Starting a small business is exciting, but on the journey to success, mistakes are inevitable. But if you’re starting your own company, some mistakes can be fatal. Increase the odds that your new small business will stay afloat by avoiding these all-too-common roadblocks:
- Not having a backup plan: We love to glorify big risk takers especially when they get the big payoff but a truly savvy small business entrepreneur knows how to take a “risk” without letting it completely take them down should things not go according to plan. Be cautious and calculated in your risk taking, and always ask: How will I recover if this gamble doesn’t pay off?
- Not having a plan in the first place: If you want to compete in the real business world, you need a real business plan. No matter how much you have going for you, don’t skip this crucial step.
- Over or undervaluing your product: Either one of these miscalculations can mean serious trouble for your small business’s future. Study your market and your target customer base to make the best possible valuation of your product or service from day one.
- Not prioritizing leadership: Just because you have an incredible idea doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a great businessperson or boss. If you’re not a natural leader, make it a priority to learn how to manage a small business in a way that creates satisfied, long-term employees who want to stick around.
- Not giving yourself enough time: Time takes time, unfortunately. And long-term, sustainable growth usually comes with patience and the willingness to make slow but steady progress.
- Not collecting from clients: Whether it’s because you don’t have a clear accounting plan or your first clients happen to be close friends or acquaintances, not making the time or effort to follow up with those who owe you money sets a terrible precedent and can cause serious cash flow problems. Make sure your small business has a system in place for collecting on unpaid debts. Step one: always send an invoice.
- Not putting things on paper: Whether it’s a small business vision and values statement, a contract, or legal agreement: it’s absolutely critical to take the time to think through and write things down and get signatures, when necessary.
- Not having insurance: Even if you work from home and have zero employees, anything that goes wrong related to your business probably won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Protect yourself by getting the right small business insurance policy.
- Not investing in marketing: Many small business owners think they don’t have the capital to invest in a strong marketing strategy, when really, they can’t afford not to invest in some kind of marketing plan. A good marketing firm can help you work within your budget to get the most out of what you can afford.
- Not understanding your audience: A small business’s two most important audience are their customers and employees. Taking the time to really understand their wants and needs and how to effectively communicate with each of these groups will be a huge investment towards your company’s future.
Top 10 Small Business Mistakes