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7 small business mistakes to avoid

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs make some very foolish mistakes. As they continue growing their businesses, these mistakes can easily come back to haunt them. Often, these blunders occur during the company’s start-up phase of its life cycle.

What are some of the small business mistakes you've made and corrected to achieve success?
Ayush Kumar

Avoid These 7 Small Business Blunders

Here are seven of the common errors made by small business owners, and how you can avoid them from the start:

  1. Trying to Get by Without a Business Plan – A professional, well-written business plan acts as a roadmap for where you want your business to go, and how you plan to get there. The Executive Summary must outline: What separates your company from the rest? What are its key advantages over the competition? What’s your target market, including your geographical area? Who is your management team and what type of experience do they have? Add some key points about the condition of your industry.
  2. Starting Your Business without Enough Capital – Sit down and write out a starting budget. Make sure it includes rent, electricity, phone, Internet, other utilities, insurances, outsourcing and staffing costs, etc… To ensure that you’re not trying to run a business that’s always short on cash, open a line of credit for emergencies only.
  3. Not Having a Website – To begin with, you must have a website. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, high-tech site. But, you need to have a web presence so that people looking for your services/products can locate information about them, as well as your brand itself. People no longer open up telephone directories to find businesses. They simply Google what they’re searching for, and begin researching solutions to their problems from there. If you don’t have a website, they’ll never find you, even if they are fans on your Facebook Page.
  4. Missing the April 15th Tax Deadline without Filing an Extension – Many entrepreneurs and small business fail and actually shut down for good because they failed to pay the IRS on time. This incurs late penalties and can lead to costly audits. So, don’t play around. File by the deadline. And, if you don’t have the funds, at least file an extension by April 15th.
  5. Not Taking Small Business Marketing Seriously – What type of solutions does your company offer to help solve your customers’ problems? Whatever your answer is, that’s your niche. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs and small business owners try to tackle marketing, which takes their concentration away from their actual niche. If this is you, ask yourself this: Is my customer service or the quality of my solutions suffering from all the time I spend trying to market my business? If the answer is yes, outsource your marketing services and concentrate your business efforts on what your company does best.
  6. Being Unrealistic about Expectations – Only foolish business owners expect their companies to become industry leaders overnight. Word-of-mouth takes time to spread. And, marketing efforts rarely bring in overnight success. Every once in a while, a company will achieve success quickly. But, not only is this rare, but they end up becoming fads, which fade over time. Instead, concentrate on providing valuable solutions to your customers. Bringing great value to them will help to bring sustained growth for your small business.
  7. Not Valuing Your Customers – Always make customer service a company priority. Treat your customer right, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Keep in mind that there may be failures along the way. When this happens, make amends quickly. And, when you get those nasty Facebook comments and Yelp reviews, use them to your advantage. If the comment says, “slow service”, find ways to speed your service up. Once you get the new process down, reply to the comment to let the patron know that changes have taken place to correct this problem.
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