheamericandream.com.