Owning a business can be daunting. There are so many decisions to make and much work to be done. Then there is the pressure to avoid mistakes, as they could mean the success or failure of the business. This pressure has proven too big for many entrepreneurs as shown by a damning statistics shows that 8 in 10 small businesses fail. Often times, this is because of avoidable and sometimes ‘small’ mistakes by the business owner. To avoid bolstering the ranks of failed business owners, here are some common mistakes you should avoid making.
• Lack of a Solid Business Plan
This is the backbone of any business. When it is fragile, the business will likely collapse. Many small business owner goes into a business without a business plan. What most have at best is an executive summary of a business plan – a vision or set objective/goal in mind, a little more than an average knowledge of the business and a pocketful of money. That is not a solid business plan. A business plan is the blueprint of your business. It goes beyond just showing what you want to achieve. It covers everything – analysis of your market, customers and competitors, description of your management team and structure, description of your products and/services, your marketing and sales strategy, your finances, your growth and sales projection and means to measure/evaluate from time to time etc.
True, one cannot possibly cover every scenario in a business plan, but that’s the beauty of a business plan! It makes provision to review current business activities and situations and re-strategize if need be! A solid business plan, not a hazy summary, is necessary.
• Lack of Uniqueness
Nothing, they say, is new under the sun. No matter how mesmerizing your idea may appear to be, chances are someone is already in the business. So, how do you stand out? Add value to whatever form of your idea you already have. Be different from the rest; create a niche within your niche. Steve Jobs is regarded as an innovator, not because he was the inventor of phone but because he created a niche in that industry. Do something similarly creative in your business. This may involve that you take some risks, but that is the point! No one ever stood out by acting like every other person. Of course, you do well protect your business from any loss, but the Bottom-line – Add value to your products or services.
• Not using the Internet
The world has gone digital and failure to go along means you – and your business – will be left behind. An online presence is a must! Your social media use must be exciting, not just some weekly photo updates. Engage your target audience. Remember, always have a specific marketplace and target audience. Reach out to these ones, and as your business grows, your target audience grows. One warning though, the internet never forgets, so do not get carried away and compromise professionalism or quality.
Of course, you are on a budget and need to work with it, still, remember that you have to spend money to make more money. You may be limiting your business potential for success when you refuse to spend. Areas like marketing, technology, necessary equipment and training are areas you may want to spend on to get increased returns
• Doing it all Alone
That you run a small business does not mean you have to do it all alone or micromanage your employees. Delegate duties and give a level of autonomy to those assigned to it. Doing that will help you build a loyal workforce and avoid you burning out. Of course, you need to have the right staff in place.