Many small businesses make mistakes, and smart entrepreneurs will learn from the mistakes of others. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of some common mistakes that small business owners often make….
1. Knowing It All
Business owners who think they have learned it all will very often tend to fail. Even the most experienced entrepreneurs have to be willing to learn continually. There are always new technologies and markets emerging. It is very important to learn these new technologies and adapt to changing markets.
2. Blindly Taking Advice From Others
What works well for one business may or may not work as well for another. It is important that all advice be considered and weighed. When evaluating advice, be sure to consider the source, the similarities, and the dissimilarities to your situation, and then make a determination of whether the advice is applicable or relevant. Avoid the urge to just blindly follow the advice of others, no matter how successful they might be.
3. Not Using Targeted Marketing Efforts
The most effective type of marketing is “targeted” marketing. A locally-based retail store that spends money on a global marketing campaign will likely spend that money reaching customers who will never cross their threshold. Target your audience with a clear message, and focus your advertising in ways that will target legitimate prospective customers.
4. Believing That If A Little Is Good, Then More Must Be Better
This applies to a wide variety of business aspects. Not everything in business will scale equally. For example, if you conduct an email marketing campaign once a week and have great results, that does not necessarily mean that increasing the frequency of the mailings will lead to even more positive results. Such assumptions can often lead to big and costly mistakes.
5. Not Listening To Customers
Your customers are the best source of ideas and inspiration available to you. Welcome both compliments and criticisms from your customers. Small businesses can learn a lot from their customers, so listen carefully to what they are saying, and more importantly, listen to what they are not saying!
6. Lack Of Diversification
Having all your eggs in one basket can be a serious mistake that many small businesses fall into. Small businesses should make an effort to diversify their income streams whenever possible. The key to doing this successfully is to strike a balance between diversifying your business interests to create multiple revenue streams, yet not spreading yourself or your staff too thin to adequately handle everything.
7. Hiring Friends And Family
They are your family. You know them, you love them, but… can you really afford to hire them? Hiring family members, as well as close friends, can often do serious damage to otherwise strong relationships. How someone behaves in a social situation is not always a good indication of how they will perform as an employee. Many small businesses staff their companies with friends and relatives, and at times it works just great; but when it doesn’t, it can be really messy, and can often lead to seriously damaged personal and family relationships outside the business. Avoid the urge to hire friends and family members as employees.
8. Failure To Adapt
Businesses may need to make changes due to shifting economic conditions or advances in technology. Small businesses have the advantage of being agile, and most can quickly and easily adapt to changing market conditions and advancing technologies. Yet many still fail to do so, and that can lead to serious problems.
9. Failure To Build Brand
Regardless of a company’s size, building a brand is all about establishing a reputation. Do not make the mistake of thinking your company is too small to need a brand. Identify an image or logo with your product or service in order to effectively establish a brand, and then use that image to reinforce your brand on an ongoing basis.
10 Failure To Track
It is critical that business owners track what works in their business, and what does not. Why waste precious and often limited advertising funds on marketing efforts that do not result in sales. Monitor and track all marketing efforts carefully, so you will know the best and most successful options to spend your marketing funds and efforts on.
These are just a few of the more common mistakes that small businesses often make. Watch for and avoid making them yourself!