Small business owners often say the key to success is to quickly identify your mistakes, learn from them, and prevent the same ones from reoccurring.
In a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration, results showed that nearly half of all businesses don’t make it past their fifth anniversary. No matter how careful or knowledgeable you try to be, errors are bound to happen. There are several common and dangerous mistakes many new business owners make that can negatively impact business. We highlight these mistakes so that you don’t repeat them and your business continues to live on.
Establish your “BHAG” – Big Hairy Audacious Goal
Defining a visionary goal, as encouraged in James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book, “Built to Last,” may serve as a catalyst for success into the far reaching future. You can set an over-arching goal as well as identify multiple smaller objectives so that employees can work together towards progress. The purpose for opening a small business is to make money. Overnight success is rarely a reality. Success takes time to manifest, usually in the ballpark of about 15 to 20 years to achieve. Business owners who expect to get rich overnight may become discouraged early on if they do not see the success they envisioned. This could lead to giving up on their dream prematurely. Don’t be that type of business owner. Rather, be a business owner that has a goal and a vision of where you want your business to end up. Do this all while taking every day one day at a time. Believe it or not, even if you have a shoestring budget, you can still produce a winning brand. Make it a goal to have consistent branding. Successful branding drives success in business and your brand should be one of your most valuable assets. Give your business time to grow and always remember that success takes time, perseverance and a little bit of luck.
Market your products
Your business can have the newest innovative product but it will not sell if nobody knows that it exists. You never know where, when, or how a new prospect is going to hear of your business. Marketing can take many forms from word-of-mouth referrals, to traditional marketing, to digital marketing. You and I can both agree that there is nothing better than word-of-mouth to generate business. Your business needs to develop a customer base to generate that kind of buzz. We are not talking just social media but also in person communication where your customer shows a friend the product or service that you provided to your customer. Develop a complete marketing plan to make potential customers aware of your business.
Trying to do it all
We all want to believe that we can do anything that we set our minds to. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when running a small business is trying to do it all. We understand that budgets might be tight and that you can’t afford to hire people. Certainly, in a small business everyone pitches in and partakes in tasks that fall outside the line of their job description. All we ask is to know when you are over your head. Don’t be afraid to outsource tasks that your team may not be able to handle. Great companies are built on the foundation of utilizing their strengths, not on trying to be masters at everything.
No business can make good decisions without having a good understanding of the numbers. When starting a new business it does not require a large investment. Owners will spend most of their capital on marketing help, to equipment, to software. There could be other solutions that are less expensive but could be equally viable options available. At the same time you do not want to underspend. Business owners who choose not to overspend tend to be those who are tighter with their money and decide to underspend. Going too far and not investing into any kind of capital in your business can limit your potential for success. It’s not about how much you save it’s more about how much you spend that has a lasting impact.
It’s about progress not perfection
We are all prone to making mistakes; so we need to make sure that we learn from them. Be aware of your slip-ups and work to make smarter business decisions. If you do stumble along the way, just remember your best teacher is your last mistake.